Spirit of Ulysses wraps up successful ocean crossing
The crew of Spirit of Ulysses crossed the finish line of their Atlantic Crossing on Sunday morning, commencing what was a pretty routine cruise for a Nordhavn, but a memorable and exhilarating first crossing for the owner (on his first boat ever, no less).
The 17-day journey – including a two-day layover in Cape Verde – was filled with confused seas, fierce winds, and some uncomfortable days offshore but crew member James Leishman said as far as ocean crossings go, this was a fun one. Of course, categorizing a passage as positive or not usually is a reflection of the weather but more so, the attitudes of the crew on board. “We had a fantastic group of people on this trip,” James said, which was a good thing considering the weather they faced the first half of the journey.
SoU arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados on Sunday and had to await COVID clearance before the crew was allowed to disembark. A doctor had been called to the boat to administer tests but because it was a Sunday, things were operating on island time x 10. About six hours later, the doc arrived. As soon as they received their negative test results they made their way to Port St. Charles where a slip was waiting for them. No sooner had they tied up the boat did they head out for a celebratory dinner at one of the beach side restaurants nearby.
Due to the delays the weather had caused, the crew needed to hasten their exit so James, Doug and Jordi left before dawn the next morning to make their flights home. “It was kind of bittersweet,” said James. “Kind of an abrupt ending to it all.” Normally the crew would’ve taken a couple days to decompress and explore the area but with the holidays quickly approaching, there was no time.
The trip was an eye-opener for owner Mike. He was thrilled with the performance of the N76, but as a lot of owners realize, he wants more space! He did reveal in one of his log reports that he is considering moving up to a new 80 or possibly an 86. So tentatively, Spirit of Ulysses will be brought to Fort Lauderdale where it will be listed for sale by James.
By the numbers: SoU arrived at Barbados with 500 gallons of spare fuel, which was according to plan. If they throttled back a bit, they would’ve had at least two+ days’ worth of reserve, but they targeted a speed of 8.5 knots which meant they wound up with a bit skinnier reserve. Average fuel burn was 12 gallons/hour (6 gals. Per engine) at 8.5 knots and 1248 rpm, although results vary depending on wind and sea state.
Thanks to everyone who joined the journey, tracked the boat and submitted questions. See you on the next adventure!
New photos and video below
Nordhavn 76 Spirit of Ulysses is crossing the AtlanticAnd you can (virtually) join them!
As I type this message I can see Barbados on our port side. Not long until we are in the marina! By the time you read this, we should have cell service and hopefully Doug will be able to upload a ton of photos and video.
Report by James Leishman
9:12 pm local, Speed 8.5 knots, rpm: 1253/1252, Wind: 27 knots, Seas: rough and confused, Visibility: 8 miles
The final push!
99.53 nm to go now. All systems are good at the moment. We are getting a low pressure alarm on our Trac fins now. I think it’s due to the heavy seas and possibly the level sensor. (FYI that’s the fluid level in the system.) We expect to arrive tomorrow am with wind gusts 30+ knots and seas 4 meters. The boat is unbelievably seaworthy and we are very comfortable at the moment – excited to arrive after the crossing!
Report by Lisa Bryan
Hard to believe we’re almost there. It’s been an absolute blast with these guys and I’m so sad it’s nearly over. Let us know if there’s anything in particular you want to hear about…I have the Cristal chilling as we speak. What a ride!
Report by James Leishman
7:50 pm local, Speed: 8.5 knots, Rpm: 1252/1253, Wind: 18 knots, Seas: 2 meters
Current position: 13n23.884 N 54 38.167 W, 291.5 nm to Barbados
Disco at Sea!
After nearly 10 days away, you can imagine we were getting a little stir crazy and last night saw us turning the music up as the sun went down! Thankfully this was the perfect excuse for me to pull out a parting gift from the previous owners, unbeknownst to the rest of the team: behold the disco light! Alter egos appeared, hilarity ensued and some sweet moves broke out – hopefully no photographic evidence will surface. In truth, we were having so much fun that we forgot to send our daily report!
On a more serious note, today saw the sun and swell return, and during our daily meal prep routine, we discovered the lazarette freezer had thawed all of its contents! Luckily, despite the rising temperature and humidity, it was still cold and we were able to salvage everything…crisis averted. Tonight we enjoyed a sushi platter as we close in on our destination, which feels bittersweet as we are loving this journey with a great crew, but will also be very happy to reach land. Not long now…
Report by Lisa Bryan
10:11 pm local; Speed: 8.5 knots, Rpm 1284/1285, Wind: 11 knots, Sea state: 1.5+ meters, Visibility: 8 miles
Position: 13 30.366° N 47 38.120° W
Fideuà for dinner a lar Jordi with a side of forward flooded bilge!
