Video – New Foundland to Ireland

The third and final installment of our 2019 journey across the Atlantic to Europe.
Due to the shorter distance in the North and the favorable winds we did not only have a good time crossing the ocean but also had sufficient time to take in some of the Irish history and culture.
Of course, Fastnet Rock was a special place to sail to. Kinsale turned out to be a very good choice for a stop-over (a picturesque town with a sheltered and modern marina, good food & stores and typical Irish nightlive.

Video – Halifax to St John’s

Another great adventure in the North. We were lucky as the weather was very nice and the fog manageable.
With Lisa and Steve we had two very eager novices on board who handled their tasks very well.
The drone shots of Tioga under spinnaker generated quite some adrenalin, but were well worth the risk.

Video – From Nahant to Halifax

After a longer break, the video of out trip to Halifax is finally available.

We had a great time, sailing with the heatwave to Nova Scotia where Cathy and Ron were fantastic hosts. Visiting the Dory museum in Shelburne, walking the streets of historic Lunenburg and enjoying the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron facilities complemented the beautiful sailing conditions.

The crew from Newfoundland to Ireland

A couple of photos of our crew on the way from Newfoundland to Ireland via Crookhaven, Fastnet Rock and Kinsale to Crosshaven, where Tioga will spend the winter in the boatyard.

Amy Sullivan
Dave Mcquarrie
Ellen Christy
Ledyard McFadden
Philip Kersten
Ulf Westhoven

While the previous legs from the US to Canada were about 1000nm, this trip was one of our longer ones with over 1700nm.
It was warmer than expected and enabled our northern-most swim in the mid-Atlantic so far.


Overnight Camping off Nahant

We boarded Saoirse late afternoon for a quick sail to Short Beach Cove, off Nahant. On board was your typical cast of characters – well seasoned Captain – King – Uncle Dan McMackin, Chief engineer and deck master Peter Barba, newly seasoned offshore sailor Lisa Mogan O’ Keefe , and newbies Michele Lawlor and Laura Poulin. Our excitement was short lived as we headed into some serious 4 to 6 foot crashing waves. See US Coast guard drawing below. After a grueling half hour or so,  we made it to our semi-protected anchorage. We rafted up with The Pearl, friends from the Dory Club, for a nice meal. Exhausted with our sail, we sat back and enjoyed some BVI painkillers before firing up the grill.  Dinner was a pot luck and included shrimp, potstickers,  Kobe beef sliders, chicken and assorted salads.  Leaslie from the Pearl finished it off with a fabulous chocolate zucchini cake. Yes we eat well on Saoirse. While the fare was good, The seasoned blue water sailors clamored  for the typical offshore fare of Spamboat (as pictured below).  All this and not an olive to be found! We would have flown our drone, had it not been confiscated on the trumped up peeping Tom charges. So our photo array is limited. After the filling meal aboard the Pearl we returned to Saoirse for a late night dance party that rivaled Studio 54. We capped the night with a bedtime story from Uncle Dan.

Dawn came early, and no one thought to bring the Captain breakfast in bed though it was much deserved from the maelstom that he sailed through the day before. We enjoy a great breakfast of sticky buns, fruit, and Linda’s homemade pizzele  cookies before pulling up anchor to head home.

Although our trip took 38 minutes from mooring to Anchorage, our onboard mathematicians projected our daily ETMAL at 189.7.

Oh wait, I think we have the wrong blog….

We miss sailing on Tioga with her Captain and crewman all.

The journey home is never a direct route, it is, in fact, always circuitous, and somewhere along the way, we discover that the journey is more significant than the destination. And that the people we meet along the way, will be the traveling companions of our memories forever.

Tioga Now lies on the hard for a winter nap, and her Captain and crew await the next exciting adventure!



All great journeys must come to an end, and ours did in the lovely port of Crosshaven, home to the world’s oldest yacht club ( the Royal Cork Yacht Club, celebrating 300 years next year!) and, more importantly, Cronin’s Pub where yet again we were served a hearty portion of Irish hospitality and whit.
Friday we put Tioga to bed for the winter and sighed at the end of our big adventure.
So Saturday was out final day and we were making the most of it with a trip to Cobh to see the titanic museum and then on to the Jameson distillery to raise a final glass.

Thanks so much for following our adventure.

