Isbjorn’s Caribbean 1500 Crew, from Left: Tom Harkin, Lisa Jodensvi, Capt. Paul Exner, Rik van der Vaart (top), Walter Rush & Dennis Schell.
Good landfall and homecoming to all:
It was a pleasure to sail with each and every one of you aboard Isbjorn during our Atlantic Ocean passage. As a team, we pulled together when required, cared for each other, encouraged each other, and to the best of our individual abilities sailed selflessly as one aboard the sailing yacht Isbjorn.
As sailors, we chide ourselves if we believe we go to sea to satisfy a personal itch or goal … for all that truly matters is the yacht that took us there.… Read More
We say this until we’re red in the face, but a passage south from the US East Coast can be brutal. The weather challenges in the fall – with late season hurricanes and early season winter gales – are mighty, and choosing a weather window is a mix of both skill and luck. You’ve got to know what to look for to make a break for it crossing the Gulf Stream. Beyond three or four days though, the forecast accuracy breaks down and it’s somewhat of a crapshoot.
This year was an interesting one weather wise, and highlights a few lessons that any cruiser can take away – some new, some as old as the hills.… Read More
Isbjörn and crew made landfall yesterday morning, sighting land off Anegada and Paul Exner and crew coaxed the most out of the boat in the light airs of the past few days.
“Paul is the boat whisperer,” joked Rik & Walter, two of Isbjörn’s crew members. “Every time we’d think we had her dialed in, and Paul would pop his head up and start pulling the sheets and Isbjörn would speed up by half a knot! It was incredible!”
At the moment, aside from the Gunboat 60 ‘Moonwave’, who sailed the entire route without motoring at all, Isbjörn has the fewest engine hours of the fleet, recording only 12 for the duration of the 8-day and some-odd hour passage.… Read More
Note: Lee & Rachel Cumberland quit their jobs, sold their house and cars and moved aboard Satori, their Tayana 37. Mia and I spent nearly a month rafted up with them in Back Creek, Annapolis, as we both finished the refits to our respective boats. They’ve just made landfall in Marsh Harbor as part of the ARC Bahamas fleet, and are embarking on an indefinite cruise to wherever the wind may take them. They are the youngest couple in the rally fleet this year by far – in their late 20’s, Lee & Rachel just got married this fall. Here they answer some common questions from friends and family back home about their plans.… Read More
“Popped the chute” at 1400hrs and have been blazin’ ever since! All hands on deck for the set in 15 knots of breeze … managed a full hoist to the top of the rig, bashed knuckles and all.
It’s now post-sunset and were broad reaching under spinnaker in amazing conditions that rarely present themselves offshore for a such a lengthy period. For the past six hours the boat speed has not dropped below 7.5 knots, induced by 10-13kts of apparent windspeed! Everyone is taking a stretch at the helm and learning the nuances of spinnaker-sailing a thorough-bred offshore machine. I managed one stretch of helming that took Isbjorn to a sustained groove of 8.5 knots lasting several minutes.… Read More
Isbjorn is the yellow icon there in the middle of the fleet, highlighted. Taken from carib1500.com.
There is nothing like yesterday’s sail repair to authenticate this experience as a real introduction to ocean sailing. It was blowing 25+ knots but at least the sun had not yet set when Papa Bear (as at least one cruising woman calls him) noticed the middle batten was shaking out of the mainsail. It is a full batten so it was not imminently at risk, but the process of lowering the sail could shake it out to be lost forever. Our captain, Paul Exner, decided I should drop down to a broad reach while everyone else coaxed the sail down gently.… Read More
Isbjorn is firmly in the Gulf Stream now, making good headway in the middle of the fleet. While I’ve not heard directly from the boat, I’m guessing (and hoping) that Paul and the crew were patient enough during last night’s calm spell to wait out the wind and not turn the motor on. Yesterday they were at the front of the pack that started early Wednesday morning, but today they’ve drifted back towards the middle, probably because everyone else motored through the calm.
I wrote yesterday that Tom cut his finger and needed stitches. I got the full story from my dad, who called yesterday afternoon while they were still in cell phone range off the Virginia Beach:
… Read More
Not ten minutes out of the marina Tom asked if he could take down the number banner.
On Sunday morning, the disturbance in the tropics that we here at the rally office and WRI, our weather forecasters, were monitoring, officially became Tropical Storm Kate, and suddenly our decision to delay was vindicated. Despite the cabin fever that was about to set in, the fleet was supportive.
So for two days, we waited. Mostly in the rain. Quite serendipitously however, we managed to pull together a pretty good delayed-departure program, including extra seminars, a fantastically fun trivia night, and a visit to the USCG’s District 5 Command Center.
On Saturday morning (the delay was made official Friday evening) Mia, Jake, Lyall and myself took the starting line with 8 other rally participants at the first-ever USCG 5k run in town.… Read More
Andy’s Note: On Thursday, November 5, the Caribbean 1500 program will feature a private screening of ‘Around the World with Jean du Sud’ at the Commodore Theatre in Portsmouth, by sailor, filmmaker and inventor Yves Gelinas. Yves is a guest of the rally this year, preparing to sail his famous Alberg 30 south to Martinique, and will be on-hand tomorrow to introduce his film and do a live Q&A with the rally participants afterwards, a rare and truly exciting opportunity. The article below was written by Yves and republished with permission from his website, capehorn.com.
Listen to Andy’s podcast with Yves by clicking here.… Read More
A fall passage to the Caribbean from the northeast US is undoubtedly one of the more challenging offshore undertakings, both once at sea and indeed during the preparation stages. Here at the Caribbean 1500 headquarters in Portsmouth, VA, we write about the weather every year – about how difficult it is to find a weather window this time of year, as we’re squeezed between the winter gale season and the end of tropical cyclone season.
And of course, the weather is all the talk on the docks. Skippers and crews can’t help themselves but talk about it as nervous energy (no matter how many times you’ve made this passage) builds up about the things we cannot control.… Read More