- Bay of Biscay
Sharry and I have owned Starr since 2000 and we have cruised over 100,000 miles since then.
First and foremost, we don’t leave until we see a good weather window.
Second, we don’t hesitate to alter course to go around bad weather. On our two pervious crossing we went 600nm out of our way to avoid bad weather.
If the seas are really snotty we will just alter course until things quiet down. This is supposed to be fun!
Third. We use the best weather router we can find and rely on their advice.
We don’t. When cruising, we run 24/7 until we get to a place where we can anchor. For example, at the time of this writing…our depth reading is 5999ft deep and Hanalei is still 1063nm ahead of us!
One main engine, a Cummins NTA855, 400hp, and we only use about 160hp to push the boat. Our Ballard (Seattle), Maritime industry maintains a fleet of over 1000 commercial fishing boats and 90% of our Ballard fishing fleet work the Aleutians in weather that would terrify me and they our running on a single engine. The key is to take really good care of it!
Our back up is to power the main shaft using our two 20kw Northern lights gens sets which have hydraulic PTOs that power a TRAC get home that turns the main shaft. The Generator set will push us at 3.5-5kts.
Most Northaven’s have an extra engine shaft and propeller for their get home system. I have considered adding a spare get-home engine and decided I didn’t want another appendage hanging under the bottom to snag nets or whatever and I certainly don’t need one more engine to maintain.
Over the past 20 years and more than 100,000nm of running and 13,300hrs on the main engine, we have only used our get home once which was on a passage between the Marshall Islands and Micronesia in 2010. I believe I wrote a blog about it called something like “A night to remember”.
Having said this doesn’t mean that I that someday I might find myself wishing for another propeller and engine on Starr.
Starr carries 14,102 liters, (3726 usg).
Running at 8-9kts we can cover 4000nm but that leaves no reserve. We always plan on 25-30% reserve.
For our last run to Hawaii we had plenty of fuel left. When we made the Japan to Hawaii run, we put an extra 4000 liters on the back deck. We didn’t use it, but it made good sense to have it.
If we slowed down to 6-7kts our fuel range will exceed 7000 nm.
I love the long passages, especially when I have the wheelhouse to myself; I love the quiet solitude. I treasure the (mostly) gentle, rocking motion of the boat and the quiet swishing of the water against the hull. Starr is a beautiful yacht based on the design of a North Sea Trawler and was made to go to sea. I feel very safe with Starr as my boat, Don as my captain and sometimes experienced friends as crew
I especially love the solitude of a night passage, surrounded by darkness punctuated by millions of stars in the night sky and on a perfect night perhaps the soft light of the moon. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Oh, but you ask: what about the days and nights in turbulent seas? I just wedge myself into the pilot seat and hang on tight; it’s only for 3 or 4 hours per watch and I quickly forget the discomfort. The beauty and especially the quiet peace of most of the passages far outweighs the discomfort.
One more thing about cruising with your significant other!
If you are thinking of doing what we do in your future. Start your cruising gently! When we first left Seattle in November 2000 to head south to Mexico and the Marquesas I waited to join Don in San Diego and good thing I did! Starr still had the prior captain and his wife on board to teach Don the systems. The weather was nasty, and I suspect had I been on that run that it would have been my first and last passage. The run from San Diego to Mexico and the Marquesas was delightful and from then on it was all history.