NORTHERN CROWN II Sets Sail for Bermuda
  
Last Update: May  19, 2007 By Anne Baur and James Baur, THS '62 - click here to email them!.
  
Click here to jump to the updates since December, 2006!
  
There will be updates from the Northern Crown II, as we receive them from Anne - please scroll down (at Messages) to see the latest updates.
 

Jim Baur, on the Northern Crown II.

It was thirty years ago that Jim Baur, Anne Baur, and Walter Wiedmann accomplished a goal many have dreamed of, yet few have reached: a trans-Atlantic crossing - in the first Northern Crown. The 29 foot sloop wintered in Spain, with the crew flying home. The following year Jim Baur, the captain, returned to Spain and, with the help of Bob Jacobson, Nick Tullo and Dave Trenbirth, sailed back home.

There were many other sea, as well as inland adventures over the years, including trips to Nantucket, Nova Scotia, Puerto Rico, and other destinations. Now there is a new "Northern Crown," the "Northern Crown II," and a new adventure!

 

After an incredible amount of planning, preparing and repairing, Jim once again left the safety of the Richmond County Yacht Club (Great Kills, Staten Island) docks for the high seas on October 19. This time he sails the 37 foot Catamaran, the Northern Crown II, with a crew of three: Melinda and Al Law from Oregon, and Wilhelm Wildemast from Spain. Plans include visits to Bermuda, and the Bahamas.
  
Technology has certainly helped make trips like this safer, easier and less demanding. The boat is equipped with many advances not even imagined thirty years ago such as GPS, computerized charts, digital auto helm, Satellite phone with e-mails, wind generator, electric windlass, roller furling, etc. These will help make life aboard more comfortable and less stressful. The sextant and paper charts will also be used if needed.

Jim has promised to keep us posted of how this trip unfolds and of some of the adventures along the way. Bon Voyage!!

  

Messages and Pictures from the NORTHERN CROWN II

  
Friday, 10/20/06 13:40

After leaving yesterday we slowly motored to the Atlantic Highlands and spent a quiet night at anchor. The forecast this morning was still bad so I decided to spend the day here and get underway tomorrow morning. About 3:00 PM a squall came through and the wind has stayed behind about 35 knots. Everything is going pretty well onboard and Wilhelm fits in very nicely. Please tell Bruce, Janet, Joel and Phyllis thanks for their sendoff. I have to write this on Al’s computer as our computers do not seem compatible. Our position at the moment is N 38:49 W 72:30. I miss you a lot.

Jim

  
Sunday, 10/22/06 17:43

We are two days out of the Atlantic Highlands. Yesterday was quick and bouncy and we averaged about 7 knots. Last night the wind died and we drifted and motored. Today we have an unfavorable southeast wind and are going slow. Al and Wilhelm were seasick - Melinda’s seasick but not so bad. Otherwise all is okay. I miss you.

Love, Jim

  
Tuesday, 10/24/06

Hi folks! We are sailing along under a reefed jib sail alone as the winds are high and the waves are running 10 to 15 feet at times. The winds peaked at around 40 knots early, but seem to be settling a bit. There has been some rain and the barometer is low but not too bad. We are around 360 nautical miles from Bermuda on a bearing of 131 degrees true from St. Georges, Bermuda. Our position is N 36:27, W 70:00. All’s well, though three of the four of us have had some trouble with seasickness. At least Melinda hasn’t lost her dinner. I guess those seasick patches really work.

  
Sunday, 10/29/06 13:30

After a difficult trip, the Northern Crown II safely reached Bermuda. A week's stay in Bermuda is planned, then off to the Bahamas. More to follow. 

Bermuda.

At sea, October 27th.

  
Monday, 11/ 6/06 14:27

We left Bermuda Saturday and are back at sea. Right now we are about 250 miles SW of Bermuda on a bearing of 41 degrees true. Our position is N29 degrees 15 minutes W67 degree 54 minutes. All is well. The seas are running 12 feet and up, and the winds seem to be steady at over 20 knots when it doesn’t go to over 30 in the rain squalls. We’re making over 125 miles per day so far, even with just part of the jib sail up, but conditions are pretty miserable. It’s hard to sleep or move around with the boat pitching so much. Still, if it stays like this, we could be in the Bahamas in another 4 to 5 days.

