59º North

Andy schell - Skipper // @schell_andy // @59northsailing

Andy grew up sailing his mom & dad's boat's, all called 'Sojourner', on the Chesapeake Bay (literally from the time he was in diapers). During his 4th-grade, they sailed south as a family - Andy, younger sister Kaitie, Gail & Dennis and two cats, Ketchie and Salty - and spent the winter cruising the Bahamas.

He met Mia on a backpacking trip in New Zealand in 2006, and the two have been seeking adventures together ever since. They've logged over 70,000 bluewater miles and have crossed the Atlantic a combined seven times (4 for Mia, 3 for Andy). Andy & Mia are based in Sweden when they're off the boat & love endurance sports!

Mia Karlsson - Mate // @miapahavet

Mia grew up 'ute på landet' - that's 'out in the countryside' - in rural Sweden, about 60 minutes drive inland from Stockholm & far from the sea. She was a strong swimmer in high school and competed on a national level in Sweden.

Mia took off for New Zealand with her best friend Johanna (who thought Andy's name was 'Eddie' for three days when the first met). She didn't start sailing - was never even on a sailboat - until a 4-day charter in the Marlboro Sounds in NZ on a 28-foot boat with Andy, Johanna, Clint & Glenn. Mia hasn't looked back since, and has more Atlantic crossings that Andy now (which she's quick to point out!). In Sweden Mia loves to run, bike & bake bread. And she’s now learned how to crochet - look out!


ISBJÖRN Skippers & Mates 2019

Simon Börjeson - ISBJÖRN Skipper // @simon_borjeson


Simon first met Andy at the ARC Europe rally in Portsmouth, VA. He was skippering his dad's XC42 Euphoria back to Europe via Bermuda & the Azores, and he and Andy became fast friends.

Simon grew up spending his summers on his parent's “summer cottage," a classic Vindö 50, and got his first boat when he was only 7. He has been working on boats of all sizes for the past 12 years, including passenger ferries in Stockholm, RIBs, offshore construction vessels in the North Sea and most recently as Project Manager at HOC Yachts in Stockholm & Visby. He's currently a manufacturing engineer at Candela Speed Boats.

Throughout the years and in between jobs, Simon has been cruising and living on various yachts in the Baltic, the North Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, and has crossed the Atlantic on various yachts.


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Andy's Dad Dennis taught Andy (and oftentimes Mia) everything he knows. Dennis started sailing in his mid-twenties with Andy's mom Gail - their honeymoon was to the Bahamas in the 70's with a captained charterboat. When they were just 28 and 30, they took off on an old Phil Rhodes-designed Chesapeake 32 and spent the winter cruising the Bahamas.

Dennis has sailed many thousands of bluewater miles and stands in for Andy when he can't (like when he got appendicitis offshore!). Dennis is also super-supportive of the whole charade, and Andy & Mia use his basement as temporary storage when they're home. Sadly, Gail died of brain cancer in 2012. 

PAUL EXNER - ISBJÖRN Racing skipper // modern geographic

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'Pablo', 'X-Man' or just plain 'Paul' (depending on the day) is Isbjorn's Racing Skipper & Relief Captain when Andy can't make the trip. He grew up sailing in Puerto Rico, racing catamarans along the north coast. Paul's a phenomenal teacher, earning his chops at Steve Colgate's Offshore Sailing School, and later as head coach of the University of Wisconsin's sailing team.

Paul built his own Cape George Cutter from a bare hull. Solstice rides to her anchor in Trellis Bay, Tortola, and Paul & his family live just around the bend. You can sail on Solstice through moderngeographic.com.

Paul skippered Isbjorn in the 2015 Caribbean 15002016 RORC Caribbean 600 & will skipper again in the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600!

Paul will also skipper ISBJORN on the Bermuda-Annapolis passage in May, and again on the passage south from Annapolis to the Caribbean in November 2019.

