Why Halifax?

1 Jun

May 30, 2019/Day 237

Noon Position: 42 50N  63 19W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNW 5

Wind(t/tws): NNE 10

Miles since departure: 31,224

Avg. Miles/Day: 132


Overnight our west winds slowly veered into the north and more, pushing us due east and way off course. I came on deck at 3am to assess–should we tack around?–and found that the sea appeared to be boiling with fog. Fog came off the watertop in billows, and in the glow of running lights, cast an eery spell over the night. I couldn’t see more than one boat length.

Icebergs to windward, an immediate thought, though they are not due here at all. Switch on the radar. Nothing. But in the morning the answer was clear. We’d come into soundings overnight–in over the continental shelf. The water was now green and cold. At noon I recorded a 24-hour water temperature drop of 24 degrees due to the upwelling, from 67 down to 43 degrees in a matter of miles.

Close hauled into a stiff chop until late afternoon. Speed: disappointing. I’m back into layers and a fleece hat.

As you can tell from the tracker, Mo and I are beelining towards Halifax, not St John’s.


Answer: it’s closer. Over the last week Mo has lost her wind vane and primary headsail (my two best friends); winds have been strongly contrary or light since I can recall, we’re low on fuel, and the east coast of Newfoundland is experiencing a record iceberg year.

This last item caught me off guard. I knew from the pilot charts to expect icebergs along my route, but if you look at the attached chart, you will see that the east coast is floating anywhere from 20 – 70 icebergs per square degree. Imagine icebergs, gale force northerly, fog–a very likely scenario. I need a plan for that. (Thank you to Tony and Connie for the chart.)

So I’m diverting to Halifax for a pit stop. A few days to a week.

As fortune would have it, Halifax (Lunenberg) has sailmakers and St John’s does not.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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