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2008 Logs

November 2008
11/4/2008 - Hampton VA
We are sitting in Hampton, VA waiting for a clear weather window for the start of the Caribbean 1500 rally and the official start of our journey.  Follow along our progress live with hourly updates online using the following link.  Also check out photos and info on the rally.

Oh yeah, it's election day.  The crew of Imagine is not happy...

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8 November 28, 2008 (Email update sent while underway)

1130 EST - We are underway - unfortunately under power though, but I still feel like we have now 'officially' started our journey.  Our wind speed is non existent for the moment, but we are hoping to get the sails up before long.  It has been an interesting start to the rally so far.  We had our final weather briefing this morning and the cruising class boats starting heading out.  We got underway at 0830, and followed a group of boats out past Cape Henry into the Atlantic.  Immediately we noticed our speed indicator was not registering our speed, and we went into immediate troubleshooting mode.  After testing the Voltage with our new multimeter, we figured out that it was not an electrical problem, but thought the impeller on the speedometer on one of our thru-hulls was fouled up after sitting in the harbor.  This required taking an action I really wasn't happy about while underway.  Pull the unit out of the bottom of the boat and plug it without letting too much water in the boat.  I pulled it out, and had a bit of a fountain of sea water coming into the boat before getting the plug in.  I cleaned the impeller, and that cured our problem!  Pretty happy that we got it to work again.  Now we can track our mileage & boat speed! 

Kids are well, currently watching a movie, and Jane, Stuart & I are hanging in the cockpit.  Stuart White has joined us on the rally.  Most boats have picked up additional crew members to help on the long passage, and we are very happy to have Stuart on board with us.  It helps to have a 3 watch person to help break up the night watches especially with the kids on board. We met Stuart at a Caribbean 1500 reception a few weeks ago, and even after meeting our kids who had a few cokes into them, was very excited about joining us for the rally.  Hopefully that will still be the case by the time we reach the Caribbean.

Our wind is picking up, so I will go for now & try to look like a sailboat!

1800 AST - Position N36 32' W 75 13'

Sunset, and still no wind.  We will have our first radio check in on our SSB and hopefully someone will hear us.  We have unfortunately been motoring all day - as has the rest of the fleet.  It didn't take long, but we are now all alone on the high seas!  We had one of our fleet in sight for a while, but no more.  We Should be entering the gulf stream in about 50 miles, and hope the winds pick up.  Will post more tomorrow or from my night watch 0000 to 0300.

All the best.

Crew Imagine.

Update 9 November 28, 2008 (Email update sent while underway)

Just as I started this update, one of our trolling lines starting making that zipping noise - FISH ON!  We slowed the boat and I landed a beautiful 44" Mahi Mahi!  The kids loved it until it was time to put an end to his life and put food on the table - Since the extent of our fishing in the Adams family has been with mostly Spiderman & Disney Princess poles, this was a pretty exciting time for us.  I had just rigged the rods, and attached the lures, and let them drag.  I was shocked that my knots held.  Getting the fish on board was amusing itself, killing it was not very precise, and filleting was more like a horror show.  But I have provided dinner for the crew - a very manly Tim Allen moment! When we get to the islands, I will post pictures of our kills as proof - no fish stories on this boat!  (we also landed a flying fish on Saturday - but that didn't count since it flew from the sea and landed on our deck)

Back to sailing for a moment...

