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Old 29-08-2014, 17:32   #16
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post

BTW . . . with respect to the NWP this summer - a very thin route has opened up along the eastern shore of the main choke point. There are still two blockages but I believe with a man up the mast you would find leads thru. So I believe it is going to be 'open but a bit tricky'.
Sounds like a small drone would be pretty useful.
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Old 29-08-2014, 18:40   #17
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

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What type of radar do you have and how large of icebergs were you able to detect? My boat is a fin keel with 1/2 inch? glass hull, so a car size berg could spell disaster. My plan would be to sail about 20 miles off the coast of Canada then sail east to Nuuk.
We have a quite old 4kw (48mile) furuno radar. I put a guard zone on at 3nm.

It will pick up house size (above water) pieces in decent conditions (no fog or rain and small waves). Remember that 9/10's is under water, so house size above water is a big chunk of ice. In bad conditions - dense fog, rain, big waves, it does not see any ice.

I have an aluminum hull and still figure hitting car size would be a very unhappy time. I did hit numerous big bucket size bits which just scraped the antifouling paint. I also hit a pretty big log on the Newfoundland coast.

There seem to be two best routes to greenland. The one I took was from Hawke bay (which is a terrific anchorage with an abandoned whaling station in it) across. this is on the NE corner of the pennsula that sticks out toward greenland. It is the shortest offshore route (4 days for Hawk) to greenland. Just before Hawke bay is Fox Harbour, which is a working fishing town with a good pier, fuel, water and food stores. The other option is to leave from St. John's newfoundland. That is longer but is usually a path more quickly clearer of offshore bergs.

I would suggest making greenland landfall at Qornoq - its a well protected anchorage easy to enter in any weather, just south (a day sail) of nuuk.

Getting to greenland is in fact the easy part. Coming back is harder, as there are prevailing SW winds (from straits of belle isle and south) for the summer.
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Old 29-08-2014, 19:28   #18
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

I had plans on doing this a couple of years ago. I got as far as Battle Harbour, NL and chickened out. As Evans says getting there is the easy part, I had a good weather window and could have done it fine.

But the damn Labrador current is COLD. I had a day of 40F air, 25 knots, and 32F water. Got to dodging bergy bits disassociated from the grounded bergs. Just could NOT see coming back through that.

I was solo. Had I crew or two it would have been different.

Good luck.
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Old 03-09-2014, 18:00   #19
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014





Looks like we are approaching the minimum sea ice extent for this year. Nowhere close to record levels, but still below the 2000's average amount.

As Evans Starzinger noted in a few days ago, and as can be crudely seen on the second image, most of one of the NWP routes is open. By this time next month new sea ice will be forming.
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Old 04-09-2014, 21:32   #20
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

This is what happens when people act on alarmist predictions of "ice-free" passage:

Victoria Strait Expedition team rescues trapped boat from ice


Victoria Strait Expedition team rescues trapped boat from ice - Canadian Geographic
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Old 26-09-2014, 11:21   #21
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

I'm at the (very) early stages of planning a Round-the-AMericas voyage, departing from Europe via the North West Passage. Does anyone have any real life experience in using a thermal camera for ice detection, which, apparently can also spot growlers? It is a costly piece of equipment, but as it could potentially avoid a collision with all the consequences thereof, the cost is probably worth it.


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Old 26-09-2014, 12:02   #22
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Northwest Passage - 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I did this summer.



This summer was the worse iceberg year since 2003.



There was a bit of a 'Russian roulette' aspect to the sailing. You could see the big bergs on radar, and you sailed upwind of them hoping all the small (eg car sized) bits were floating off the downwind side. But sometimes there were not.



That all said, lots of fiberglass boats go up there, and have no problem at all.



Its very pretty.



Bring bug nets and mosquito coils!



BTW . . . with respect to the NWP this summer - a very thin route has opened up along the eastern shore of the main choke point. There are still two blockages but I believe with a man up the mast you would find leads thru. So I believe it is going to be 'open but a bit tricky'.

