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.
This episode is sponsored by Forbes Yachts. Visit forbesyachts.com to find your dream bluewater boat.
Episode #139, if not THE BEST one yet, it's certainly the one I'm most proud of, for a number of reasons. It's the highly-produced, onboard audio, musically-enhanced storytelling podcast of Isbjorn's crew racing in the RORC Caribbean 600, only last week. Behind skipper Paul Exner, the crew of Dan, Charly, Vanessa, Keith, Ken & Michael and I charged around this most grueling of racecourses. We were in third place until I noticed a structural failure in the rudder bearings, forcing us to retire.
This is the story, narrated by Andy and interspersed with live audio from onboard the boat during the race and music by Blaggards throughout. What do you think of this style of podcast? It's my first, and I hope you dig it! The full text of the story was published as a blog post on Saturday (but without the cool production!).
Topics covered in the podcast including links
- Royal Ocean Racing Club – RORC
- Isbjorn competing in the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600 race
- How professionals and amateurs can race side to side thanks to the handicap system
- “It’s a real mans race” – Paul Exner
- ARC rally and their finish in St. Lucia
- The close race of Phadeo3 and Concise
- Falmouth Harbor, Antigua
- the ATN Tacker
- The RORC Caribbean 600 race course and how close you will sail to the islands you are rounding
- Sending messages via YB tracker (we have a YB3 on Isbjorn) from the boat
- Andy got nostalgic sailing by Anse Marsel, St. Martin where Broadreach has its base
- Vesper XB8000 AIS we have onboard Isbjorn
- GoPro camera used by Keith and Andy during the race
- The decision to quit the race due to rudder problems
- Antigua Yacht Club
- Cold Carib beer waiting on the dock on arrival
- Antigua Slipway at Nelsons Dockyard where we are hauling out Isbjorn
- English Harbour and Nelson Dockyard, Antigua
- Isbjorn entering the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 race – sign up today!
Boats and people talked about in the podcast
- Skipper Paul Exner
- Classic yacht Blue Peter
- Photographer Tim Wright at photoaction.com
- Maxi 72 Bella Mente
- Photographer Emma Louise Wyn Jones at ELWJ Yacht Photography
- 100 foot Maxi Comanche
- MOD 70 Phaedo3
- MOD70 Concise
- Sirens Tigress – the first all female crew to ever finish the course
- Rory Finneren – friend of Andy & Mia who will join the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 race
Episode 113 is an essay about the first passage of Andy & Mia's Swan 48 Isbjorn. They sailed to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, departing Annapolis on July 4, with Charly, Dan, John and Sean onboard as the inaugural crew. Andy talks about the passage and reflects a bit on how it all went down and what it felt like to reach this milestone. To see some photos of the trip, go to 59-north.com/passagelogs.
Retired Senator Tom Harkin invited me and my dad to his house in Hope Town, Bahamas, a place he’s been going to since the 70s to escape the rat race in DC, and which he’ll spend a lot more time at now in retirement. We took the ferry over and had lunch with Tom and his wife Ruth on the dock overlooking the sea of Abaco and Tom’s new sailboat, a 26’ lifting keel Seaward. We recorded the podcast on the deck behind Tom’s house, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. My dad was there as well, listening in the background. Tom’s got an amazing life story, a lot of which includes his love of sailing. We discussed his younger days in the Navy ROTC, how he became a fighter pilot, what it’s like to takeoff and land from the deck of an aircraft carrier, how he built a trimaran in Japan, how he survived ejecting from a fighter plane on a training mission gone wrong, and much more. This is a good one, so listen up!
At about 0200 in the morning last Wednesday, after we’d tied the dock lines up in Little Creek VA, I got out the recorder and we debriefed the passage north on Sojourner from Marsh Harbor to Annapolis. The crew were myself, my dad, and Les and Jim, two podcast fans who’d signed up for the expedition online! The trip was ideal sailing - broad reaching under a full moon for most of the way, and warm, dry and comfortable (at least until we got back into colder water on the Bay). Aside from one night, that is. Early Easter Sunday morning we experienced a violent frontal passage, with 50-knot initial gusts and sustained winds overnight in the 30-40 knot range. Easily the strongest weather I’d encountered in my offshore career, and a hell of an experience for Les and Jim who’d never been offshore before. So we talked about it. Here's the tape.