At sea, November 5th. High waves while underway.

   
Thursday, 11/ 9/06 14:00

Well here we are, getting knocked around again. We had to take the sails down the night before last as the wind shifted to the SW, right where we want to go. We sat all day yesterday as the rain poured and the wind blew hard. The humidity got to what seemed like 200%, and the cabins would have won first prize in a steam bath contest. Today we got going with sunny skies for a while, but the clouds and squalls are back now. The wind is still from the wrong direction, so we are having to sail at an angle close to our course, but not the right direction. They call sailing up wind ‘beating’ because that is what you have to take, a beating. We slam into every wave with a loud bang.

We are 307 miles from Cat Island, Bahamas on a bearing of 237 degrees. Our bearing back to Bermuda would be 45 degrees at around 450 miles. Hopefully things will calm down tomorrow.

Al

  
Monday,11/13/06 13:14

What a beautiful day we have today! It almost makes all the bad weather worth it. We are cruising along under sunny skies with light winds from almost right behind us. We motored all night as the wind was too light to move us. We had a bit of excitement just about midnight last night as we heard this tinkling sound and turned on the flashlight to look at the rigging.

 

A moment later the boom fell off the mast! If we had had any wind at the time, it could have done some damage, but since it was calm (mostly) all it took was a little midnight engineering to put it back. Some genius of a boat designer used the same shackle to attach the bottom of the mainsail and secure the large bolt that attaches the boom to the mast. All it took was one small shackle bolt to come loose and bang, major hassle.

At sea, November 10th.

 

Our position is N24 degrees 53minutes, W73 degrees 01 minute. We are 139 miles from Cat Island on a bearing of 259 degrees. We are 628 miles from Bermuda on a bearing of 43 degrees. We are doing about 2-3 knots at the moment.

We just hoisted the Spinnaker for the first time all trip. This is a light wind sail for running down wind and boy, is it beautiful to see - blue and white stripes flying against a blue sky. We picked up about two knots of speed from it too! ETA is now about 34 hours, if all stays the same.

At sea, November 10th. Wilhelm at the helm.

 

Thanks for the political update it read like news from another planet, with us being out here so long.

 

Al

  
Friday, 11/17/06 13:30

An excited phone call from Jim let us know that they had just arrived safely in the Bahamas. After an overnight stop at an unnamed cay (pronounced ‘key’) and a short stay at Cat Island, they reached the beautiful harbor at George Town, in the Exumas. This is a huge, protected harbor between Great Exuma and Stocking Island, somewhere near the center of the Bahamas. When we visited this spot in 1993 in our trawler, the QA I, there were between 300 and 400 boats staying there for the whole winter! After a brief trip to shore by dinghy, they were planning to replenish their supplies of both fuel and water and then settle in at a comfortable anchorage.

Anne

November 10th. Jim using the dinghy to get back and forth to shore, with another sailboat in the background.

The Exumas, The Bahamas.

Ashore, November 22nd. Jim and Wilhelm.

  
Wednesday, 12/6/06 13:30

The latest news from the Northern Crown II is that Jim is enjoying some rest and relaxation in a sailor’s paradise (George Town in the Bahamas.) The catamaran is anchored in a pretty safe harbor, even if it did need two anchors on the same rode for better holding. Lucky for him that he was in port when he discovered that another tooth needed a root canal (he just had one taken care of before leaving on this trip). There is only one dentist on the island, who happened to be away on vacation. Good thing another one had come to cover for him and was able to help Jim with his tooth!

A second bit of news is that although Al and Melinda planned to crew with Captain Jim much longer, this trip was not what they had imagined. It goes without saying that you really need to accept all that blue water cruising entails, and make the best of it, or else it doesn’t make any sense. Some folks are simply not cut out for this type of adventure. They decided to return home to Oregon.

