Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Diary of an Atlantic crossing
We are shortly giving a talk on heavy weather sailing at the ISA Cruising Conference. I recently came across my diary from our first Atlantic crossing in 2008. I was reminded that the markets collapsed while we were at sea. As all we had was an SSB radio, we didn't really know about anything happening in the world, so it didn't matter. We sailed north from New York to Canada and then set off for Westport, Ireland from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Herb Hilgenberg was our weather router and Matt aboard s/v Ault was the only other sailor in the northern North Atlantic. That it turned out to be Matt Rutherford is a whole other story.
The funny part was this map that I drew in my diary. As you can see, I never completed the map but rest assured that we did arrive safely in Ireland some three weeks after departing, but not without plenty of adventure. You can read more here. As a matter of fact, that trip was where we got most of our heavy weather sailing experience. We were in intense fog until approaching the Flemish Cap where we crossed the Labrador Current and the fog lifted. It's also where the gales started. Needless to say, we did not sail the rhumb line. We hove to twice and sailed back west for a day to get out of the way of a strong storm with "life threatening" conditions, per Herb. We couldn't sail NE as we wanted, but had to keep going east until we got a break to go straight north.
We departed Halifax July 23 and arrived at Ross August 16 after 25 days at sea. It was miserable and beautiful, frustrating and terrifying. But, wow, were we alive throughout this adventure, and we lived to tell about it.