From Fastnet Rock to Kinsale

We arrived in Ireland under the cover of darkness, having made a decision to settle in for a few hours in a small harbor so that we could sail around Fastnet rock during the morning light. Sailing down the Irish coast in the middle of a moonless night was quite surreal. Dolphins joined us to guide Tioga in and glowed in the sting phosphorescence. We arrived in Crookhaven harbor and grabbed a mooring at 2:30 am to got some needed sleep.
In the morning we could see how beautiful this little harbor was. Gorgeous green fields turned quickly to cliffs that dropped dramatically to the Atlantic. We circled Fastnet Rock and headed to the marina of the Kinsale Yacht Club.
Fastnet Rock is often called Irelands Teardrop.  As the Irish emigrants of the famines of 1840 and 1879 departed the Auld Sod they knew they could never come home.  Never again to see their parents, brothers, sisters and friends. Fastnet was the last bit of Ireland they would see on the outbound ships. One such tearful Irishman was Jeremiah McMackin in 1870s.
Between Fastnet Rock and our evening in Kinsale, this was by far the most memorable day of the trip.
We sailed under Gennaker with a slowly building breeze along the very impressive coastline, saw whales, dolphins, seals und a humongous turtle.
We truly had an amazing Irish experience, having made new friends in the pub and singing with them for several hours…alternating between Irish songs and American songs.

New friends, new bonds and a few too many Jameson’s and the crew determined that we may have been safer at sea!


Land Ho!

The Lazarette
A Stern Publication.

Land Ho!

Tuesday August 27 at 3 PM Newfoundland time Tioga spotted Great Skellig Island ten miles off. Kudos to our intrepid Capitan for bringing the crew so far and so fast.

We’re going to put in at a small harbor close to Fastnet Rock and grab a mooring for a few hours. We’ll then head out to see the Rock before heading to Kinsale for customs. What a journey! Stand by your cellphone.

A note to a certain reader. Our dedicated reader and regular Tioga crew member Peter Barba submitted the following letter:

I read with great enjoyment the recent installment of the Lazarette – The Need For Speed. I know how the Captain and Ulf are competitive and can see Amy as competitive as well. My guess is one of Ulf’s protests must have been that he was not allowed to “ put out the Blister” or at least increase the sails to suit his personal needs. And why is he Ulf “Son of Ulf”. Shouldn’t he be Ulf “son of Rosemarie” or “Father of Jasper” or “Father of Max” which is actually pretty cool sounding. And what’s the story behind Bunk Nomad Ledyard – are you all not Bunk Nomads? And King Philip – you anointed him King? Dan Mcmackin and I are a little concerned with the brown nosing going on – we suspect it is to gain favor for chances at future sailing legs aboard Tioga. Serving the Captain breakfast in bed and anointing him king will only go so far. When the $#,% hits the fan! Which one of you will climb in the hole and have the ability to fix the hydro generator controller or figure out when there is water in the exhaust clogging it up like a banana in your tail pipe. The Captain is a pretty smart guy and we’re sure he sees through your thinly veiled attempts at locking up a place on his next adventure. You need to do it the old fashioned way – bribe him with cash. Dan’s got a fist full of dollars to reserve our spots. Dan and I are watching closely!
And my wife asked why was Ellen not given a time at the wheel in this speed contest – We think she could have been a Contenda!
Im thinking (what are you thinking about) with the liberal state of humanity today, you may want to make everyone happy by awarding prizes so that everyone wins. Dapper DAVE would get overall winner, King (huh) Philip would be fastest Captain. Bunk Nomad Ledyard could be …well fastest Bunk Nomad. Chef Amy could be fastest female ( oh wait that is brining gender in and I think that is a no no today) so I guess Fastest Chef and Ellen could be Fastest while wearing perfect lipstick!
Lastly – quite an ETMAL but not quite the record – good effort buddy, keep trying!

Oh, and my wife Pretty Linda, passed along that on the Ireland Scotland Leg, King (huh) Captain Philip told her she had steered Tioga to the fastest she had ever been, too bad Pretty Linda can’t remember what that speed was

Hope you enjoy my email – heck I need something to do while I WAIT MY TURN FOR THE NEXT LEG! Oh that would be FIRST in line – right Captain King Philip? And What would you like for breakfast on the first day?

Safe Sailing

We felt it only proper to address Peter’s concerns further below in a note from Ledyard (Bunk Nomad and New Guy)

Dear Peter,

It is so funny that you mention “the hole.” I was just working in there yesterday to install the new water maker that I brought along as a gift for Tioga. It should be a real upgrade for next season’s crew, whoever that might be. I am sure you will be included, although it is odd how incessantly Philip is seeking a place in our luggage for your boots.

Please tell Pretty Linda that her 11.3 record stands under normal conditions. Top speeds made this year probably have to do with the upgrades Philip and I have been making to the standing rigging while underway.

Regarding bunk nomad status, I was able to fix all the leaks in the deck except for the one over the starboard bunk. It happens to be my bunk since Ulf saved it for me. How nice of him. So I am the only one forced to travel. (It’s great to have all these things taken care of before we put her to bed for the winter.) Happy to take off your list.