Yesterday (Saturday) was pretty lively.  We were sailing strong all day and night thanks to a low that came in.  We were making great time, but was uncomfortable for the crew.  The kids chummed the waters and mostly were in hibernation mode.  Seas were 10-15 in no particular direction, so we were getting slammed.  Stewart & I put up the storm jib, and we sailed very nicely through the messy seas.  Typical, as it got dark, the winds piped up with gusts we clocked at 53 kts.  Mostly the winds were around 30-40 kts, which were strong enough themselves. Then the squalls hit which pelted us with rain. We had reefed the main & the jib and had the storm sail out.  Imagine sailed perfectly, and our Autopilot - Grace held strong to course.  It was a pretty sleepless night for all, and Sunday with dying winds, we relaxed a bit.  We made a lot of progress Saturday averaging around 8.5 kts which is pretty incredible considering how loaded we have the boat.  On the radio, one of the boats in the rally lost its forestay (wire from top of mast to bow - that keeps the mast up) -  We and another boat were close by and offered assistance, but they were able to cut the forestay loose, tie up what was left of the sail on deck and used spare halyards to support the mast.  All this in 15' waves, rain and 40-50 kt winds.  They are headed to Bermuda now, along with a few other boats that were having problems.  We are very happy with our boat decision and feel very confident with her - just a side note, there are 4 Hallberg Rassy's in the rally - us on our HR46, a HR49 which is very similar to ours, an older HR49 Ketch rig, and a new HR62.  The HR's are a true blue water boat.

Back to Sunday: 1530

Everyone is resting now, I'm on watch with Noah who is feeling much better.  As soon as I'm done with this update, I'm going to fire up the grill and serve dinner, watch the sunset, and prepare for our 3rd night at sea, which - when not angry, is a beautiful blue that is hard to describe, watch the stars, and try to get some rest.

Many thanks to Fred - our fishing outfitter, Sean for St Jude & St Christopher (who are with us in the cockpit) & we are excited to see the whole Paczosa family in the Spanish VI for Thanksgiving!  Also, thanks for the notes from all, and we'll keep you posted on our activities at sea, and you can look for our coordinates on the website.  Not that we are racing, but I'm curious how we are doing compared to the rest of the fleet!

Best wishes to all.

The crew Imagine.

Update 12 November 28, 2008 (Email update sent while underway)

Hi Everyone,

It's Jane here - the real "boss" of Imagine.  Finally, Monday brought us fair seas and a happier crew except for Marc who was not happy to run the engine.  I realized the fundamental difference between Marc's and my sailing style - as long as the sails are up Marc is happy and as long as we are moving quickly to our destination I'm happy.  So under a little "advice" from the crew we sparked up that 100 HP Volvo engine with 250 gal of fuel and started motoring faster toward the BVI. 

It was an absolutely beautiful day with clear water and sky.  First thing in the morning both Marc and Stuart commented that it was a dolphin day and within 30 minutes five dolphin were swimming at the bow.  All of us were up at the bow (kids were tethered in) looking at these incredible animals.  They were playing and jumping and looking up at us.  It was exactly as everyone describes it.  The kids were in heaven.  The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, just lots of motorsailing and enjoying the incredible weather.  We all wore shorts for the first time!!! I think that we may have had pants on for the last time for quite awhile. 

Just in time for my 3:00 AM watch the wind picked up to a perfect 15 knots.  It was a spectacular night with an almost full moon and more stars than I have ever seen.  It was probably the first time that I actually just relaxed and enjoyed my night watch.  I think that I'm starting to relax, I didn't even pass the time reading boat magazines, travel guides, or my favorite book.  Wow - is this what retirement is all about? 

We had an incredible fishing morning.  We caught four (yes 4 Mahi Mahi) I was typing this we had the fifth fish for today on the line but it got away.  We threw three of the Mahi Mahi back because they were a little small and we have plenty of fish to eat right now.  The question is how many ways can you cook Mahi Mahi.  Isn't that a horrible problem to have?

We have sailed almost all day today with great wind.  Right now, we have exactly 640 miles to go to Tortola - half way there!!!!  If my calculations are right we should be in Tortola in about 4.4 days but who's counting.  That is if I can keep the Volvo motoring and my husband away from the helm when the winds are light.  Things are going incredibly well, it's beautiful out here and the kids are great, no plans for mutiny or to take the first flight back to Chicago yet. Just ready to start snorkeling!  Thanks for the emails, it's great to hear from home.   We'll share pictures on the website as soon as we reach the BVI.


