After four years of cruising in Europe, James and Jennifer Hamilton (and their cat, Spitfire), are back home. Earlier this week, they tied up Dirona, their 2009 Nordhavn 52, in Charleston, South Carolina, after a 2,922-nm , 19-day leg from Horta in the Azores.
“It’s great to be home,” James wrote on their blog, mvdirona.com. They cleared customs, got their first Covid vaccinations two hours after landing, and picked up dozens of Amazon packages that were waiting for them.
The Hamiltons, who had already completed a circumnavigation, left Newport, Rhode Island, in May, 2017, and cruised through northern Europe for four years. They originally planned to cruise down to the Med, but the Covid pandemic changed all that.
They left Dublin, Ireland, a month ago on the first leg back home, taking eight days to travel the 1,330 nautical miles to Horta. They spent two days there, and then grabbed a weather window to head back to the U.S.
Once underway, however, they had to take a 500-nm detour south to avoid a weather system, and tropical storm Ana, close to Bermuda. They had some lumpy weather, but overall, James wrote, “We completed the final leg of our passage from Horta to Charleston in the same conditions we started, with light winds, calm seas, and great speed.”
The last week at sea, he wrote, “was enjoyable and uneventful from a weather perspective.” The only problem as a mechanical one, a broken accessory drive belt on the main engine, a 266-hp John Deere. (A week out of Horta, they realized they had put 12,000 hours on that engine.) They stopped the main engine and ran on their get-home engine, a 40-hp Lugger, while James fixed the drive belt.
Vessel traffic picked up as they got closer to the U.S., and they heard their first broadcast from the U.S. Coast Guard in four years when they were still 400 miles out from Charleston.
The 2,922-nm passage from Horta was the third longest passage the Hamiltons had on Dirona, compared to a 3,689-nm trip from St. Helena to Barbados, and 3,023 nm from Australia to Mauritius. On the last leg, Dirona consumed 2,519 gallons of fuel; there were 178 gallons left when the boat reached Charleston. Their average speed from Horta to Charleston was 6.35 knots. Read more: