PASSAGE LOGS: Sweden to Tortola in 24 Hours

Mia & I decided early on that we’d extend our time in Sweden - off the boat - right to the bitter end. We knew it’d make it slightly more stressful when we finally did return to Isbjorn, having allowed ourselves only two days to get the boat all setup before crew arrived. And that was if our long flights went to plan (they did). In the end it was worth it, but (almost) everything went smoothly.

We left the farmhouse at 3:15 in the morning on February 1, which would have been my mom’s 67th birthday had she lived (she died of brain cancer in April 2012). The bus ride to the airport began a 24+ hour day of travel that included a flight to London, another (surprisingly long) flight to San Juan, a three-hour layover in Puerto Rico, then a puddle-jumper plane ride over to Tortola, and finally a 35-minute taxi ride around the island to Nanny Cay. We’d pre-arranged to have the marina launch the boat ahead of our arrival and scrub the decks, so it was super nice to come back to a clean and floating boat after such a long day of travel.

Speaking of which, trans-ocean travel on a jetliner is freaking nuts. It’s as close as you’ll ever get to time-travel. We woke up one morning in Sweden, spent several hours in a long flying tube, and went to be that night in the tropics on a sailboat. Impossible! Time travel.

Our first full day back on Isbjorn saw us divide and conquer the pre-departure checklist while trying to adapt to the hot temperatures. Mia took off for the grocery store with a long list of provisions while I cleaned up down below and fiddled with the boat. Isbjorn was in great shape - we’d spent a lot of time cleaning the interior before we went back to Sweden in November - but we were in for a few surprises nonetheless. The third time I used the head, the pump handle broke off in my hand (it’s since been repaired with the end of an old broom stick)! Shortly thereafter Mia fell through one of the floorboards in the main salon! She’s lucky she didn’t break her foot, and we’re luckier still that it happened at the dock and not offshore. 

The problem was where the inspection hatches had been placed in the cabin sole and how they’d been built. The ‘cleat’ around the underside to hold the inspection piece in place was just glued to the underside of the cabin sole. Teak is notoriously tricky to glue, and after 10+ years of walking on it, it finally failed and through the floor Mia went! So I spent the afternoon going around the boat and bolting down all the cleat stock that held in all of the removable floorboards in an act of preventative maintainance. 

We’d planned to get away from the dock by noon on February 3rd. The goal was to hoist the small genoa, which we’d never used before (it’s brand new), and sail on up to Trellis Bay where we’d meet the crew on the 4th. It would give us a chance to shakedown the boat before crew arrived, and furthermore just get a nice afternoon sail in just the two of us before our season started in earnest.

As it so often happens, it was 3pm before we finally cast off the docklines. I’d spent lots of time in the chandlery getting last-minute odd and ends, but finally we left and we’re on the way. Conditions were gorgeous for an afternoon sail. We tacked our way east in Sir Francis Drake channel, dropping the hook around the point in Trellis Bay just as the sun was going down behind the airport. 

Day 1 of our 2017 season was in the books.