So nothing to worry about. Although Philip keeps asking me about my schedule next summer, I’m sure it’s nothing. You know how chit chatty he can be. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always go sailing with Dan as long as you bring the Fireball.


The New Guy

Irish Plankathon

The Lazarette
a Stern Publication
Monday August 26

Anniversary edition
As we celebrate 10 days at sea we would like to thank our growing list of now hundreds of subscribers. Most readers are friends and family of the 50 sailors that have enjoyed sailing Tioga with captain Philip and his family on the Atlantic’s blue waters since 2008.

Our newest subscriber is also one of the oldest ones: Rolf Reinhard, 92 and Ulf’s father in law has inspired Ulf to sign up for this journey to Ireland, which is where Rolf had spent his early childhood.

Rolf’s dad, a forester, had been hired by the Irish government to reforest the island in the 1930s. When Rolf was 12 years old he competed in Irish planking, an ancient celtic sport.

You may recall that In the 1960s Irish planking was almost selected as an Olympic sport, loosing out only to Badminton. The goal is to create a straight line from head to toe and to hold this in place as long as possible, while touching the ground only with toes and elbows.

Rolf achieved a school record of 17 Minutes and 23 seconds. In honor of Rolf, today each of the the Tioga crew members attempted to break Rolf’s record, see attached photos. Needless to say Rolf’s record still stands with our max achieved by Captain Philip at 4 minutes, 16 seconds!

Today was probably the busiest day of all. Beyond Irish planking, the Tioga crew engaged in changing, reefing and setting sails, cleaning, cooking, and reading (yes, Emily, Ulf has almost completed Sapiens!). Most importantly, we turned on the heater – a Tioga first timer – to dry out the boat and gear after yesterday’s surf, spray and rain.

The wind died down today, and we did not travel many miles in the last 24 hours. Never-the-less, we are coming into the home stretch of our journey, with just over a day until we expect to see Fastnet rock!

Going from roughly 12000 feet depth to just 1200, we left the deep waters today and are impressed by the very long and at least 10 foot high ocean swell.

As we prepare for dinner with a beautiful sun setting behind us, all is well on Tioga!

The need for speed

The Lazarette
a Stern Publication
Sunday August 25

Despite appearances to the contrary Tioga is a laser dinghy! For those who are not familiar with the laser, it is a one-person dinghy, 13 feet in length, one main sail, and she weighs about 130 pounds before crew. It is also a boat that Philip, Ulf and Ledyard sail a fair bit in “friendly” competition. Tioga is 44 feet long, has a main, jib and staysail, along with various other sails, capacity for an endless supply of Spam, baked beans and other supplies, a crew of six, and she weighs in at about 26000 pounds.

How is it the Tioga could ever be a laser? Survey says: She surfs like one! Yes the laser actually surfs in enough wind, skipping along the surface at an exciting clip. Tioga surfs in a much more stable and stately style but surf none the less she does. She’s been on a broad reach, starboard tack since 6 PM last night, Saturday. In a nice breeze we began to see some big numbers on the knot meter. The competitive juices began to flow. I wonder who can go fastest?
Ledyard began with an impressive 11.4 knt run in a paltry 26 knt breeze. (Wow that guy is fast). Seeing Ledyard’s stellar display at the helm, Ulf began to create ad hoc rules regarding the scoring of wave surfing in the North Atlantic, ostensibly to create a fair playing field but one must wonder when the high score by ledyard suddenly becomes just a qualifying score. Hmmm. In a much stiffer breeze of 30 knts, Ulf was able to achieve a 12.5 surf, at least according to him. Ledyard went forward to pout and nap.

Then the big dog showed up. Rising from his nap, Captain Philip could not resist getting in on the action. And as one would expect with so much time behind the Tioga wheel (read massive unfair advantage), Philip scored a 13.5 knts. Ledyard and Ulf then simulated electrical issues and switched off the knot meter, reminding Philip of his own words that Tioga is a low energy consumption boat.
Ulf and Ledyard began secretly using Philip’s data plan to consult with international sailing associations to file the obvious protest. Clearly their early surfing clean Tioga’s bottom, creating unfair conditions. This is further supported by the fact that Ulf went faster than Ledyard and then Philip faster still.

However the real threat was yet to come. In the following watch, Dapper Dave rode a big wave to clock the winning 13.9 score What a ride. Ledyard had a great final run at 12.9. Then in the following watch Chef Amy served up a 12.6 dish of humble pie.

Final standings

Dapper Dave 13.9
Prince Philip 13.5
Bunk Nomad Ledyard 12.9
Chef Amy 12.6
Ulf, Son of Ulf 12.5 (good effort buddy keep trying )

All this goes to show that you can take the sailer out of the dinghy but you can’t take the dinghy out of the sailer.

All is well here on Tioga, bruised egos aside.

Distance traveled in the last 24 hours: 179!