Isbjörn's Return Passage to Annapolis

Sleep Deprived

For the first time since we departed Lunenburg, the entire crew is awake and outside. Rachel & Matt have been sleeping the sleep of the seasick, suffering for the first 24 hours, but toughing it out and doing their watches anyway. Both are wearing Scopalamine patches, and both have been totally knocked out in their bunks when not on watch. Matt even went for a nap on the foredeck this morning, sacked out in his full gear and clipped to the mast. He slept for 90 minutes up there, soaking up the sunshine!

The weather has been different in this neck of the woods than on our way north. Then it was foggy and damp, the wind very light and most of the time contrary. Our progress was agonizingly slow - our worst day's run, from George's Bank to Shelburne, on the tip of Nova Scotia, was only 100 miles. (As a brief aside, I'm getting awfully spoiled sailing a big, fast boat. Arcturus averaged only 96 miles a day across the Atlantic. To say 100 is slow sounds a bit ungrateful! But now I'm used to easy 160 mile days on Isbörn!)

Now though, we're only 39 hours out of Lunenburg and we're nearly across George's Bank already. Our track, aside from a short tacking duel once offshore, has been arrow straight, and we're averaging nearly 7 knots through the water. We've sailed 270 miles in 40 hours.

Talk About the Weather

The weather has been crystal clear, and pretty cold (for July). We left just as a weak cold front was passing through. It rained sailing out of Lunenburg Bay, but by midnight the wind had shifted and it cleared. Since then it's been starry nights and sun-filled days. After the front, the NW wind built to about 20 knots, and we had the fastest - and roughest - sailing since leaving Annapolis. Isbjörn flew across the wind at over 9 knots for long stretches, her bow wave shooting out to port & starboard. In any sort of wind, the boat's like a freight train. It's awesome.

Since then, the wind has been gradually easing, but still enough to sail. At the moment it's blowing 8-10 from the north, and we're making 6.5-7 knots through the water bang on course. Last night we almost had to motorboat, our speed dropping into the 4s for a stretch, but we held on and were rewarded with beautiful light-air sailing through a dark, starry night.

Some dolphins came to visit around 0200. I heard one take a breath right behind me, and turned to see two of them streaking through the black water, so much phosphorescence around that their bodies glowed in the night, the wake coming off their tails like an underwater shooting star. What a magical sight!

A Midnight Rescue

On my dads watch, 1800-2100, he heard a Canadian coast guard C-130 communicating with a fishing vessel with an injured crew member on the VHF. They had arranged for the crew to be airlifted off the boat (his injuries were unclear). The C-130 crew explained to the fishing boat how the lift would happen - a helicopter would drop a man onto the bow of the boat, secure the injured crew, and lift him to safety, without him ever touching the water. It was dark out, no moon, and must have been a tense but exhilarating mission for the coasties. Dad never saw the action itself, but did see two flares off in the distance, marking the position of the boat. At the time we were in the midst of the George's Bank fishing fleet, and Dad counted 10 AIS targets on the screen at once.


The wind remains light but enough to sail at six knots, and the seas have flattened out entirely. Matt said it's like sailing through a swimming pool. We know that this time of year a northerly is rare - we expect the wind to go SW & on the nose any time now, as is the summer pattern - so we'll take full advantage while we can!

For now, it's time for fresh ground coffee & hurricane eggs in the cockpit. Until next time...