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Old 07-01-2011, 16:16   #1
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Sailing to / from Newfoundland

Hi everyone

I am contemplating several options for a cross atlantic journey from Scotland to the American Continent. I am very much tempted by the idea of taking a northern route, i.e. great circle from Cape Wrath to New Foundland, landing in S:t Johns. However I have been warned that fog and ice make this a hazardous route, and I would like to get some opinions about how people cope with these risks while crossing the infamous waters affected by the drifting ice bergs around New Foundland.

Should these waters be avoided altogether, or are there strategies for coping with the dangers?

Very grateful for any answers relevant

Peter Hammar

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Old 07-01-2011, 16:29   #2
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Hello, Peter! First, check out the International Ice Patrol. I'm no good at putting in web sights, but Google will get it. Then, for some fun photos, look up This guy has circled Newfoundland, as it's spelled on this side of the pond, and taken wonderful photos along the way. He also has some tremendous advice. Good luck, and let me know if you get as far as Maine. We'll toss back a few.


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Old 08-01-2011, 09:26   #3
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What time of year are you planning to come this way?

Have a look at Canada's National Climate and Weather Data Archive for information on weather and ice conditions.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:32   #4
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Peter.

Welcome to the International Ice Patrol.

See the Ice Limits, below:
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:36   #5
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Thanks for good advice, everyone.
Here is a slightly more detailed background: I am planning to cross the atlantic in one way or the other before I turn 40, and currently spend a lot of time considering different routes from Scotland to America. I am limited to the summer months and do not plan to make extended visits. For me, the crossing of the Atlantic is the main objective and I will probably do it in one concentrated effort, only staing long enough to rest and make repairs. Roughly; two main alternatives have emerged; either avoiding the waters affected by ice altogether, wich brings me down to a point well to the SE of Newfoundland, before turning west to any port of choice in the Northeast US.

Or; deciding that ice bergs and fog are dangers that can be coped with and instead laying out the route along the great circle from Scotland to Newfoundland, and back. This makes it a considerably shorter one, and I would have more generous time limits. This is why I want to know: is sailing through the ice zone single handed in a 29 ft GRP-yacht possible? The people who do it, how do they keep a look out during the night? Radar? How to avoid submerged ice blocks?


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Old 09-01-2011, 03:56   #6
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I have no experience with the passage you are contemplating, although I did cruise to Newfoundland in early summer 2003 (Diapensia's 2003 Newfoundland Voyage).

I suggest you contact John Harries and Phyllis Nickel aboard Morgan's Cloud -- Attainable Adventure Cruising, Morgan’s Cloud

You might also try contacting Dave Martin -- IceBlink Sail - Homepage

Are you planning to stop in the Faroes and in Iceland on your way east?

As far as the icebergs and fog around Newfoundland, I gather it's often a matter of timing, as in what time of year you'll be in the area. June perhaps not so good, August maybe OK, for example. If you check the Atlas of Pilot Charts and/or the Ice Patrol archives, you can probably get a sense of the "average" extent of ice and fog in the area in the different months, and thus plan your passage accordingly. Still you will want to figure out some way of getting ahold of the current ice survey charts while en-route (sat phone internet) or at least just before casting off.

Good Luck,


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