Woke up this morning to the calmest day so far, put the lines out, and while we didn’t catch anything, we lost yet another lure – presumably to a wahoo. Wishing we had some wire leader on board. As we move west, the temperature and humidity is rising daily.
Jordi treated the team to Fideuà for tonight’s dinner using a family recipe with a few of his grandmother’s secret tips. As we sat down to eat, a strange sound from the forward utility area caught all of our attention. It sounded like an intermittent squeaking sound which we quickly investigated and found that a spare parts box had rubbed up against the flywheel of the forward machinery bilge pump. After we remedied the noise issue, we then jumped down to inspect the lower level and shockingly found ourselves in knee deep water. Instinctively, Jordi tasted the water to thankfully find it was fresh! We immediately shut down all fresh water pumps and to our relief, Jordi shouted from below that it was a simple fresh water hose rupture on the output side of the Mach 5 house water pump. From there, owner Mike rushed to the engine room to grab the necessary tools to allow Jordi to cut the failed hose section.
Job done and crisis averted! Being new to the world of major ocean crossings, it’s amazing to be learning so much each day. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…
Report by James Leishman
5:30 pm local
Speed: 8.5 knots, Rpm: 1255/1254, Wind: 14 knots, Se state: 2+ meters, Visibility: 5 miles
Today the weather has improved a little bit more and we have had light rain showers that started this morning. It’s nice to get a free rinse on the decks. Bob at OMNI weather has informed us that we should expect the same conditions for the next 24-30 hours before the sea and wind trends start to increase and will remain through our arrival into Barbados.
We have been forgetting to include our position reports for folks who aren’t able to get the tracking to work. Our current position is 12 30.784° N 43 52.605°
We have approximately 908.2 nm left to go until our arrival in Barbados.
Log report by Doug Harlow
12:45 am local (12/13/21), Speed: 8.6 knots, Rpm: 1269/1270, Wind: 14.4 knots, seas: 2 meters, Visibility: 9 miles
The conditions today seemed to have settled down a bit. The swells are still 2 meters but the wind has dropped making it a more comfortable, smoother ride. I am continuing to take and edit video along with the photos, all of which will be uploaded to this page once we get phone/internet service. The conditions were nice enough today where we could go up and hang out on the flybridge so it was sunset cocktails this evening!
Log Report by Lisa Bryan
6:30 pm local, Speed: 9 knots, Rpm: 1363/1364, Wind 14.6 knots, Visibility: 8 miles
They say fresh is best and I can confirm that is the case…last night James ran me through simple beer batter recipe for our Dorado, add some homemade tartar sauce and paprika roasted potatoes and we’re good to go. Today saw Jordi and James in a ceviche competition, which we were all too happy to judge! Tomorrow I’m going to show the guys how we do it in the Pacific. The weather has settled a little and today we caught plenty of sun as well as a fair few flying fish on the decks this morning. Thought we had a generator issue this afternoon as it wouldn’t turn over, but soon found it was a starter battery issue which remedied with a simple parallel switch selection in the wheel house. Seas are better now – 1.5 to 2 meters on our aft starboard. A few of us are currently sitting in the pilothouse watching the sun go down with an Aperol spritz in hand. Life is good.
Log report by James Leishman
3:51 am local (12-10-21), Speed: 8.5 knots, Rpm: 1395/1395, Wind: 19.4 knots, Seas: 2 to 2.5 meters, Visibility: 7 miles
We decided to depart Cape Verde Thursday afternoon around 2:30 pm local after buying some fresh yellow fin tuna and local produce. We inspected both main engine impellers and decided to replace the port engine’s impeller. Then we were off!
Full with a great dinner of bbq chicken, peas and roasted potatoes, we settled in for the remainder of the trip. We’re all excited about this leg. The only casualty of the day was this evening at dinner when Doug’s wine glass smashed on the galley floor. (I won’t say whether the waves had anything to do with that!)
