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Pat Broderick’s Update of Life Aboard the ‘Stad Amsterdam’

*This story has been updated.

Time flies when you’re on a sailboat. Recently we shared an update from Pat Broderick aboard the Stad Amsterdam. He spoke of the departure from the dock in Hawaii as he settled into his 28-day voyage to Japan. Now, he’s updating us on Day 17. “The most exciting event was sighting and passing a steel drum floating high in the water, our first evidence of civilization since bidding Honolulu aloha. Shortly after, clouds began to appear on the horizon ahead — dark, black clouds.”

“The ship continued motoring at seven knots toward the inky horizon as blue sky overhead turned gray. Sunshades were stowed, fore and aft staysails struck, and bare yards braced. Safety lines were rigged from bow to stern and I sorted out my foul weather gear,” Pat writes.

“By mid-afternoon we were expecting high-teen wind on a beam reach. Aloft sails were set and that magic moment where the engine stopped and wind took over happened. My 1600 watch took over and we competed setting and trimming sails. The crew did show mercy and used the electric motor to power the windlass hoisting the yards.

“At the end of my four-hour watch we had made 44 miles, more distance than our last full day’s sailing! After dinner I climbed into my bunk, read for awhile then fell into a restless sleep punctuated by being tossed around as the ship hit a swell. This morning the winds moderated some, but we’re still making nine knots or so. And still rocking and rolling. We’re making good time aimed directly toward Tokyo.”

Two days ago the Stad Amsterdam guests and crew celebrated their halfway mark. Lemonade, mai tais, cookies, cold brews, and sodas were passed around for a toast, followed by what sounds like a shipboard version of bocce. “[A] small white marker was tossed and then crew and guests took turns tossing soft balls to see who comes closest. Lots of wild pitches since the ship was rolling every which way.”

“Modesty prevents me from reporting who won my group’s toss,” Pat adds. (Erm, we’re guessing it was you?)

At this time the ship had been motoring at around seven knots due to lack of wind. The previous day, there had been a *fire drill.

“Yesterday, the emergency bell went off,” Pat writes, “and the captain’s voice filled my cabin, ‘Fire, fire, fire. Stand clear of the fire doors.’ This was followed by loud bangs as the fire doors that divide the passageway outside the cabin closed.

“I hustled up [to] the main deck, was handed a lifejacket, and went to the starboard lifeboat station.The crew were hauling fire hoses out, our names were being called and checked off, and the ship’s doctor was treating a crew member who had inhaled too much ‘smoke.’ After more drill, the emergency was declared over. I took the lifejacket off and shipboard life returned to normal. We’ve also had two lifeboat drills without the ‘fire.’” 

Pat says that in addition to the fire doors, the ship has watertight doors. “We haven’t exercised them yet.” Two lifeboats hold 35 souls each. “We’re told that if we need to hoist them out and get into them we’ll be issued a mandatory seasick tablet. I think I don’t want that to happen. With two weeks to go I think I”ll have more drills to come. I think I’m in good hands,” Pat concludes.

There are of course more stories to tell about all the days in between — more than we have space for here. But we do have a couple of photos to share.

A beautiful sunset from day 12.
© 2024 Pat Broderick
“Yes, there are sextants and sight-reduction tables aboard. But celestial navigation isn’t one of the main pastimes. Only Charles from Ohio is dedicated, taking multiple sights each day and spending several hours at his computer plotting the results. After the first few days he’s the only person with a sextant on deck for a noon sun shot and at dusk for Mercury or Venus or a first star or the moon.”
© 2024 Pat Broderick

“This sign appeared in the lobby. So Adrian [cabin mate?] and I were ‘present’ when the cabin crew showed up with fresh sheets, duvet covers, pillow cases. They tossed the clean bedding to us and we proceeded to ‘make up’ fresh. There is only a bottom sheet (the duvet is the blanket) and one pillow. Actually very comfortable. As we lifted my mattress to pull off the form-fitting sheet we found three small packages stashed there. Some cookies from a previous guest. A complete surprise to the cabin staff. Then, under Adrian’s bunk, a pair of flimsy black underthings and his missing sock. He professed to have no knowledge of the thong. But claimed the sock. Hmmmm!”
© 2024 Pat Broderick
We hope you’re enjoying following along on Pat’s voyage. We’ll bring you more updates soon.

* We previously stated that the fire pat wrote about was a real fire. We were incorrect and apologize for leading readers astray. While initially Pat’s account sounded like it was a real fire, further scrutiny indicated otherwise. – Ed. 


  1. Paul Marbury 2 months ago

    A note about a real fire, but no mention of what it was?

    • Monica Grant 2 months ago

      Hi Paul, thanks for bringing that to our attention. It was our mistake. While initially Pat’s account sounded like it was a real fire, further scrutiny indicated otherwise. We apologize for misleading our readers.

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