July 18, 2019
Noon Position: 55 16N 51 05W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): N 7 – 8
Wind(t/tws): SE 25
Sea(t/ft): SE 7
Sky/10ths Cover: Fog, varies from 100ft viz to 1 mile.
Bar(mb): 1002, falling slowly
On-deck Temp(f): 55 (51 at 6am)
Cabin Temp(f): 61
Water Temp(f): 46
Relative Humidity(%): 63
Magnetic Variation: -20.6
Sail: Working jib, three reefs, main two reefs, broad reach on starboard
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 162
Miles since departure: 32,219
Leg Newfoundland to Nuuk
Fast all night with wind deep on the quarter and the jib poled out to starboard; it carried one reef, as did the main. By morning wind veered slightly eastward and hardened into the high twenties without ever hitting thirty. I moved the jib to leeward, put three rolls into it and another reef in the main. And on that configuration, we’ve churned right along all day.
First came fog, then fog with rain, now fog with wind, but ever since losing sight of Newfoundland, fog has surrounded us. Three days; 472 miles, and always fog.
Fog with wind and the boat approaching hull speed is unnerving. This afternoon I was reading from the Canadian Arctic Sailing Directions general introduction, a book in which words like “danger,” “caution,” “hazard,” seem to be featured in every paragraph.
I was paying particular attention to the section on ice collision dangers when the radar alarm sounded. The targets were dead ahead and less than a quarter mile distant, but stare as I might, I couldn’t see them. The fog had dropped so fully that I couldn’t discern where it ended and the water began.
Most likely they were breakers, I say; the sea is, after all, starting to stand up. The targets repeated, but only twice. I waited. Nothing.
According to the forecasts, the sea should be clear here. Several alarms later and nothing sighted, I bumped up the gain on the radar. Now no more alarms, but what am I missing?
Lacking experience, much is taken on faith. That the forecasts are right. That the radar will still find dangers, even with the gain up. “Trust your gear,” the mountain climber would say.
At 6pm, we cross over the 56N line. Now we are further north than Cape Horn took us south.
On we climb.
Half way to Nuuk.