Log report by James Leishman
6:47 pm local, lying at Marina Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde, 16°53.150’N 24°59.517’W
Ave. speed for Leg 1 of trip (Lanzarote, Canary Islands to São Vicente, Cape Verde: 9.4 knots
We pulled into Cape Verde at the Mindelo Marina around 9:30 am local time and went straight to the fuel dock to fill all four tanks completely. We took on 8,556 liters of fuel. The first thing we had to do when we arrived was go get a Covid test. (We all tested negative.) Then Jordi went to Customs with all our passports and got us cleared in. It was nice to be in port and Doug, Jordi and I all went to the grocery store to get some supplies. Unfortunately, we were a little disappointed in the quality of the produce and the beef selection was scarce. We did pick up some oranges and lettuce and a few other things.
After that the whole crew got off the boat to go to lunch in the marina. The place was filled with sailboats. Probably about 40 boats berthed and another 30 anchored out. We were the only privately owned powerboat there – in fact, the only powerboat aside from a commercial fishing vessel – and by far the biggest boat in the marina. We met a real interesting couple from New Zealand who are making their way to the Caribbean. There were boaters from all over Europe – France, Italy, even Russia.
After lunch Doug and I trekked back out in search of more food. We only had access to a small trolley so we were limited as to how much we could bring back to the boat at one time. While we did that, Jordi changed out the oil on the main engines as well as the fuel filters. We also enlisted the help of Weather Router “OMNI Bob” who let us know the next week was going to be a windy one. We could expect 20-30 knot winds and 2-3 meter waves. Well, we are certainly familiar with that! We could wait a week for the weather to calm down, but with the holidays coming we don’t really have the luxury to wait so we are getting back underway tonight. There are absolutely no concerns with the boat. She performs great but the 50-knot winds we had on the beam makes everything slightly uncomfortable and adds a bit of a hassle to everything you do. The last two days at sea were great though. What you imagine when you think about going cruising. So it’s been a quick stop here in Cape Verde, but nice to get refreshed and ready for the remainder of the cruise. We expect to arrive in Barbados on Dec. 16.
Report by Mike Ridgway
3:11 pm local, Speed: 9.6 kts, Rpm: 1410/1408, Wind: 16 kts, Sea state: white caps 1 to 1.5 meters, Visibility: 6 miles
What a difference a day makes! So finally we are getting some weather true to forecast and everyone is settling into a great cruising experience. The rough weather has reminded us all how great the good days are. All we need to do is land a couple of fish and life will be pretty much perfect. James managed some magic on the bbq with some prawns we picked up in the Canaries that managed to quench our need for seafood in the short term…which reminds me, need to get back to the fishing…
Report by James Leishman
Monday 7:06 pm local, Speed 9.4 kts, Rpm 1374/1376, Wind speed: 21 knots, Sea state: confused 2 meters, Visibility: 3 miles, Forecast: rain expected
Early this morning we expected calming weather and some fishing but unfortunately the wind continued to blow 35 to 40 knots. Seas were 3.5 to 4 meters into the late afternoon. Things have calmed a bit and we had a double hook up on Dorados but unfortunately lost both. It was too bad after Lisa worked hard getting her fish close. Due to the confused sea state and high winds, it’s been difficult to slow the boat enough to land the fish. We are currently prepping and closing all windows and hatches in anticipation of some heavy rain tonight.
Report by Lisa Bryan
While the weather isn’t what we hoped, there’s been plenty of laughs and despite the unpredictable cooking gauntlet between waves, we’re eating well!
Report by: James Leishman
12:55 PM Local, Speed: 9.4 knots, RPM: 1495/1498, Wind speed: 39 knots, Seas confused 3.5 – 4 meters, Visibility: 8 miles
We momentarily (10 minutes) lost our stabilizers. Mike said it felt like a lifetime! We were getting a low oil pressure warning and the port fin was unable to unlock from its locked position. Jordi took control and hand steered while I went to investigate. No visible leaks and both fin actuators looked good. We took a few big rolls and stuff went flying! Casualties aboard were a table lamp in lower crew stateroom and a coffee kettle in the galley. We reset the fins a few times then noticed both PTO pumps had come offline. After we re-engaged both pumps all was back to normal. I grilled chicken on the aft deck wearing a safety harness with conditions being this rough. Lisa made a spinach salad for lunch. It was fantastic! Next stop Cape Verde for fuel and fresh vegetables.