Jane (and the crew)

11/14/2008 Friday Update:

We can finally see Tortolla (at least on the chart plotter!)  As of this morning and we are about 190 miles north of the BVI and we are hoping to make landfall tomorrow mid day.  Pretty exciting for the crew and I have the perfect song teed up - Doors Land Ho - but still a long way to go.  Sorry no updates over the last couple of days, but we got into a bit of weather, and we all hunkered down and rode it out.  Today is still a bit lumpy with seas 9-10 feet and a 25-30kt breeze, unfortunately making for a pretty tight course for us to get into Tortolla.  I think Jane jinxed us with her last email, because soon after her night watch, the winds picked up to around 35-40 with gusts higher, and seas 10-15 feet.  Kindof hard to put that into perspective, and the pix I took probably don't do it justice, but suffice it to say, that what you'd expect you can get from the Atlantic is exactly what we got.  The kids went into hibernation mode, and we went from dining on fresh Mahi to peanut butter sammy's if we could keep those down.  A fair amount of time was spent chumming the waters, and sometime during the early am hours of Thursday, we saw a tear in our Genoa - which for a while was ok because it was in the UV protective cover and we'll have to take it to a sail loft in the islands to get repaired.  The Genny lasted a few more hours, before the winds really kicked up - steady at 35 and many gusts into the mid 40's but that brought in even higher seas! So we rolled her up and contemplated putting up the spare jib, but decided with the waves that it would be too dangerous to unfurl and drop the old sail and attach and hoist the new sail, and to wait til the winds died down.  The good news, it that it is tropical here now!  mid 80's, but because of all the wave's crashing over the boat we've had to keep the ports closed and the cabin is a bit humid, but I'm sure it still beats Chicago!

Will post more tomorrow (probably Sunday) after we get to Road Town, check in with customs, do laundry, find a sail loft, wash the salt off the boat, take showers (standing up), do the dishes, make repairs to the leaking hatch in Caroline's cabin - clean her mattress and all the bedding that has gotten soaked, repair the running rigging that snapped on the way down.  But we have the champagne on ice, & ice cream, and we are ALL looking forward to celebrating a significant passage, and do some SNORKELING!!!

Best to all & thanks for the notes!

Jane (Commander)

Marc (skipper, captain)

Caroline (Radio operator)

Grant & Noah (First mates & Fishing crew)

11/15/08 -  Village Cay, Tortola, BVI
Land Ho, Noah and Grant yelled from the bow at the first site of land.  We are here!  After 8 days at sea we would finally sleep at a dock tonight.  We were met at the Village Cay Marina on Tortola, BVI by other members of the Caribbean 1500 and by coincidence we are docked right beside Stray Kitty.  Stray Kitty is a catamaran that have 3 kids ages 8, 6, and 4 on board.   After a week of waiting in Hampton, the kids are already fast friends and have played lots of legos, teenager, and had sleepovers (sounds like Chicago).

