208: Offshore Weather // Isbjorn Crew Roundtable Chat

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208: As I record this, Isbjorn is stuck in medieval Visby, on the island of Gotland smack in the center of the Baltic. We’ve only made it about 100 miles south of Stockholm, on this our 11th and LAST passage of 2017, due to horrendous weather. Recent guests the Veber family reported gusts over 50 knots in their homeport of Falsterbo, on the Swedish southwest coast about 200 miles from here and on our route. So we’re sitting tight. What follows is a roundtable meeting recorded  about 6 weeks ago with Isbjorn’s crew from our PREVIOUS passage, when we were similarly stuck in Marstrand, waiting out a gale. If you want to learn more about offshore weather forecasting, head over to morganscloud.com, where right now there is a series of detailed articles coming out that John Harries & I wrote.

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Hurricane Irma Update:

It’s a week now since Hurricane Irma devastated the BVI. I have a quick update on our friends who live in Tortola, all guests of the podcast too at some point. Brian Duff, who runs the Island Last Resort in Trellis Bay reported in okay, but unfortunately the island is destroyed and they’ve lost all their business and personal possessions.

Paul Exner, Isbjorn’s racing skipper, finally got in touch with me a few nights ago. He was happy to report that his family is all safe and sound, and that Solstice, his gorgeous Cape George 31 he built himself, is in one piece. There was damage to the bow and stern pulpits, and the Monitor wind vane was crushed, but otherwise she’s in good shape. Paul’s a little stressed about how they’re going to safely move all the wrecked boats around him, but he’s confident Solstice will sail again soon! So that’s great news. 

In other good news, Ted & Claudia and their kids Max & Anya are also safe & sound at Nanny Cay, and their boat Demeter, a 43’ Wauquiez Amphitrite Ketch, rode out the storm in the marina. They also had damaged pulpits and scratched and gouges in the hull, but no holes. She was the first boat to be salvaged from the marina and the family is back living on her again. Ted is now in charge of coordinating security with the British Royal Marines at Nanny Cay, so his life has taken a surreal turn like everyone else’s down there. 

Follow my personal Facebook page at facebook.com/andydschell for updates on these guys and others in the BVI, as well as links to how you can help if you’re so inclined. In fact we’re toying with the idea of sending a work party down to the BVI sometime in November to help Paul pick up the pieces and get Solstice seaworthy again for his upcoming season. Paul runs offshore passages aboard Solstice just like we do on Isbjorn, through moderngeographic.com, if you didn’t already know. If you’re interested in donating funds towards the trip or joining us in the islands with a backpack and some tools, email me on andy@59-north.com.


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On The Wind is the evolution of 59º North, and is, quite simply, long-form conversations with sailors from around the world. 'On the Wind' Sailing Podcast is informal chats with people from around the world of sailing - tall ship captains, Cape Horners, sailing authors, Volvo Ocean Race skippers, yacht designers, family cruisers, Arctic adventurers and more. Our aim is to define what creates success in the sailing world and figure out how to accomplish dreams on the high seas. 

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