Hi Evans,

Please help me understand this logic. I have no experience with sailing in ice, but what you describe is contrary to what I was taught (many years ago) in the Navy. We were always taught that in the event of an abandon ship situation to leave the ship on the upwind side to avoid being run over by the sinking ship which is now being driven by the wind.

The logic that was explained to me was that the wind would move the large ship much faster than small boats and swimmers. So staying upwind was preferred.

Using that same logic it would seem like a small ice mass breaking off of a larger ice mass would theoretically end up on the upwind side. So staying downwind would be safer in my mind.

Again, I have never sailed up there and you have. If not for your experience I would have done the exact opposite. Someday I do hope to cross the North Atlantic and may find myself in this situation.

I look forward to your reply.

Thanks


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Old 26-09-2014, 12:28   #23
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

Denis,

I haven't sailed in ice either, but from what i have read to date is that the icebergs drift with the prevailing drift and are not affected by the wind due to their mass underwater, but the smaller pieces are more prone to be wind driven


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Old 26-09-2014, 14:18   #24
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

My assumption would be that both the larger bits and smaller bits of ice are 90% under water, but the top layer of water is actually moved a bit by the wind, so the smaller bits would be more wind affected. Breaking waves (but not non-breaking ones) would also push smaller bits in the direction of the wind.
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Old 26-09-2014, 16:40   #25
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
My assumption would be that both the larger bits and smaller bits of ice are 90% under water, but the top layer of water is actually moved a bit by the wind, so the smaller bits would be more wind affected. Breaking waves (but not non-breaking ones) would also push smaller bits in the direction of the wind.

Thanks. I was wondering about this exactly. I'm glad I asked because if I just went off on my own I would have thought differently.


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Old 26-09-2014, 21:28   #26
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

Arctic sea ice is subject to both the Transpolar Drift and Beaufort Gyre. Rather than cutting and pasting, you may want to check that out.

Dynamics: Circulation | National Snow and Ice Data Center
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Old 27-09-2014, 06:36   #27
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

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Arctic sea ice is subject to both the Transpolar Drift and Beaufort Gyre. Rather than cutting and pasting, you may want to check that out.

Dynamics: Circulation | National Snow and Ice Data Center

That's a very comprehensive read. Thanks for sharing.


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Old 27-09-2014, 08:10   #28
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

"Alarmist Predictions"...LOL
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Old 27-09-2014, 21:52   #29
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

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Originally Posted by FloatingDutchMn View Post
I'm at the (very) early stages of planning a Round-the-AMericas voyage, departing from Europe via the North West Passage. Does anyone have any real life experience in using a thermal camera for ice detection, which, apparently can also spot growlers? It is a costly piece of equipment, but as it could potentially avoid a collision with all the consequences thereof, the cost is probably worth it.
I found this idea fascinating. Google wasn't much of a friend, and I didn't find any decent data in the few minutes I spent searching, so I decided to generate my own with a completely unscientific but very entertaining experiment.

I have access to a recording thermal camera, so I figured I'd give it a shot and see what happens. Lacking access to any real ice bergs, I used a bucket filled with water and ice from our ice machine.

The pics are:

A bucket of ice
Ice dumped at the base of a tree
A bucket of ice with no water
A bucket of ice filled with water
Ice water with my thumb for contrast
Ice water stirred up for a while

As I discovered, this camera is able to differentiate ice from cold water, even when the water is really cold. Now, I'm not willing to go so far as to extrapolate these results into berg spotting abilities, but I did have a good time doing it.

JRM
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Old 28-09-2014, 10:00   #30
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Re: Northwest Passage - 2014

Hey, that is fantastic! Raymarine's website has good info on their thermal cameras, but nothing beats real independent confirmation.

As far as boat is concerned, I'm seriously considering a Neel 45, and will visit the boatyard in La Rochelle very soon


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