I know that we have been updating by email while at sea, but in summary how was sailing approximately 1300 miles in open ocean?  Well, it was an experience!  Good and Bad, but one I’ll never forget.  I learned a lot about my boat,  my kids, my husband,  and myself.    First of all, the boat handled incredibly well.  As we were being beaten by 50 knot winds and 15 foot seas, Imagine was like a very graceful freight train moving through the water.  As I was trying to sleep and could hear the “Boom” of the bow come crashing onto the waves, I was so glad that we had bought one of the best blue water cruising vessels available.  My kids are resilient, I mean really resilient.   Unfortunately, they all have mom’s seasick gene and at some point during the trip each of them got sick but they kept smiling through it.  Although, it got pretty crazy out there and due to mom’s seasickness we ate a lot of PBJ’s, crackers, and dry cereal no one complained (well who would complain at Oreos for breakfast).   They are good , funny, tough kids and I’m very proud of them.  Only once did Noah say I never want to go on the boat again (which for Noah is really good) and I am positive he doesn’t remember it now and once did Caroline come to me in tears as we both laid sick in the master berth, which was the sick bed, and say Mom I just want to be home.  I held back some tears, crossed my fingers, and told her that it would be all be worth it and one day later as we play in the pool and think about our next adventure, I think that she’d agree that it is.  As for my husband,  he is a really good Captain.  He handled the waves, the storms, and crew incredibly well.  He is confident and sure of himself in a crisis but he  also didn’t mind getting advice from his first mate once in awhile.  I’m not sure where he got this 6th sense of a sailor but I’m glad that he does.  As for myself, well I’m pretty darn tough, too.   For those of you who don’t know I have always suffered from seasickness,  as a pharmacist I’ve done a pretty good job over the years of medicating myself, as long as, I planned ahead and was consistent with my meds and hydration.  Well, this week on the Atlantic was way more than my OTC meds could handle.  Next trip, I will be much better prepared with my good prescription meds.  But despite the sickness,  I made every 3:00 AM watch with only relief for one hour the whole week.  I sailed through pretty rough seas and you know what, I’m not a bad sailor either.  I’ve got more to learn but I know more than I thought that I did.  When you are all by yourself at 3:00 AM and the waves are breaking over the bow and the boat is healing at 30 degrees you have to be confident and I think that I handled it pretty well (if I do say so myself).
Would I recommend the Caribbean 1500 to other boats?   Without a doubt.  If you want a quick trip down to the BVI, skipping the thorny path and the Bahamas this is a great way to do it, especially if it is your first ocean crossing.  The people of the Caribbean 1500 are wonderful.  The week that we spent in Hampton preparing was invaluable.  They had experts in rigging, communications, safety inspections, just everything.    It was also incredibly comforting knowing that there were so many sailboats out in the open ocean going on the same course as us.  Although, we could rarely see  any other boats, at almost any moment you could pick up the VHF and hail another 1500 boat which meant that there was definitely another boat that we knew within 25 miles of us which is a little comforting in the middle of the night in the middle of the ocean.   If you want more info on the rally check it out at  This is also a good time to thank and commend, our crew member Stuart White.  Ok, I have to admit that I wondered how I was going to handle 8 days at sea with 3 little kids on a 46 ft sailboat and they are mine.  He actually volunteered to do it.  He has a great sailor, babysitter, cook, and nurse.  His help was very important to the journey and we met a new friend.  Thanks Stuart.

And the last question, would I recommend this type of an ocean crossing for a family with kids.  Well the jury is still out on that one.  I think that this crossing was tougher than most.  When we ask the veteran 1500 sailors, they say that this was one of the tougher years.  Usually, they get a couple of days of heavy weather mixed in with some calm seas.  We had a couple of days of calm seas mixed in with six days of heavy weather.  It just got a little old, long, and trying for the kids.  But as I said to Caroline, it will all be worth and I am sure that it will. 

11/18/2008 - Village Cay, Tortola, BVI
When are we going to be able to relax????  Since the minute that we pulled into Tortola, it has been nonstop work.  One thing that we did not expect is that a passage like the one we just did, does not only take a lot out of us humans but it also takes a lot out of a boat.  It was no different for Imagine.  We pulled into Tortola with a soaked V-Berth from a leak in the forward hatch.   Leaks of some sort with the waves that were hitting us are pretty common.  Unfortunately, for many boats the V-Berth is just an extra berth, for us it is Caroline’s room.  Anything that got salt water on it needed to be washed or it will mildew so that means every stuffed toy, doll, bedding, piece of clothing had to be laundered.  Wow!  That girl already has too many clothes.  We also have been repairing our freezer which stopped working again on the passage, replace the torn Genoa with the spare jib and send it in for repairs, fix the propane stove which stopped working during the passage (thank goodness no one felt like eating anyway), and clean everything that salt water touched which is really everything.  Marc has officially turned in business suits and client meetings for tools, grimy fingers, and plumber crack.  So unfortunately, not much time to relax and enjoy the BVI yet.  OK, I know that most of you reading this are in cold weather and maybe even snow and you are thinking “Yeah, I feel real sorry for them” and you are right how can we complain in paradise.
The kids have been having a blast playing with the kids of Stray Kitty especially playing in the pool.  Since Marc and I have been so swamped, we have had a little vacation from school so the kids routine has been breakfast, pool, lunch at the pool, play, pool, dinner, play.  Tough isn’t it.  But Marc and I are very anxious to get them away from the dock and into the ocean for snorkeling, kayaking, and back to school. 
We do have some big news - We won the fishing award for the Caribbean 1500.  We didn’t catch the most fish but we wrote the best report or should I say that Caroline wrote the best report.  We turned in a report which was written on pink construction paper and was perfectly written.  She worked really hard on it and did a very nice job.  They had to give it to us.  Who could resist Caroline.  The best part was the actual award night.    Caroline was standing right in the front row and the rest of the family was in the back.  When they announced that crew of Imagine won the award, Caroline went up and received the award and had her picture taken before we even made it to the front.  The funniest thing is that the boys caught all of the fish, Caroline didn’t catch any but of course we never would have won without her report. 
We have a great time with our friends with the Caribbean 1500 and everyone has been so helpful but we are definitely ready for some quiet time and a little routine.  Since we will all be in the BVI, I am sure that we will see many of our friends around the island.

