Andy & Mia

#isbjornsailing Passage Calendar Changes

28 May

Greetings friends and Happy Memorial Day weekend! Mia and I are aboard Isbjorn in downtown Annapolis, tied up to City Dock after a 6-day passage north from Ft. Lauderdale. Not a bad place to spent a weekend! On Tuesday Isbjorn gets hauled out at Eastport Yacht Center where my friends Micah & Marty will be doing some fiberglass work in the bow at Osmotech. Mia and I are off for a quick trip to Sweden to hand over Arcturus to her new owner. And on July 1, we head north!

Schedule Changes

Alas, Isbjorn will not be crossing the Atlantic this summer as was planned.…

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Isbjorn Offshore: Hove-to!

24 May

Another beautiful, sun-drenched morning! And yet another day of headwinds! So much for leaving on a Friday…Etienne, this is your fault ;) All kidding aside, we’ve had a pretty good trip thus far, it’s just been painfully upwind!

Last evening was sort of the culmination of our frustration and exhaustion. We started the morning off up with full sail, close-reaching in about 12-15 knots of breeze and right on course. But in what’s been the story of this passage, the wind just kept veering and heading us, and building all the while. By 1800 it was blowing 25-30 again from the NNW.

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Isbjorn Offshore: Hove-to!

23 May

In case you’re wondering why our speed has slowed, we are hove-to for the night to let the crew get some rest. 25 knots NNW for 2 days now & we’re tired! All is well & Isbjorn is riding the waves like a happy little duck! 


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Isbjorn Offshore: It’s tough out here!

23 May

Don’t let anybody tell you ocean sailing is easy. Of all the endurance sports I’ve dabbled in over the years – marathon running, triathlon, cross-country skiing, cycling – offshore sailing is easily the most grueling. In those other sports, no matter how knackered you are in the moment, you know you’ll be in your bed that night. It’s a matter of hours. Not out here. You might get to retreat to your bunk, but at most, it’s a six-hour respite until you’re on deck and at it again.

And all the while you’ve got to live in this constant state of motion, and at sometimes crazy angles of heel.

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Isbjorn Offshore: Weather from WRI, going direct to Annapolis!

22 May

Since I emailed in this morning, we’ve received the WX update I was looking for from WRI, and it basically confirmed my analysis of the GRIB forecast I got earlier. They sent a fantastically detailed outlook, which I won’t include here, but their conclusion was basically what I’d hoped for earlier. Just makes me feel better having a real weather professional backing us up! WRI said:

“Conclusion: To maximize a Gulfstream assist, recommend RL – 31-33N/79-00W, RL –
33-58N/75-23W, direct- Cape Hatteras, direct – Annapolis. This will also keep
you in close reach-close hauled winds into this evening, becoming more
beam-broad reaching tomorrow morning.

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Isbjorn Offshore: Sneaking behind the cold front

22 May

‘Variable’ is the word for the weather on this passage north from Florida to Annapolis. Since departing Friday morning, we’ve had it all – light downwind sailing, light close reaching, heavy downwind sailing and currently even heavier close reaching, which later today is going to become a dead beat to windward.

We’ve been angling towards Charleston instead of taking a more direct route towards Hatteras to give the weather a chance to progress. A big low is just squatting east of the infamous cape, and before we can decide which route to take, the weather itself needs to make up its mind.

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Isbjorn Offshore: Ft. Lauderdale-Annapolis Passage, T-Minus 12 hours.

19 May

Our well-used passage chart for the route home. There's about six different passages on this one chart from over the years!

Our well-used passage chart for the route home. There’s about six different passages on this one chart from over the years!

The full crew is here and we’re preparing for our chart briefing dockside tonight in the canal by Pam Wall’s house, just off the 17th Street Causeway in Ft. Lauderdale. The weather looks marginal and constantly changing, so we’re keeping a close eye on that (and keeping options open for a potential detour to Savannah or Charleston).

Our crew for our fifth passage of 2016 is five – Daniel & Isabelle from Toronto; Bruce from Minneapolis; Chris from New Jersey; and Wayne from Ohio.…

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Hanging with Pam Wall & Etienne Giroire!

17 May

I’m writing from Pam Wall’s kitchen table in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Mia, Liz and I flew down on Sunday to get ready for our next trip north on Isbjorn, and Pam has very kindly been hosting us ever since. Another friend of ours, expat Frenchman Thierry Humeau, is here as well, helping out with some as-yet-unannounced film project we are working on. Stay tuned for that one, and sign up for our newsletter to hear about it first!

Yesterday we all went sailing with former Whitbread crewmember and OSTAR race winner Etienne Giroire (of his namesake ATN Inc. company that makes the ubiquitous spinnaker sleeves) aboard his classic Dick Newick trimaran Tricia.…

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Sailing to Cuba & Exploring Havana

5 May

It’s been almost two weeks since we were in Havana. As I write, I’m on the plane home from Key West, where we initially made our landfall back in the continental USA for the first time since November, and where we stayed for my sister’s wedding and associated festivities for the past week. I finally have time to reflect on our passage to ‘forbidden’ Cuba.

Scroll all the way to the bottom for the full gallery of photos.

Last I wrote about the passage we were becalmed along the northern coast of the island – Cuba is huge, over 600 miles from east to west – taking one last swim and shower before landfall.…

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Broadreach – Coolest Sailing Job Ever – Is Hiring Skippers & Mates!

21 Apr

Hey everybody! I just got word from my friends at Broadreach that they are hiring skippers and mates for the upcoming summer season, sailing out of St. Martin. Mia and I did four seasons with them, and it was the best experience I’ve ever had as a captain. I loved every minute of it. The season starts June 1 and goes through August. Full details, right from Broadreach, follow.


Job Description: 

Sailing Instructors/Skippers needed in the Caribbean for summer live-aboard diving, sailing and marine science programs for teens and college students. Broadreach is an IYT (International Yacht Training) partner school and offers courses from “Introduction to Yachting” to “Flotilla Skipper”.…

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