ISBJORN OFFSHORE! Bound for Bermuda

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 Sweden. Mia & I are most looking forward to the thermometer continuing to plunge as we sail ever farther north!

Mia & I have had two weeks ‘off,’ living on the boat in St. Croix without any crew around and enjoying the solitude. But it’s time now to get back into adventure mode. Our crew for this leg to Bermuda arrived on Tuesday & Wednesday this week. Onboard we’ve got Thane, whose crossed the Atlantic once already on his own boat, from east to west; Mike, who owns a Hanse 400 back in New England; and Tom & Cheryl, owners of not one but TWO boats back in Rock Hall on the Chesapeake - one small one they live on, while they refit the big one for adventures further afield.

We spent the week here in Tortola hiding from the sun and getting Isbjorn ready for the high seas. Our entire season thus far has been spent in the windy but relatively safe waters of the Caribbean Sea. So we’ve started taking things just a little bit more seriously now we’re bound for the deep Atlantic, much farther away from help if the need arises. The welders at the marina fixed a broken stanchion base that failed during the Caribbean 600 race; Tom & Cheryl secured the forepeak lockers so they can’t come open and spew their contents in the event of a knockdown or (god forbid) a capsize; Thane spent a few days re-securing the boom vang fitting on the mast. He had the machine shop make some new bushings that we hope will end the annoying speaking that the fitting has been making for a while now. 

And we’ve been having some fun too. Mia & I finally caved and bought some video gear in anticipation of documenting our trans-Atlantic adventure. So we got the new drone out and played with it a few times around the marina. There is a much longer story to this which I’ll save for another time!

Meanwhile my dad has been doing much of the same on Sojourner just a few feet away from us. He’s got Lance onboard, a former Isbjorn crew (who was with us, in fact, when I got appendicitis last summer). And our intern Liz will join Sojourner in Bermuda for the final leg home to Annapolis. In fact, she just graduated university yesterday! So congrats to Liz for becoming a real ‘adult’ now! Welcome to the real world (haha)! Rounding out Sojourner’s crew is Dave Hornbach, a longtime rally crew whose done over 10,000 miles with the Caribbean 1500 and other WCC events (by the way, we’re both sailing with WCC events right now - my dad in ARC USA, and us in ARC Europe - follow the fleets online by clicking here). And finally, Cam from Canada, whom we met in Annapolis in March and who is looking for his first experience on the high seas in anticipation of doing the same on his boat down the line. So dad’s in good hands.

This will be the last time Isbjorn plies the waters of the Caribbean for nearly two years. What is really an ‘end’ to our time down here, is a very exciting new beginning for us. Isbjorn will be pointing her bows ever more north over the next 18 months, culminating in our adventures north to the Arctic in summer 2018, when we hope to get as far as 77º north or more as we explore the coast of Svalbard. Both of us are absolutely ready to leave the heat, and very much looking forward to going back to the Azores. In fact, this is the 5th anniversary of our first passage there on Kinship, with ARC Europe in 2012, so a bit of nostalgia here at the same time as we look towards the future.

Follow our progress across the pond on Read about our adventures and watch the YB Tracker for where we are! And to see us within the larger ARC Europe fleet, click here!