The thing is, it’s not even windy! Outside it’s maybe blowing 18-22 knots true, ICEBEAR is schralpin’ her way to windward at 7-8 knots. But jeeze it’s a rough ride, especially after 4 days of this. We used to joke that ISBJORN was such a good upwind boat that you actually paid for that windward progress in exhaustion. The Swan 59 even more so – she heels maybe slightly less, and you can actually ‘rest’ in the galley by propping your hips against either side.
On deck she’s a bucking bronco. I was getting frustrated yesterday afternoon for ... Read More
In 2015 I enjoyed testing, and then enthusing about, the first electronic distress signal that could effectively and legally replace the flares required on most of our boats by the US Coast Guard. Hot flares always struck me as a dangerous way to seek help, they are distinctly unpopular with the folks who protect our environment, and their short lifespan is a boating hassle.
Now the original SOS C-1001 “LED flare” I wrote about — designed and engineered by Sirius Signal, and currently distributed by Weems & Plath — has competition from Orion Safety, the company that ... Read More
Four AM. The beat goes on. That’s so corny but I can’t get it out of my head. And it’s not untrue. ICEBEAR is cracking to windward in a steady northeasterly that doesn’t move much for the next four days. We’re still 465 miles from Bermuda, and according to our most recent weather, every inch of it will be upwind. Good we’ve got a weatherly boat.
I haven’t written anything since Puerto Rico. So much has happened but god it’s been so damn hot! The week in Key West was a sufferfest. Simon & I spent the better part of ... Read More
When the 12 Metre World Championship takes place in Newport over July 8-13, it will celebrate one of the greatest classes in world sailing history. The 112-year-old International 12 Metre Class encompasses a living history of racing yacht design by the world’s foremost naval architects who pushed their designs to the very limits of innovation. The resulting boats represented the pinnacle of yacht development from 1907-1987 for the highest levels of international sailing competition.
“It’s going to make quite a statement to the world when 21 of these historic 12 Metre – the largest gathering ever in the U.S. – ... Read More
#264. Vendee Globe sailor Bruce Schwab returns to the podcast with guest hosts (and now Isbjorn skippers!) Ben Doerr & Simon Borjeson, to discuss the power management refit options for ICEBEAR, our Swan 59. Bruce runs Ocean Planet Energy in Maine and specializes in power generation, and we discussed diesel versus electric propulsion, lithium batteries, gensets, AC/DC power and lots more.
“Here are some photos of Improbable at many different stages of life.
Me working on the rudder in the early 80’s;
Dad, my brothers and me when he bought the boat in 1976;
The original config with ... Read More
In a large and Hollywood-like event the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race recently announced crew placements for each boat and also who skipper each yacht. It’s one of the most tense parts of the experience when you finally find out who your bunkmates will be for the following year, and who will lead your team.
This time the are the most global ever, made up of 44 nationalities, with ages ranging from 18-76 with professions such as hairdresser, roofer, chiropractor and CEO.
Almost 700 adventurers will be taking part in the British run Clipper 2019-20 Race which will ... Read More
May 11, 2019/Day 218
Noon Position: 20 34N 56 33W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): NW 4
Miles since departure: 29,412
Avg. Miles/Day: 135
Wind picked up in the afternoon and stayed moderate (10 knots) all night. Died back with the day.
I think the rest of this leap to St. John’s will be like this: variable. Variable to weak winds for the next 15 degrees of latitude and variable to strong the rest of the way.
A day of animals.
One of the Skua’s returned, proving that the raviolis I fed it and a partner the other day were at least ... Read More
May 10, 2019/Day 217
Noon Position: 19 28N 54 27w
Miles since departure: 29,277
Avg. Miles/Day: 135
Most of the night we made between two and three knots. The sky started clear, but by morning, Mo was walled-in by heavy, black squalls. Nothing moved for several hours. Only when windlessness holds one prisoner in this way does such an intensity of quiet feel oppressive.
Then, just after noon, the squalls melted away and a cool, north wind filled in. On that we now make six knots on an empty sea under an empty sky.
I chose a challenging ... Read More
In this world there are people who like adventure and then there are adventurers; professional adventurers. Russian born Fedor Konyukhov is the latter. This man has more courage than just about anyone on the planet. Either that or he is downright stupid. Here is a short list of his accomplishments. He is the first and only person in the ... Read More
May 7, 2019/Day 214
Noon Position: 18 21N 48 95W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): NWxW 6
Miles since departure: 28,985
Avg. Miles/Day: 135
Leg North Miles: 6,030
Not quite another 160 mile day; not quite.
Streak ended but still a solid run. In the last eight days, Mo and I have made good over 1,300 miles for an average of 163 every 24 hours. That may rival any week in the south.
We are nearing the end of the strong trades, however.
I’ve just come below from lowering the main for the first time since the doldrums. Now we are before the ... Read More