Annapolis to British Virgin Islands with 59-North
The month of November saw me off to join forces, once again, with 59-North as relief mate aboard their S&S Swan 48, ISBJØRN. I met the boat, and her new full-time Norwegian captain, August Sandberg, in Annapolis. After taking on the paying crew, doing a full briefing and determining the weather window, we set sail for Tortola, BVI, just behind ICE BEAR – 59-North’s Swan 59.
After a cold, breezy run down the Chesapeake and out across the gulf stream, the full winter foul-weather gear began to shed – replaced by bare feet, t-shirts and sunglasses. Besides a few squalls, the weather and conditions were nearly perfect. By the time we had gone east to Bermuda and turned right to catch the trade winds, we were taking night watches in t-shirts.
My second passage this year, on ISBJØRN, through the Bermuda Triangle was mostly without drama. About 60 hours from Tortola, in the middle of the night with an easy 15knts of breeze on the beam and a gentle sea state, August and I were shocked awake by an extremely loud bang. Not only was it loud, I could feel it in the boat in a way I’d never experienced. It only took a few minutes to determine that the forestay eyebolt at the deck had sheered, leaving the forestay free-flying and nothing supporting the front end of the mast-head. Thankfully, we had the inner-forestay rigged and therefore did not lose the mast! We were able to roll up the genoa, secure spare halyards forward and motor-sail the final 60 hours into the BVI.
It was a great passage with a fantastic crew and a truly incredible captain. My good friends and owners of 59-North, Andy & Mia, continue to impress me with the team they are building and the program they are running. It’s such a great experience getting to work for them, and to go ocean sailing as part of their team.
And another sweet perk of the job – Deb and kids got to fly down and we all spent Thanksgiving aboard the big boat, ICE BEAR, with Andy & Mia, with August and some of the other crew on ISBJØRN in tandem. It was super fun to easy cruise the BVI, swimming every time the boat even slowed down, snorkeling and exploring the islands.
Big thanks to Andy & Mia for giving me so many opportunities to grow as an ocean sailor!