Andy Schell offers essential advice on how to prepare for a high-latitude sailing adventure
I’ve just returned home from skippering 59º North’s Farr 65 Falken Annapolis in Maryland and Isafjordur on the north-west coast of Iceland. Over 3,000 miles were covered, via the magnificent Prince Christian Sound of southern Greenland. We did it in style and safety, navigating through fog, ice and unpredictable weather, while maintaining a strict schedule.
I’m proud of the fact that my first mate and I made it look easy for the paying crew who joined us this summer. In truth, like every big ocean passage, the ‘making-it-look-easy’ part is all down to preparation, the part our guest crew don’t get to see. With the right prep, all that’s left is the execution.
I should start with the disclaimer that I’m no high latitude sailing expert. I’ve made two major voyages further north: this most recent one via the Viking Route in Greenland and Iceland; and in the summer of 2018 my wife, Mia, and I sailed our Swan 48 Isbjørn to 80°N in Spitsbergen, then south to Iceland, also with paying crew. So what follows is my thoughts on high latitude sailing in ‘normal’…