09/09/2014 1440 UTC
Were off! Anchor pulled, chain removed and stowed in the locker.
We had a nice sail, broad reaching with bread in the oven. Then the winds dropped off and became fluky from the SE.
Samantha made a Fantastic curry and we enjoyed it as the sun dropped behind us.
The evening became a grind in the sloppy seas. But a Full moon lit the sky beautifully.
Cold and tired. Need to sleep more than write.
It warmed up today to a flat smooth sea. Only a swell beneath us, sends a free helm off course.
I fired up some nice ham soup and garlic toast on the woodstove. Having spices onboard is great. There is no end to the variety one can create.
Samantha and I have honed in our watch schedule in cold weather.
At night we take 90 minutes off, after sail changes or reefs are made (We do that at shift change). Then during the day, we take longer shifts. I am beginning a 3 hour sleep, unless the weather kicks up hard.
Sleep, water and warmth. These are the prize commodities’.
I took a nice long turn at the helm and saw all the weather. Clear and warm, clear and cold, calm, snow, sleet, rain. Then finally some steady NE wind.
I was getting cold and tired of hearing the engine. So I went to the foredeck, hoisted the Jib and shut off the engine. Enjoying some real sailing.
I like this sail combo. (Full Mizzen, Staysail and Jib with a double reefed main) Reason being, In only minutes we can douse the headsails and mizzen. Then slap in the last reef and heave too if need be.
Which is good. Because a big Low south of us is tracking North. The seas are already building.
We plotted and reviewed the weather data together and think it will miss us for the most part. Leaving some higher winds and seas in our path. Overall we are in a good place and will work tonight to gain some sea room from Baffin Island.
Samantha made some great rice pudding, with oatmeal and hunks of chocolate bunny that really hit the spot.
Our progress is good, but we both agree, we are ready to be in Greenland, See our families, get married and enjoy the winter together. (Los of plans!)
I pumped the bilge which is very little water, and tightened the Alt Belt. The engine is running well and the fuel is clean.
Id like to play my Mando but I should sleep… OK just for a minute…
09/11/2014 1448 hrs
We are almost ½ way to Greenland. Still no wind… I added 17 gallons to the fuel tank this morning.
Had a good sail yesterday but the wind remains light and fluky for the most part. Overall we are making good time and are thankful for our happy engine.
Last night we saw it all. Rain, snow, sleet, fog, stars, fog, rain…. Just no wind.
The good news is it looks like the storm will miss us to the east and a high pressure should fill in behind us. We shall see.
Finally sailing a steady wind! Just as my shift began the wind built to N 10. I shut off the engine, eased the sheets and ran up the Jib. This put us back in my favorite ocean set up, with a double reefed main and all else flying full.
Since then we’ve been bee lining for Aasiaat at 5 plus knots, and seven at times. It feels so good to have Empiricus back in her element. Samantha is at the helm driving us on while I catch a doze. Tonight we will change our shift schedule. As she is a natural morning person and I am a night owl. I will take a long shift during the dark hours and she will relieve me in the morning.
2320 hrs UTC
That was the best sailing yet this year! The North wind was blowing fresh and we mowed over boiling 5 foot rollers the entire time. Then it blew hard for an hour, just as we passed a large berg.
The winds have begun to switch Northwest, so I doused the headsails and mizzen. Leaving for a nice broad reach under the double reefed main. This gives 4.5 knots and comfortable control into nightfall.
Less then 300 miles to go.
09/12/2014 1630 UTC
Wind died last night leaving a sloppy big sea behind. Fired up the motor and caught all the wind puffs I could with the little main.
230 miles to go. We are tired. Enjoying the process.
Light fluky winds on the bow. Rain, sleet and melting snow.
Enjoying the process…
The wood stove is fantastic!
09/13/2014 2354 UTC
69 deg 34 min N by 58 deg 00 min W
Power sailed and slogged through a sloppy sea today, but the wind is on our beam now and we are quietly slicing the ocean at 5 plus knots, straight for Aasiaat, 115 miles away. Time to sleep. If all goes well we will make port by nightfall tomorrow.
