Andy & Mia

Isbjorn Offshore: Moseying Downwind

24 May

May 18, 1000

The wind is sloooowly filling in from the NNW. We motored all night after trying to tack offshore once through Town Cut, 18 hours in total, setting sail finally at 0400 this morning. When the sea is flat we can make 4-5 knots in only 6-7 knots apparent, close-reaching. When the odd wave slews the boat around the sails slat and we slow right down. The forecast is in our favor though – if it holds true, it looks like we’ll have wind, and behind us, for the next ten days…

1200

All hands on deck for ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: Riding the Azores High

24 May

Before we dive into the start of our trans-Atlantic, let’s recap our arrival and layover in Bermuda. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out a few videos we posted on our Instagram (instagram.com/59northsailing) and Facebook pages (facebook.com/59north) – they show better than I can tell how it went down.

We had a SERIOUSLY gnarly arrival in Bermuda, the wind building and building from the SW as we made landfall south of Gibb’s Hill light. We made it all the way on celestial, so it was special seeing the lighthouse appear before the dawn right where ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: Ghosting Through a Placid Night

11 May

9 May, 0400

Despite the early hour, there’s the slightest hint of the coming dawn in the sky to the east. The night is crystal clear, and crisp. For the first time since November I have on a fleece to ward off the chill. And thanks to the northerly wind, it’s a DRY chill, a feeling I’ve been looking forward too all winter long through the oppressive Caribbean heat & humidity.

The wind came back at midnight, a light northerly, but enough to set sail. We’d been motoring since dinner time on a flat calm sea. Though our course should ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: Squalls, Calms & Navigating by the Stars

9 May

8 May, 1600

Isbjorn is running wing on wing on the starboard tack, the genoa poled out to catch the SE’ly breeze. The wind is steady and she’s making 5-6 knots, but the sea is confused and the sails slat hard in the worst rolls. There’s a NW’ly swell rolling in from our left, opposing the wind-driven SE’ly swell and corkscrewing the boat around at times.

The sky off of our port quarter is a fearful shade of grey, and there’s rain in the clouds behind us. Up to now, all the weather has come from the E, as it ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: A Good Day’s Run

8 May

6 May, 0800

An early morning for Isbjorn’s crew. We’re all rested after a night of teetotaling in preparation for today’s departure. The boat’s ready to go…the afternoon before we basically completed the pre-departure checklist. All that’s left this morning is to top up the water tanks, unplug the shore power and pay our bill at Nanny Cay.

The crew’s assembled in the cockpit for the morning briefing, our last at the dock. Mia & I complete the orientation now that we’ve finished stowing all the provisions. I assign roles for the start – Mike & Tom will be job ...

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ISBJORN OFFSHORE! Bound for Bermuda

6 May

It feels like we’ve been in the Caribbean forever. The heat in Nanny Cay Marina is oppressive. We’ve been dockside since Monday morning, and with no air conditioning aboard Isbjorn, it’s impossible to be inside the boat during the daytime, and only slightly more possible to get comfortably to sleep at night.

We’re berthed nose-to-nose with Sojourner, my dad’s boat, whose also headed north to Bermuda. Once in St. Georges, however, Sojourner will head northwest, bound for her home waters in Annapolis, while Isbjorn will point the bows east for points unknown to her in the Azores, Scotland & ultimately ...

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“Come on Arlene!”: Facts on 2017’s 1st Tropical Storm

21 Apr

With yesterday’s classification of Tropical Storm ‘Arlene,’ an extremely rare tropical event in April, lots of discussion has been floating around Facebook and social media among offshore sailors, a lot of it drama-fueled malarkey. I wanted some facts on ‘Arlene’ – the weather in the Atlantic is top of my mind right now as we plan for our upcoming Trans-At in May – and I had some questions I wanted answered. Jeremy Davis, a lead forecaster at WRI, and Isbjorn’s primary weather-router (who is also an extreme tropical weather nerd, dating back to his childhood) – provided me ...

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PHOTOS: ’17 Leg 4 BVI – Grenadines – BVI

16 Apr

A well deserved swim in Bequia after the sail down from the BVI!

A well deserved swim in Bequia after the sail down from the BVI!


The last Caribbean trip for a while and it is a bit bittersweet! Crew joined us up in Trellis Bay, BVI and the plan to stay there for the night changed quickly. The wind swung us around a bit too close to a nearby boat and since we had to re-anchor anyway, we decided to head over to Spanish Town straight away where we had to clear out of customs before departing the BVI. 

The trip south to Bequia was very uneventful with smooth sailing and no ...

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Navigating the Tobago Cays

15 Apr

Photo by crewmember Nick W., taken from the masthead!

Photo by crewmember Nick W., taken from the masthead!

Nick’s at the helm. Harold, Rob & I hoist the mainsail, still attached to the mooring. We’re secured far into Admiralty Bay in Bequia, so it’s tight, but we’re on the outside row of boats. The big tanker that supplies the island’s diesel is anchored just opposite on the far side of the ferry channel.

The plan is to drop the port mooring line first – this ought to blow the boat to port. Once aimed into the channel, we’ll sheet home the mainsail, drop the starboard line and sail upwind, ...

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Offshore to Bequia

6 Apr

“You know, most people don’t love ocean sailing anyway. It’s something you endure to get to where you’re going.”

Sometimes. But sometimes it’s the entire reason you go from A to B – to experience the highs and lows, the joy and anguish of sailing over the horizon and into that ocean wilderness. I actually do love it.

We left Virgin Gorda ahead of schedule, at 1000 on Monday, April 3. The day before, our new crew joined us in Trellis Bay – Nick & Sara, a young-ish couple from Maryland; Rob, a watch-face refinishing guru from Ohio; and ...

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