A third bit of news is that while Wilhelm did well on the trip from Staten Island to Bermuda, and then to the Bahamas, he had told Jim from the start that his stay was a temporary one. He was enthusiastic and very grateful for the sailing adventure, but he needed to return to Spain.

So long crew!

Well for the time being, Jim is planning to make the best of this opportunity and enjoy relaxing in port.

  
Tuesday, 2/20/07

Jim has been relaxing and taking in the native culture. There are small social gatherings with local neighbors as well as larger beach parties. Seashell collecting, walk-abouts and fishing are popular. For the younger and sports minded, there is windsurfing (with kite and surfboard) and volley ball.

He’s anchored among a community of other boaters from the U.S. and Canada. Hundreds of them come each year to get away from colder regions back home. And they become neighbors in the real sense of the word. There is a much anticipated daily Cruisers’ Net using the VHF radio, where the weather forecasts, announcements, planned activities and requests are made. It’s a great way to keep connected.

Instead of a White Christmas, he has been enjoying the warm sunny days of The Bahamas. He plans to remain there until the Spring and then sail back to Staten Island. Anne was able to join him for the holidays and stay for a month.

 

Anne on board, relaxing with a good book.

Anne enjoyed staying a whole month in

The Bahamas.

  

The dinghy is the connection between

the boat and shore.

Celebrating Christmas Day and a pot luck

dinner along with other cruisers.

  

A spectacular view anchored off Stocking Island,

across from George Town.

A wind-surfer enjoying the wind and surf on the

ocean side of Stocking Island.

  
There are local parades replete with exotic costumes. Bus tours of the Island make exploration complete. There is also an excellent library and many good books to read (Jim is an avid reader, especially of culture and history).
  

On Boxing Day, December 26, Bahamians celebrate

with colorful costumes and lively music in

their Junkanoo parade, which starts at 4:00 AM.

People from all over have a wonderful time celebrating.

  

Everyone comes out to participate in the

excitement of Junkanoo.

Creative “floats” are worn or carried by those

who march and prizes are given.

  
Wednesday, 5/2/07

Good News! Jim is coming home!

This morning his brother Tom, Walt Weidman (our neighbor) and his son Chris (from California) flew down to Florida and met at Ft. Lauderdale for the flight over to the Bahamas.

By 2:00 PM they met up with Jim, who was very excited about their arrival. He’s been eagerly preparing for this return trip of the Northern Crown II to Staten Island. This included checking weather forecasts, having the bottom of the boat cleaned, filling the fuel tank and water tanks, shopping for supplies, even baking. And with this exceptional crew, he plans to be setting sail on Thursday, May 3.

If all goes well they will navigate on a mostly Northern course, directly from George Town to Great Kills Harbor. It’s expected to take about two weeks, with favorable conditions. During most of this time they will not be in radio or phone contact, but I’ll keep you posted of their progress as much as I can.

Anne

  
Wednesday, 5/16/07

GOOD NEWS!

I Received a call from Jim early this morning and they are off the Jersey shore. He expects to get into Great Kills harbor about 11:00 AM. All are safe and sound, and yes, they did have some pretty tough weather. More to follow later.

Anne

  
Thursday, 5/16/07

THE CAPTAIN IS HOME

It is said that the cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears or the sea. We all hope that Jim is now cured, on all three accounts!

The Northern Crown II returned to Great Kills at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, May 16, almost seven months to the day it embarked. There is absolutely no comparison between this crew (brother Tom, neighbor Walter and his son, Chris) and the first. In every way they were the best and we thank them for all they did to make this journey possible. And they did seem to enjoy the excitement! It was not an easy passage - what else is new?

Of the 14 days under way, about half were pleasant. They unknowingly survived hurricane Andrea, gales and pretty high swells. It was not unusual to be sent airborne while on the bunk, as the boat crashed into the next wave! For three nights they had to take all sails down and just ride the waves, losing some hard earned miles.

But for now the adventure is over, the night watches all finished, the boat is secured. Four seasoned sailors return to their (normal) lives with many vivid memories and lots of stories to share. Welcome Home!