We left Seattle on Monday August 26th and arrived safely in Alabama on Monday October 7th. We sailed about 5800 nautical miles. We actually made it one day earlier than scheduled and the trip cost less than budgeted for. Praise the Lord for His protection and provision.
Our longest leg was about 1700 miles non-stop, and we did a 1450 mile leg, and a 1000 mile one. We traveled at an economical speed, and I think we have about a 3800 mile range based on the fuel consumption I saw.
We stopped in Coos Bay, Oregon, San Diego, California, Ensenada, Mexico, Puerto Chiapas, Mexico, and Balboa, Panama. We went from sea water temperatures of 65 degrees in Seattle to 91 degrees around Panama. We saw whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, fish, flying fish, sharks and lots of birds...as well as amazing sun rises, sun sets, and beautiful star filled skies...God's creation is amazing.
Along the way, we encountered seas from flat calm to 8 foot swells...most of the time, we were in about 2-3 foot swells. The boat is a bit "rolly" meaning it will roll quite a bit. We did encounter 35 degree rolls more times than I care to remember but usually we would do between 10 to 15 degree rolls. I say this to point out the boat handled the seas well. It proved itself over and over.
We had a few issues but the amazingly talented crew that God called together worked collectively and overcame each issue. We corrected things, developed daily and weekly routines to keep things running smoothly, and by the end the boat was running extremely well. Well enough that if needed, we could leave for the mission field immediately.
This was the ultimate "shakedown" cruise that proved how rugged, well built, and robust Sea Hope is.
We did figure out some things that need to be added or improved upon. Although very reliable and they run well, the Detroit Diesel diesel generators are extremely noisy. Inside the boat it is just reasonably quiet, but on the exterior it is a different story. If we were to go to the mission field and there was no shore power available so that we had to run these, we would really bother people around us. We need to purchase a critically silenced auxiliary diesel generator. I consider this a mission essential item, and it provides another back up source of power at sea...there is no worse feeling than to be at sea without electrical power. Another thing the boat needs is an autopilot. We had two people in the pilot house at all times so that one could steer and the other oversee navigation and contact management. With an autopilot we could reduce to one in the pilot house. This is critical if we are to get to a crew size of 6-8. An autopilot also helps save fuel by steering straighter than a human. I am praying for God's provision for these two items. Please help me pray. There are other thngs we need (aren't there always needed thngs with a boat?) but these two items are the most critical.
Its good to be home for a few days. This was an experience not to be forgotten. I am thankful that God protected us each mile of the way. I am thankful how well the boat ran. I am thankful no one was injured. And I am truly thankful for an amazing crew. They came from all over the US. They all wanted to serve Lord. Each contributed in his/her own way. This was a difficult and challenging six week adventure, and I was truly blessed to share it with some really amazing people.