A Leap North

17 May

May 15, 2019/Day 222

Noon Position: 26 49N  59 39W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NxE 7 – 8

Miles since departure: 29,836

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

Wind built overnight, and by morning Mo was in full froth, churning out seven and eight knots under twin headsails. Heavy, ominous cloud with pounding rain. Winds peaked at twenty knots, but seas stood right up, producing the occasional creaming breaker down which Mo happily surfed.

We’ve entered the lower limb of a long trough of brisk south and southwest winds that, as of this moment, would take us all the way to St John’s if they held. ...

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Clogged air conditioning condenser coils make for a hot boat

17 May


A hot room and air conditioning fans on high blowing warm air isn’t a good way to start your day.  About two weeks ago I woke to just that.  I knew something had to be wrong with the air conditioning but figuring out what involved a few wrong turns before finding what turned out to be a pretty obvious problem.

I’m a prima-donna when it comes to air conditioning.  Though I love the water and love living on a boat I don’t love the feeling of a warm damp boat.  So, little ruins my mood faster than a failure ...

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Wombat and Nighttime Squalls, Explained

16 May

May 14, 2019/Day 221

Noon Position: 24 28N  59 12W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNW 6

Miles since departure: 29, 692

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

Mo made two and three knots most of yesterday and lay becalmed soon after the sun went down. I put away the sails, had a glass of wine in the cockpit, and admired the stars. Especially one bright object on the horizon to the west, which I did not recognize.

It twinkled like a star, but for whole minutes it stayed right there and did not slip into the sea as it should. Then I saw the shimmer of ...

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ICEBEAR & ISBJORN Offshore // It wasn’t THAT windy!

16 May

Mia Schralpin’

Mia Schralpin’

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 ...

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Electronic visual distress signals: Sirius Signal (Weems & Plath) versus Orion, plus a new option

16 May


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 ...

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ICEBEAR & ISBJORN Offshore // Beating to Bermuda

15 May

19_05_10_Schralpin Series_3_Small.jpg

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 ...

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12 Metre World Championships set for Newport in July

15 May

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. – ...
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#264: Bruce Schwab Returns // Diesel v. Electric Propulsion

14 May


#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.

Show Notes

“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 ...

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Clipper Race announces crew placements

14 May

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 ...
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A Day of Animals, and Your Comments

13 May

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 ...

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