11/20/2008 - Benjures Bay, Norman Island, Tortola, BVI
Finally!!!!!  We spent last night in a very quiet and beautiful anchorage on Norman Island.  We pushed away from the dock and Village Cay yesterday and headed straight to a good snorkeling area, the Caves.  The kids snorkeled for the very first time.  They did great.  We went all over the Caves and Carval Rock and saw great fish.  In Adams’ form we then motored over to a quieter bay to sleep.  Peace at last.  Today, we hung out at the anchorage and swam, went looking for treasure on the Island,  kayaked, and I actually read a few pages of a book.  It was great.  After our relaxing morning, we sailed to Trellis Bay, Beef Island, Tortola to wait for the Paczosa’s to get here on an 8:30 pm flight.  We are so excited to see them.   The kids have probably asked 20 times today, when are the Paczosa’s coming.  We’ve had a great time meeting new friends but it will great to see our old friends!   The anchorage here at Trellis Bay is very crowded with charter boats.  It has a very cute town with a small market, some small shops, and restaurants.  I would recommend it for a quick lunch and shopping break but not an overnight anchorage.  We’ll just have to party with the Paczosa’s so we don’t notice all of the noise around us.  Who are we kidding, we’ll be the noise. 

11/27/08 - Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - Happy Thanksgiving!!!! 
Well the whirlwind week with the Paczosa family is over.  What a week.  It was so great to see good friends.  The kids had a blast playing with  Taylor, Connor, and Dillan. They swam and snorkeled and explored the islands.   Marc and I enjoyed our time with Scott and Martha.  We were able to catch up, relax, have a few cocktails, and of course played euchre.  It was amazing, having 6 kids on the boat was actually pretty easy and the kids got along extremely well.  After we picked up the Paczosa’s in Tortola we cruised around the BVI and USVI for the week.  Some of the highlights of the week were:   Snorkeling in the caves.  Accidentally catching a Baracuda - thanks to Grant we were able to identify it before Marc and Scott filleted it.  Skinny Leg’s Bar in Coral Bay, St. John.  Seeing sting rays and turtles when we snorkeled.  Caroline and Taylor getting hair braids in St. Thomas.  But I think that the biggest highlight was the kids hike and treasure hunt at Benjures Bay on Norman Island.  Marc took the kids up to shore on the dinghy and they hiked by themselves around the shore to the X- Marks the Spot on the rocks.   It was great to watch them from the boat be independent, explore, and just be kids.  If any of you go to Norman Island with kids look for the X on the rocks.  There is a little treasure from the Adams and Paczosa kids waiting for a young explorer to find. 
We ended a wonderful week with a huge Thanksgiving feast on Imagine.  We had it all turkey, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie.  Although it wasn’t easy  preparing all of this food with a small propane oven and mini microwave, we made it work and it made Thanksgiving very special. 
Thanks so much to Scott and Martha for coming to see us and bring us a little bit of home.  Now we are all excited for Christmas and our next visitors Grandpa Dave and Jane’s neice Jenna in early January.  We wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  We are very thankful!

Dolphins swimming in our bow wake

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