July 22nd

Back on the Homefront – Last Blog with Photos!

Posted by // July 22, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Enjoy the final post from Leg 2, and scroll to the bottom for a selection of photos.


‘That was the worst day of boating I’ve had in 40 years!’

So said my dad after Monday’s motorboat ride up the Delaware Bay and back into familiar waters. He wasn’t kidding.

The Delaware is notorious for it’s biting black flies. We knew this of course, and have indeed experienced it before. In fact, that last trip up the Bay was our fourth on Isbjörn this year alone! But this time was really something.

When we finally rounded Cape May after battling headwinds for a few days and tacking down the New Jersey beaches, the wind shut down, as it often does, and we fired up the diesel.…

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July 19th

The Long Way to Cape May

Posted by // July 19, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


We expected a southwesterly wind at some point, but yesterday was a bit silly. Matt & I were discussing putting a reef in just for practice – at the time it was blowing a gentle ten knots, so was hardly necessary. We went through the motions, Rachel & Matt going forward to tie in the tack line, Mia and myself handling the main sheet and halyard, Dad driving. By the time we re-sheeted the newly reefed main, the wind had dropped even further.

By then we were already close-hauled. The fact we had 48 hours of downwind or reaching conditions was a minor miracle for summertime in these parts.…

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July 18th

Three Days Offshore

Posted by // July 18, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

‘Who knows when well get another morning like this?’

Matt’s been at the helm now going on four hours. We started our watch at 0300, and it was supposed to end at 0600. That transition from night to day is the most magical time offshore, and I think he wants to prolong that as long as possible. Or maybe it’s just that he drank a cup of coffee and is all jazzed up (he’s normally. to a coffee guy). At any rate, he’s extended his watch voluntarily. My dad, who’s up next, remains asleep in the vee berth, snoring.

Our timing was perfect.…

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July 17th

Isbjörn’s Return Passage to Annapolis

Posted by // July 17, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Sleep Deprived

For the first time since we departed Lunenburg, the entire crew is awake and outside. Rachel & Matt have been sleeping the sleep of the seasick, suffering for the first 24 hours, but toughing it out and doing their watches anyway. Both are wearing Scopalamine patches, and both have been totally knocked out in their bunks when not on watch. Matt even went for a nap on the foredeck this morning, sacked out in his full gear and clipped to the mast. He slept for 90 minutes up there, soaking up the sunshine!

The weather has been different in this neck of the woods than on our way north.…

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July 15th

Sailing to a Nearly Frozen World

Posted by // July 15, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Who cares about Greenland and why is the Ocean Research Project team going there? About 90% of the island is covered in ice and the people and animals who live there rely on it staying froze. They live along the rocky fringes separated around the island by partially frozen fjords and towering dynamic marine terminating glaciers where their means of survival, traveling and hunting by dogsled is threatened. When the ice sheet eventually melts at least 21 feet of sea level rise will occur globally, but when? Our observations will help scientists from NASA to determine the stability of the ice sheet and predict when the water will be displaced.…

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July 15th

The Push to Greenland

Posted by // July 15, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

When we left the Deleware Bay I was planning on taking a more offshore route to Newfoundland, similar to the route I took in 2011 when sailing around the Americas.  Poseidon had a different plan in mind and so we had to adapt.  Certainly never thought we’d be stopping in Sydney Nova Scotia, heck I’d never even heard of Sydney Nova Scotia a week ago.

The last week had been mostly light winds and heavy fog.  Our engine seems to be running well, I hope it stays that way.  With the exception of last summer’s Trans-Pacific every major sailing expedition I’ve completed I have done so with a broken engine.…

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July 15th

Day of Departure from Lunenburg

Posted by // July 15, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


My dad decided to join us at the last minute. As I write, I’m back, yet again, at the Sweet Indulgence Cafe in Lunenburg, waiting for him to arrive by taxi from the airport. Isbjörn is on anchor in the harbor, with Mia and Rachel aboard just chilling out. Matt is somewhere in town doing a last-minute wander.

Because we’ve been here since Friday night, it feels like were behind schedule in leaving, but in reality, the goal was always to leave by noon on July 15 (today), so it’s only a few hours. The boat is ready to go – we filled up on water and re-provisioned yesterday – so once we collect my dad, we’ll weigh anchor and be on our way.…

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July 14th

Tropical Storm Claudette off Nova Scotia

Posted by // July 14, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

We’re just hours from departing Lunenburg now for the return passage to Annapolis, and Tropical Storm Claudette is making me re-think our departure plans. Matt, one of our crew, went to the Fisheries Museum this morning, and it’s all the tour guide was talking about. I had seen a small depression on the GRIBS yesterday, but apparently sometime this morning it officially got a name.

Andy & John Harries in Lunenburg.

Andy & John Harries in Lunenburg.

I met Derek Hatfield on the dock this morning, the only Canadian to complete the Vendee Globe aboard his ‘Spirit of Canada’ Open 60. Mia and I first met him in Toronto, so it was nice to chat with him again here in ‘real life’ so to speak.…

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July 13th

Too soon to leave Lunenburg!

Posted by // July 13, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

I’m still sitting in the Sweet Indulgence Cafe in Lunenburg, and just met Rachel, one of our new crew for the next leg. Feels weird to have such a quick turnaround, but that’s the nature of it I guess!

We got diesel this morning, just downloaded the weather, did laundry and still need to go grocery shopping, then we’re off again on Wednesday! Thanks to Rachel bringing along the optimizer for the sat phone, we will have at-sea email and blogs, so we’ll be posting in real-time, rather than that 5,800 word brain dump I just got finished now about the leg up here.…

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July 13th

Of course one of the greatest things about ocean voyaging is exploring your landfall! My dad and I used to wonder, especially after particularly challenging passages, if we did it for the sailing, or did it for the payoff at the other end. I’m still not sure there is a clear answer to that. It’s obvious a bit of both, and the challenge of getting to that far-off land under your own effort over such a comparatively long time is what makes it so cool, and so unique in our modern time. The average air traveler will never have any concept of how large the world actually is.…

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