Greetings friends and Happy Memorial Day weekend! Mia and I are aboard Isbjorn in downtown Annapolis, tied up to City Dock after a 6-day passage north from Ft. Lauderdale. Not a bad place to spent a weekend! On Tuesday Isbjorn gets hauled out at Eastport Yacht Center where my friends Micah & Marty will be doing some fiberglass work in the bow at Osmotech. Mia and I are off for a quick trip to Sweden to hand over Arcturus to her new owner. And on July 1, we head north!
Alas, Isbjorn will not be crossing the Atlantic this summer as was planned. After much discussion, Mia and I have decided to re-arrange our sailing schedule for the rest of 2016 and early 2017. We’ll continue north to St. John’s, Newfoundland as planned, stopping in Lunenburg on the way for a crew change. Then instead of making the crossing, we’ll return to the Chesapeake, first exploring the Norway-like fjords on the south coast of Newfoundland, stopping off in French St. Pierre, and returning to Lunenburg for another crew change before the final offshore leg back to Annapolis. In November, we’ll head south to the British Virgin Islands with the Caribbean 1500 Rally. We’ve also added a couple Caribbean passages in early 2017.
Why We Made the Change
With a hectic summer schedule upcoming, and a lot of commitments in the Caribbean in spring 2017, we were almost forced re-arrange the schedule - having to sail twice across the Atlantic to get to the Caribbean on time next January is proving much too ambitious a plan to have set for us. The plan works in theory - in fact, the puzzle fit together quite nicely around our other commitments in Sweden - but it was going to be A LOT of sailing. And the plan assumed that everything would go just peachy on the boat. As I’m finding out the hard way, that’s not always the case!
How It Affects Our Crew
The crew, as we’ve found since Day 1 of this business, have been supportive, despite the disappointment. Dan Levine, who sailed on Isbjorn’s inaugural passage last year to Lunenburg will remain onboard for the return voyage from St. John’s. Another is considering joining us in St. John’s as planned for the return voyage to Annapolis, while two others will be getting a full refund. Our Kinsale-Ireland crew are likely going to join us on a future passage instead. We did not have any crew booked yet for the return, Trade Wind trans-Atlantic, so that made the decision a little easier.
Into the Future
Perhaps the riskier part of our decision to change the schedule is from a trust perspective. The nature of what we do requires us - and our crew - to plan far in advance. Money changes hands early in this planning process, and crew are depending on us to quite simply ‘do what we say we’re going to do.’
We’ve now broken that trust with six of our crew members who we’ve had to cancel on. Believe me, I’m very conscious of this. I still believe this is in the best interest of the business in the big picture, and it’s been a good lesson on how to plan the calendar into 2018 and beyond.
The New Schedule
We’ve now finalized the new schedule for the remainder of 2016 and all of 2017. Highlights include:
- a return voyage, in two legs, from St. John’s to Annapolis taking in the Newfoundland fjords, French St. Pierre and historic Lunenburg
- a return to the Caribbean with the 1500 Rally in November
- a new Caribbean passage in February to get the boat to Antigua in time for the RORC Caribbean 600
- and another new Tortola-Tortola passage in April, that will stop off in one of several possible destinations, potentially St. Lucia, Dominica, Bequia or elsewhere.
The rest of 2017, including our trans-Atlantic with ARC Europe, via Bermuda, the Azores & Scotland, remains as planned. We’ll finish the 2017 season in Sweden.
All of the updated passages are now live on 59-north.com/offshore, with updated crew numbers showing availability. Steve Olson, our graphics guru, is working on updating the passage maps.
For those of you who these changes have affected, we’re deeply sorry. And we greatly appreciate the continued support from all of our crew, even those who have decided to take a refund and yet continue to wish us good luck. We hope to see you on the high seas!
-Andy & Mia