09/14/2014 1057 UTC
The winds picked up out of the south and we are sailing hard now. But only intermittently. The winds die off then blow hard regularly.
We have reports that a gale is approaching from the southeast. This is a problem because we are headed Southeast for Aasiaat.
I woke Samantha from her slumber, with the gut feeling we should reef early, as dark wet cells of snow, rain and hail, passed us over, every 30 minutes or so and the Barometer is rapidly dropping.
We threw in a tripe reef and talked about the gale forecast. After a quick look at the chart, it was clear that Godhaven was much closer then Aasiaat, as well as in more favor with the forecast wind direction.
The decision was easy and we tacked North. We had 22 Nautical miles to go and made 15 of that quite quickly until the winds built. But true to arctic fashion, the intensity was fairly accurate, but the direction was not. It was now blowing near Gale from the Northeast, with Godhaven directly to windward.
Now in the past, we have chosen to heave too at night, keeping ice watch. But that was in clear water, with no visible ice or shoreline. This situation was diferrent.
There were numerous, very large burgs in all directions as well as a jagged unforgiving coastline.
We also had good visibility and a few hours of daylight. We decided to sheet in hard and beat to windward. So that is what we did.
We hauled in the triple reef and held a full staysail with the mizzen down. At first the wind was a bity fluky, hammering hard, then easing, leaving a lumpy sea and too little sail area. So we carried on engine power at partial throttle. This way we kept water moving over the rudder when cresting large waves, or wind lulls.
However once the wind passed 30 knots, the engine was not needed and Empiricus pointed quite nicely!
Our plotter showed a steady 45 degree tack to windward at speeds of 3.5-5.5 knots, but the helm was tricky and required constant attention.
This type of sailing and conditions is exhausting. Again, had we been in open ocean or even 20 miles to leeward, where the burgs are less frequent. We would have hove too.
With Godhaven in striking distance, the rally was worth it. The seas were steady 6-8 foot with the occasional much larger waves coming in sets of 3. Most of our windward progress was made between these large sets.
During one particular tack from Port to Starboard, we took a great gust. Samantha was sheeting the staysail quite hard, while I steered and tailed the sheet. Just as the gust hit us, the winch tore free from the deck, spinning free from the taut sheet like a spinning chrome die, cast onto a table.
I tacked back immediately and we gained speed again. Quick thinking Samantha suggested using the cockpit halyard winch for the Port Staysail Sheet and set that into play. Withing 30 seconds we tacked back to port and were stomping hard near the harbor entrance.
Once behind a spit of land, the waves subsided and we continued tacking as we dodged the rocks in the entrance.
Once in the outer harbor I doused the sails and we made a circle inside the harbor, looking for a suitable mooring.
At 2300 hours we were tied to the sheet pile dock in front of a fish processing plant and turned in for the night.
This was a great night for Samantha and I as we felt not only accomplished, but once again refined as a team and also very proud of our little ship, who seems to carry us through anything in relative comfort.
We explored Godhaven and took a hike in the local hills around town. What a beautiful and desolate place.
We found Godhaven a pleasant enough place but lacking in any public services such as showers etc.
As soon as we saw a weather window, we would sail for Aasiaat.
09/17/2014 1052 hrs
We cast our lines for Aasiaat, having cleaned up the boat and plugged the winch holes.
We made good speed and finished the day under a nice broad reach in a dying wind.
Numerous beautiful large burgs were encountered along the way, which we enjoyed seeing, especially to our stern. Enough Ice for a while….
1845 Moored alongside Leu Mongier in Aasiaat! Though we only met briefly in Cambridge Bay, it was like seeing family when we arrived.
We are out of time to sail any farther then Aasiaat this year and are quite content staying here for the winter. There is a fine shipyard here where we may or may not haul out.
I have much to write about regarding this voyage and what we learned, which I am excited to continue posting through this winter. Stay tuned!