'The downwind run from the Azores to Scotland'. Not at all as we expected, this trip has been the one that we thought we would encounter the most weather of the year and we had prepared their crew for it. In Ponta Delgada the day before departure the long-term weather forecast looked to good to be true. We started of with an evening and night of motoring but pretty quickly the wind picked up from behind and we sailed downwind most of the way. Due to some light wind and that we were head of schedule we decided on a quick stop in the Aren Islands just of Galway Bay in Ireland.
The start of a bigger adventure! Many times this year, we have started our trip in the BVI but every time we have come back after exploring the southern parts of the Caribbean. This time we left the BVI knowing we won't be back from may years! Back in the Caribbean on 2019, but maybe not the BVI, a bit hard to wrap our heads around since this been our 'base' for a while!
The last Caribbean trip for a while and it is a bit bittersweet! Crew joined us up in Trellis Bay, BVI and the plan to stay there for the night changed quickly. The wind swung us around a bit too close to a nearby boat and since we had to re-anchor anyway, we decided to head over to Spanish Town straight away where we had to clear out of custom before departing the BVI.
It's been a loud night onboard Isbjorn, literally! Yesterday afternoon the wind got lighter and lighter but enough wind to keep sailing. As it got even lighter the only course we could hold and also keep the sails full was around 220T - we tried for about an hour. Sailing in the wrong direction is at least better than motoring.
It's very strange in our little isolated bubble on Isbjorn to be getting news in chunks from afar, and I'm sure the fleet feels the same. Interestingly, last year while the yachts were at sea, the Paris terrorist attacks happened. Makes you realize how connected you are ashore, and how nice - but weird - it is to be so disconnected.
This blog has nothing to do with politics. We're just all curious on the big day today!
0545. I'm taking my first solo watch of the trip. Typically I don't stand watches - rather, our crew pair up, Mia takes a solo watch & I'm on-call, the crew doing three-on, six-off rotations. Tom, though, is majorly seasick and hasn't taken a watch since Day 1. For a while Ed & David and Mia & Bruce did 4-on, 4-off, but it's finally calmed down a bit so they're getting a needed break.
Don't let anybody tell you ocean sailing is easy. Of all the endurance sports I've dabbled in over the years - marathon running, triathlon, cross-country skiing, cycling - offshore sailing is easily the most grueling. In those other sports, no matter how knackered you are in the moment, you know you'll be in your bed that night.
'Variable' is the word for the weather on this passage north from Florida to Annapolis. Since departing Friday morning, we've had it all - light downwind sailing, light close reaching, heavy downwind sailing and currently even heavier close reaching, which later today is going to become a dead beat to windward.
Isbjörn is well under way in the RORC Caribbean 600. The first 3 boats have already finished the race, with the trimaran Phadeo3 breaking the record from last year and finishing in just under 32 hours, impressive!
Another update from Andy. He is sending me short and sweet texts from our YB tracker we have onboard.
Anyway, Isbjorn is heading back to BVI after yesterday's jib jam. Andy has a feeling it may be more than just a jam and we have learned to follow our feeling and always put boat safety first.
The update from Andy today, including a few comments from the crew:
A quick update from Andy and Isbjorn. He called me this evening around 1900 AST. When they rolled up the jib to tack over to head for the island of Guadalope (the planned stop on the trip south), the headsail jammed. Andy is not comfortable to continue upwind in the dark with a potential issue so they have turned "back" on a broadreach.