Greetings All Former & Future Sailing Crew!
It's official - 59 North Sailing is now a two-boat operation! Starting February 1, 2019, ICE BEAR, a German Frers-designed Swan 59, will be making offshore passages with Mia & I on the helm!
Firstly, we want to send a huge THANK YOU to all the crew who have sailed with us already, or who are set to sail with us in the future. And to those of you who gave us such positive feedback when we first emailed you this idea several weeks ago. In large part, it was this enthusiasm that bolstered our own ideas and accelerated the plan to try a two-boat program. THANKS!
I want to take this opportunity to outline a few things and explain how this will work going forward, AND invite you all FIRST to signup for the additional passages we have available in 2019, since the 59 can now take 6 crew.
Here's the deal
ICE BEAR, as the 59 will be christened, will sail the exact same calendar in 2019 as is published online now, starting with the Havana trip in April.
All 2019 crew already signed up with us were notified of the new boat first - they've effectively been 'upgraded'!
We have added 2 crew spaces on each of those legs - some have already been taken by friends of crew already signed up for those legs, but otherwise they are on offer to you guys NOW, before we announce this to the general public on the podcast. You can find the updated bunk availability here - just scroll down to the table view at the bottom of the page.
We have ADDED a Caribbean passage from Grenada-San Juan on the 59, and will have 6 crew bunks open for that. This will cost $3,000 and sail March 27-April 3. It's open for booking to former & future crew only at this point, and will open to the public in the next 1-2 weeks. There are no details online yet, but it DOES appear in the table view at the bottom of the page on 59-north.com/2019.
Go to 59-north.com/signup if you want to get onboard the 59 in 2019!
The Bigger Picture
We've had the idea to get a second boat since last fall, and even bounced around ideas to buy a Challenge 67 for more Arctic work, and seriously looked at another 47-footer. The idea got shelved as we began focusing on getting Isbjorn - and ourselves - ready for the Arctic.
Fast forward to Svalbard. Spending 3 weeks sailing with the SV Delos crew re-ignited the spark to get a second, and bigger, boat. It's no secret that the Delos guys are working on a Delos 2.0 project. Sailing with them and discussing their plans was infectiously inspiring. We realized by being around other young, creative, adventurous sailors, that anything is possible. They encouraged us to go for it...and from there, it was full speed ahead!
Enter Ice Bear - we have not actually bought the 59 - yet. But of course, there's a story behind it. We have a prior connection with the boat, currently called THINDRA (we'll rename her), and laying in Antigua (where we'll end up on Isbjorn in February 2019 after crossing the Atlantic).
We first met Thindra in the ARC rally in 2009 in St. Lucia when we worked for the rally. She's Swedish-flagged, and we got to know her former skipper well. To make a long story short, she's been on the market for a bit, and we arranged with her current owner to do a charter agreement for 2019, with an option to buy her if it goes well. We'll use 2019 to 'test the concept' of running the bigger boat, AND running Isbjorn, our current Swan 48 as well, with another skipper.
Speaking of which...
Isbjorn Sailing 2019 - Swan 48 Calendar
We are running a limited '2nd boat' program with Isbjorn for part of 2019 to test the concept of keeping both boats in the long-term. Our friend (and former podcast guest) Simon Borjeson will skipper Isbjorn initially in the spring of 2019, and we'll be bringing Paul Exner, Isbjorn's racing skipper, back for other passages TBA.
We've been very open and honest about our entire business since first bootstrapping this whole thing back in 2015. This is no different - expect a couple podcasts from Mia & I about the long story behind how this all started and what our hopes and fears are going forward. We're super excited to be able to offer more passages and accommodate more crew to experience the magic of ocean sailing. All we ask is that you all trust us that the trips will remain on the level we've been able to deliver - Simon & Paul, to start with, are amazing sailors and more importantly amazing people, and we have full faith in them to deliver the 59 North experience.
We'll have a lot more info on Simon in the coming weeks, including another long podcast with him to follow. In short, Simon is an engineer working in Sweden and VERY involved in the outdoor sports scene at a very high level. Just yesterday he won the Rockman Swimrun endurance event in Norway, an event he and some friends actually founded and got off the ground. Simon also has worked as a backcountry skiing guide in Japan for the past several years, so is skilled in leading people in the wilderness. He crossed the Atlantic in 2015 via Bermuda & the Azores, skippering his dad's X-42C.
Here's the initial 2019 Calendar for Isbjorn, which is now published online and IS open for booking. 4 crew spaces on each trip:
April 10-25: San Juan-Havana-Key West // $6,000: The Cuba trip! This trip will run alongside Ice Bear - both boats will sail to Cuba together, and we've rented TWO homestays with local Cubans on the same block in Havana where we'll all stay together ashore. Details online here, basically the same for both boats. Skipper: Simon Borjeson.
May 1-12: Key West-Bermuda // $4,000: Again, both boats will run this route to Bermuda. We won't stay in company offshore on purpose, but we'll all be together in Key West and again in Bermuda. Details online here, basically same for both boats. Skipper: Simon Borjeson.
May 18-28: Bermuda-Annapolis // $4,000: Last route of the spring with BOTH BOATS traveling together back to Annapolis. Details online here, basically same for both boats. Skipper: Andy's Dad Dennis OR Paul Exner
Again, to book onboard Isbjorn, go to 59-north.com/signup as usual.
Based on how the above books up, we'll consider adding additional passages onboard Isbjorn in 2019 and beyond. We're counting on YOU GUYS to spread the good word about 59 North and get as excited as we are about the two-boat program!
In the bigger picture, there's LOTS we can do with a two-boat program and Mia & I are stoked! We'll have more opportunity to get young people involved in offshore sailing, and in fact are already working with an under-20 racing team bouncing ideas around about putting Isbjorn in some international races to be sailed by the youth! The sky's the limit at this point, and we're so THANKFUL for your support!
We hope you're excited about the 59 and that a few more of you decide to join us in 2019.
In the meantime, HOLD FAST!
Andy & Mia