You Can’t Get There from Here

4 Mar

March 2, 2019/Day 149

Noon Position: 42 29S  132 03W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SExS 4

Wind(t/tws): ExN 11

Miles since departure: 20,470

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


Wind veered into the east slowly but steadily overnight. By 6am, our heading was ESE and by noon, SExS, this though we were close hauled. Worse, on that course, we were bound for a rendezvous with 48S.

Getting “trapped” too far south is a danger-to-be-avoided that was carved into my skull after the Indian Ocean knockdown last year. There I’d let headwinds push us all the way to 50S before tacking around. This meant Mo ...

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ISBJORN Trans-Atlantic p. 8 // A Pre-Dawn Cry to Celebrate Mom’s Birthday

3 Mar

Natural beauty at sea always makes me think of my mom. This rainbow came to us just before landfall in Antigua and was even more beautiful in person.

Natural beauty at sea always makes me think of my mom. This rainbow came to us just before landfall in Antigua and was even more beautiful in person.

My mom would have turned 69 today had she lived. Today marks the second birthday I’ve celebrated at sea on this trans-Atlantic passage – mine, with Mia’s birthday balls dessert on Jan 25; and mom’s this morning, where on my 0200-0400 early morning watch I shared a quiet cry and contemplated the sea and the stars for two hours by myself in the cockpit, gazing out at the vastness and just ...

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A Three-Reef Kind of Day

3 Mar

March 1 , 2019/Day 148

Noon Position: 46 49S  134 51W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExS 7

Wind(t/tws): NxW 20

Miles since departure: 20,349

Avg. Miles/Day: 138


Rhumb line course to Cape Horn, 2,574 nm. About the distance from San Francisco to Hawaii, a route I’ve run several times. Such a comparison makes the Horn seem close. But those “to Hawaii” miles and our “to the Horn” miles are very different: the Horn is still quite far off and the intervening weather and requisite southing, a big challenge.

But it’s March, MARCH! I remember distinctly doing the around-the-bottom math just after Mo’s ...

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Day Ninety in the Roaring Forties

2 Mar

February 28, 2019/Day 147

Noon Position: 46 44S  138 22W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): Up/Down and Sideways…

Wind(t/tws): SW to NW 9

Miles since departure: 20,205

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


Day ninety in the Roaring Forties demonstrates that the forties do not roar every day.

Overnight we were becalmed. When the WHAP WHAP of the main is continual and invading one’s dream, then it’s time to put the dear out of her misery. I lowered sail at 3am. We drifted until dawn.

The variability of wind direction this morning has been stunning. I set the poles early, when the wind suggested it ...

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Full duplex wireless headsets, truly marriage savers

1 Mar


I’ve often heard wireless headsets referred to as marriage savers but before cruising full time I didn’t realize the accuracy of the nickname.  Now after several years of regular use, I wouldn’t want to cruise without them.  But there are multiple brands and types of headsets, and two we’ve used extensively each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Before getting into the details, I’ll explain when the headsets became important to us. Early on, it was fairly easy to tie up at our home slip in Chicago with dock lines preset and a well-understood plan, and unfamiliar docks were ...

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RORC 600 #2 – Cheeseburgers and Making Lemonade

28 Feb

When I left off in the last post, the team and I on Isbjorn were preparing for the start of the RORC 600 offshore race in the Eastern Caribbean.

On the Saturday before the start of the race, the crew arrived and we went out for the first of two days of practicing. In Antigua, and really all the Eastern Caribbean Islands, the ocean is only a 10-minute boat ride away, unlike my native Chesapeake Bay where it’s 100 miles or more to find the open ocean. This was the first time I had been in the ocean since our ...

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ISBJORN Trans-Atlantic p. 7 // 50 Knots on Gilligan’s Island

28 Feb

19.01.31_Big Wave Blasting.jpg

Oh the irony. I titled my last blog ‘Turn the Wind On,’ and frankly should have known better. As I write on the morning of January 31 it’s blowing dogs off chains from the NNE and ISBJORN is careening off wave tops, surfing her way west at 11 knots in the big ones. Never complain when you’re going in the right direction, and fast.

In an age when I can request a sophisticated weather model for five days into the future over a satellite phone, literally in the middle of the ocean, it’s easy to take for granted that sometimes ...

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Night Maneuvers

27 Feb

February 25, 2019/Day 144

Noon Position: 46 36S 147 00W

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

Wind(t/tws): WNW 18

Miles since departure: 19,845

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

Monte: (at the helm, yelling over the roar of wind in the rigging) Senior, what good is this, your forecast, if it will not foretell the weather?

Randall: (at the mast struggling to douse the main. It’s raining hard, too.) I dunno, Monte. Kinda busy at moment. Can you ease her into the wind a bit?

Monte: In my day, we look over the rail, and if the wind is blowing up a gale, we call it ...

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FULL WONKA! // Free Crew Space with the Golden Postcard!

27 Feb

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FULL WONKA! Surprise surprise…that little extra Sailing SV Delos something we teased in the 80 NORTH coffee table book is revealed today! Since we can’t ship 250 books around the world to sign them all, instead we printed 250, 6×9” postcards – using 4 different photos – that have been to James in the UK, Kiril in Vietnam and Antigua for Brian, Karin, Brady, Alex, Mia & Andy to sign!

19.02.27_Card Signing Andy Mia_Small.jpg

One card will be inserted into each book before shipping! AND best yet – ONE single postcard was signed in GOLD INK, to be inserted into book no. 80 of ...

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ISBJORN Trans-Atlantic p. 6 // Turn the Wind On!

27 Feb

19.02.05_Pig Rooster Tat.jpeg

Note: The title – and gist – of this post will come back to haunt me in the next installment…

So much for the January Trades. Shortly after my birthday balls celebration the weather pattern took a turn for the weird. A not-unheard of cutoff low spun up at the tail end of a strong cold front much farther north and began meandering around to our north, just west of the Canary Islands, disrupting the classic easterly tradewind pattern we were so very much enjoying prior. By sunrise on the 25th, the wind had started veering into the SE, then ...

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