Ben doerr - ISBJÖRN mate // Sail Bainbridge

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Ben sailed with us across the North Sea in May 2018, specifically to get some time aboard for working with us in the future! He’s got his own sailing business out of Bainbridge Island (outside Seattle), running day-trip and multi-day cruises in the Pacific Northwest on his beautiful 44-foot Pearson Countess Ketch TRUE. When he’s not sailing, Ben is a professional musician with his band St. Paul de Vence.

Ben will be sailing the Key West to Bermuda leg aboard ISBJORN with Simon in May 2019.

Tom & Darlene Herrington // ISBJÖRN mates

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Tom & Darlene and longtime friends of ours who have sailed thousands of miles with us on ISBJORN and other boats we’ve delivered over the years. Tom was there from Day 1, driving to Connecticut with us the first time we set eyes on ISBJORN, and indeed sailing her south to Annapolis on her first-ever passage with us. They cruise extensively on their Ericson 38 KOMPASS.

The photo was taken in September 2018 in Portugal, when Tom & Darlene brought their son Tres along for a week of sailing and exploring the Algarve coast.

Tom & Darlene will be Simon’s mates on the San Juan to Key West passage in April 2019.

Shore Team & Behind-the-Scenes

Ryan Bradfield - shore support // @rb1685


Ryan grew up in a small town in southeast Texas, fishing and kayaking the coastal waters there.  Four years ago, he caught the sailing bug, and is now restoring a 1975 Westsail 32, Lorilee, with aspirations of long-distance voyaging. Lorilee is currently berthed in Kemah, TX.  

A long-time fan of On the Wind podcast, Ryan joined the Isbjorn crew for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 and has done numerous races along the Texas coast. When he's not toiling in fiberglass or sawdust on the boat, he enjoys paddleboarding, powerlifting, and scuba diving.

Ben Soofer - Media & PR // @bsoof

Originally from Washington, D.C., Ben grew up sailing on the intracoastal rivers of North Carolina. Ben mainly helps Andy & Mia on the digital side of things at 59 North, but has a nautical past worth noting. He has worked as a sailing instructor for past six summers and has also garnered deckhand experience aboard several larger yachts. A lover of all things outdoors, Ben is an avid skier and hiker. Before leaving for University, Ben was able to sail from the Caribbean to Tahiti abroad S/Y Argo; crossing the equator is something he's unlikely to ever forget. 

Ben is a student at the University of Denver studying Strategic Communications, and will graduate in spring 2019. While he's currently land-locked in the Central United States, Ben stays connected to sailing through his work at 59 North with Andy & Mia. 

It’s not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.
— Epicurus

There are way more people than are listed on this page who we owe our success to. But we wanted to make sure that those who have a regular role with us, whether supportive or direct (as crew, refit help, etc.) get properly recognized as being part of the team. 

Thanks to everyone not featured here as well - all of you who helped at the refit party, everybody who emails in their support of the podcastsailing friends in far-flung corners of the globe, our industry supporters especially all of our crew who come sail with us and make this all possible!

Are you in college and want to apprentice with us? Drop Andy an email!

GAIL SCHELL (1950-2012)


Andy's mom Gail is the spiritual leader of the family and indeed all that Andy has pursued as an adult. Her mantra when Andy was a kid was 'do what you love & the money will follow.' Gail & Dennis taught Andy all he knew about sailing - they spent the winter of 1993/94 cruising the Bahamas on Sojourner, the family's 36' Allied Princess ketch.

Sadly Gail died in 2012 after a long bout with brain cancer. Her universal energy lives on in how Andy lives his life and inspires him to pursue his passions.



Andy's grandfather is the entrepreneurial influence in Andy's business life. He's also a big kid - he turns 86 in 2016, but acts like he's 20! 

In 1952, Paul started 'Schell's', and almost 65 years later it's still going strong! He also used to be a successful horse trainer and driver and proves that with hard work & good will, anything is possible.

Sadly, Paul's wife Jessie ('Mommom') died in the fall of 2013. Mommom was also a huge supporter of following your dreams.

Cast of Characters