Report by: James Leishman
First 24 hours at sea. Speed 9.3 knots. RPM 1321/1321. It’s a twin engine boat FYI. Wind speed 39 knots, direction 48 degrees. Seas 3.5 meters. Next stop La Palma to see the volcano. All is well aboard – no sea sickness but it’s been difficult to make food due to the rough sea state. I got everyone Whoppers from Burger King just before we departed so that’s held us over. We hope to make a real meal for lunch today. Unfortunately it won’t be fresh caught fish. We had hooked up 2 Dorado but couldn’t reel them in because of the rough seas and they broke off. Will have to try again.
Almost 45 knots of wind as we approach La Palma! (see photo) Seas confused 3 to 3.5 meters. Boat is performing well as expected. No one’s lost their lunch!
Last night we ran by La Palma and saw the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupting. (You can see a picture in the photo gallery below). It was amazing to see.
Report by: Doug Harlow
We departed Lanzarote Friday December 3rd are are heading towards La Palma Island. The sea state was rough to Heavy with winds of 20-30 kns and gusts up to 53 kns. Swells were 10-15 feet. The crew is settling in to their watch schedule which changes every two hours. The boat is well provisioned and handling the rough/heavy conditions nicely.
Tomorrow we are due to arrive at La Palm Island in the afternoon to view an active volcano. Stay tuned…
Got a question for the crew on board Spirit of Ulysses? Submit it here and we’ll do our best to respond to you.
Q: Greetings SOU,
What was the course correction on Dec 17 c. 9:30am (UTC -5) Lat 13.27 Lon -53.39 to correct for?
Wishing you continued good luck,
A: I think what you are referring to is when we had to adjust our course because the seas were getting big and we wanted to be more comfortable. James
Q: Greetings Spirit of Ulysses—
Here’s a question for each of the five of you:
If you could make a substantial change to any substantial part of Spirit of Ulysses to better suit her to ocean crossings, what would that change be?
Smooth “sailing” and many thanks.
A. Hi William, great question. I will ask each team member to answer.
James: For me I would have liked to have satellite internet access. Currently we are able to communicate via a Garmin Inreach, iridium Go!, and a satellite phone. None of this equipment allows us internet access.
Doug: We are conserving diesel fuel and using the generator one hour a day so the stateroom below by the engine room gets pretty hot. I would say an improvement would be bigger fans!
Jordi: I would like to see a PTO (Power take-off)on the 33k genset. The original owner did not include this when the boat was originally ordered.
Lisa: I would second the call for internet on board in order to make it easier to communicate with family as well as prep for arrival. Aside from that, an ice maker would be ideal. (I should qualify that by saying there are actually two ice makers on board which were previously disconnected!)
Mike: I’d like to have an additional freezer aboard. We currently have two aboard now. I also wish my daughter would have been able to join the adventure. She just finished her last year of high school and it would have been a really cool experience for her.
Q: Hello, My daughter and I very much enjoy following your adventure as we would love, one day, to do the same. The question we had is why you do not wear any life vests while on the deck ? We sail in the UK (Solent) and always have ours when outdoors (on our smaller boat). Thank you, Guillaume and Olivia
A: Hi Guillame and Olivia, thank you for your question. When going out on deck, we always evaluate the swell and weather before any crew goes out. Everyone has a life jacket and harness ready to go if needed. You might have read about James wearing his during the bad weather while he was grilling in the cockpit. We also ensure no one goes outside at night. Good luck with your cruising plans. – Capt. Jordi
Q: Greetings , I own 7610 and I’m planning to make the same crossing in a couple of years. I’m interested to know if you have a specific strategy about targeting Nm/gal and if is so, what is the number you look to maintain. Also if you are planning to run one engine at the time (to save fuel and oil change along the crossing) and what are the reading of your digital flowmeter at different rpms.
thanks and have a wonderful trip. Paolo
A. Congratulations on owning N7610! We are constantly looking at the weather forecast – we also look at consumption which constantly changes with current, wind and wave. Currently we are running along at 1249/1248 rpm at 8.5 knots burning just under 6 US gallons per engine per/hr. We have a good forecast for the next two days and plan to slow a bit to add to our reserve fuel. – James
Q: Hi Guys, thanks for posting and allowing us to ride along! I check several times a day – almost feel as though I’m there with you! Does Spirit of Ulysses have a bulbous bow? Given the prevailing conditions, which appear to be mostly quartering, would you have any preference, i.e., bulbous or not? Hope you’re all having a great time! Lance
A: Hi Lance, thanks for the question! SOU does not have a bulbous bow. That’s an option the original buyer did not select. With the seas behind us I don’t really notice a difference. Captain Jordi thinks we would pick up a little speed if the boat did have the optional bulb fitted. -James