“Every incident offshore could have been prevented before they ever left the dock. It’s all about preparation. Even in bad weather, it’s the preparation that will determine the outcome.”
Seeing the ice in clear skies was a hell of a reward for the heavy weather yesterday. Thus far we’ve stopped to admire two big bergs from close range, bringing in ICEBEAR under power (the wind, after all that fuss, shut down completely around 1200 noon as we rounded Cape Race) to within a hundred yards or so. I put the drone up to get a bird’s eye view, and the crew stopped to admire the beauty of nature’s most striking sculpture. Both bergs we stopped for had at some point in their decay rolled, for the tops of them were pure white and smooth as marble, highlighted in spots by deep turquoise cracks where they’d broken apart and re-frozen during their lifespan.
This has been all over my Facebook page the past couple of days, thanks to Kevin King, who crewed with us and took the footage. When the whale first approached, we were in awe, and just enjoyed his company. Kevin wanted to film right away, but I kind of discouraged him - if you're always behind the camera, you can't appreciate what's right in front of you. But the whale kept coming back! I was afraid jamming the camera down in the water might scare him off (he thinking it might be a harpoon!), but eventually we gave it a go. I think it was worth it!
This was written yesterday, posted today (Monday). Photos below.
We arrived into St. Croix yesterday afternoon after what I think was probably the easiest passage I’ve ever done. We sailed on starboard tack the whole way, broad reaching in anywhere from 8-25 knots, and only motoring for one hour, through a pretty calm spot when the sails were banging around and we had to roll up the jib.
I will have WAY more to say about this in due time, but wanted to post it immediately. Thanks to Dave for sharing - you know who you are. Might we have finally reached a tipping point when it comes to taking offshore sailing seriously, instead of a ride to warmer weather?
I just had an interesting email exchange with a friend whose in the (years-long) process of outfitting his boat for extended ocean cruising. The boat is similar to Arcturus, and we have similar ideas about things, and somehow got in touch a few years back. Anyway, we've had several of these types of exchanges. I won't say who it is out of respect for his privacy, but I want to publish my response to his latest email about rigging, sails and engines. I'll preface each section with what I'm about to discuss, but won't include anything specific that he's emailed me. What's your take?
Mario Vittone, retired USCG rescue swimmer and noted expert on ocean wilderness survival, recounts the dramatic rescue of the sailing yacht Mirage in 1995, and how not to end up in the same situation. "The three sailors that he put in the back of the helicopter with me don’t know that we don’t have enough gas to get back. Not into this headwind. Pilot Jay Balda is thinking that his crew might be dead soon and its all his fault."
Originally published here on mariovittone.com. Click to see the comments chain, just as interesting as the article itself.