Saturday, September 7, 2013

The hard decision is made to leave S/V EMPIRICUS in Cambridge Bay for the winter - OUCH!!!

Tuktoyuktuk to Cambridge Bay.

September 5, 2013 by empiricusembarks

We left Tuktoyuktuk in heavy East weather.

The tempuratures dropped rapidly and it was hard work making ground to windward.

we spent about 12 hours at Cape Bathurst, before catching favorable winds East. Then sail we did, all the way to Johansen Bay.

Will at the helm while we approach Cambridge Bay

Now in the peppered Islands of Coronation Gulf, a heavy Gale from the west set in. The choices at hand were grim.

1. Sail the Gale and possibly make an exit on the East end of the passage.

2. Stop and take refuge, possibly delaying or stopping our transit of the passage this year.

I chose to take refuge in Johansen Bay. 40 knot winds, heavy fog and poorly charted waters are an unacceptable combination of obsticles, when one has an alternate choice.

We located a commercial mooring in Johansen bay and secured to it.

We have video footage of our 3 day stay there. I had never surfed 3-6 foot seas at anchor before. we rode the mooring with constant chafe issues, shock load, and yaw problems the whole time, while motoring against the wind. it was the safest option, but far less than restful.

Forming the Hamdo, body

Ham. Dolin

I tried killing some time as the Gale began to subside by building a “Hamdolin”. My own musical creation. It was fun and helped my mind rest.

After the Gale

Once the gale broke, we sailed hard for Cambridge Bay.

while in transit, my mind began to add up the docket of challenges ahead, and resourses remaining. In a nutchell, these were my major conserns.

1. Isaac needed to return to School and homeschool underway was not an option at the time.

2. Will needed to return home to his family (More important than sailing)

3. The ice was still very thick on the East end.

4. Early freezup was predicted, 2 weeks ahead of recent history.

5. Our rudderpost seal was leaking in heavy weather (20 gallons per hour at times) wich required nearly constant pumping.

I knew that if we continued on, and were blocked by ice, we would be forced to return to Cambridge bay, with a skeleton crew to haul out.

If beset in the ice, or forced to stay in another community freezing in was the backup plan, but I cannot legally work in Canada. Nor can I afford to go jobless this winter.

I plan on writing an article on this decision as it was complex. But aside from the details, I decided to end our transit for 2013 in Cambridge Bay. It was time to slow down. Connect with the people of the Arctic and enjoy what we worked so hard and sailed so long to see.

It was time to remember our ever living motto “Enjoy the process”

Sailing Hard over Cape Bathurst

We sailed into Cambridge Bay on the 25th of August. Will and Dan both departed within 24 hours.

While Isaac, Jason and I remained to haul the boat.

We had many adventures in Cambridge Bay, which I will share in an upcoming post!

Here is a news link regarding the Arctic this year. What an amazing time.


Meet The Northwest Passage Crew:

Capt. Jesse Osborn

Capt. Jesse Osborn learned to sail in Alaska in 2006 and for the most part, on his own. After having raced in Kethikan Ak, Sailing the west coast of BC and Alaska multiple times and crossing the Gulf Of Alaska 5 times he is anxious for a bigger adventure. A journey around the globe. When he is not sailing, he works as a Captain for hire, Mechanic in the Oilfield, Truck Diver,hazard tree tech, welder, handy man or sailmaker. All in the name of perpetuating and funding these voyages and providing for his family.

Jesse has 2 sons. Isaac 15 and Steven 12 who have sailed the ocean since they can remember. Jesse’s goals and hopes are to share this world exploration with his family. As well as share his dream of sailing the world, with others who wish to crew such voyages.

Jesse Osborn, July 2013 sailing to Kodiak.

Navigator Isaac Osborn

Learning how to sail at a young age with his father, at the age of 11, Isaac crossed the Gulf of Alaska for the first time. Since then he has crewed another cross gulf delivery voyage, as well as a delivery to Seattle. 

Isaac inspecting the rigging. July 2012

Isaacs skills at the helm and the chart table are reliable and ever growing. Outside of sailing, he’s involved in many sports and Civil Air Patrol.

Crewmember Daniel Duame

Dan and Mary Duame, June 2012
Dan is a 29 year resident of Alaska living in Palmer with his wife Merry. They have one daughter, Kari, and an exceptionally beautiful 1 ½ year old granddaughter, Ayla. For the last nine years Dan’s day job has been Executive Director of an Alaska Native Regional Housing Authority, a position which he loves and feels truly blessed to be in. Great people to work with, and for, and a rare opportunity to be part of a great team meeting that most essential of human needs – a place to call home. He is also an attorney, carpenter & furniture maker with a passion for all outdoor adventure. While without an extensive sailing resume, sailing has been a lifelong passion and he does own a D&M 22 which he rebuilt from a bare hull and which he loves to spend as much time on in Seward as he can. Dan joined Capt. Osborn and fellow crew mate Will Watson this last fall for the first leg of our “great adventure,” and is thrilled to be part of the crew preparing to take Empiricus up and over the top of the world to Greenland in the fall.

Capt. Jason Wilson

Jason Wilson is able to join the crew in 2013 for the Northwest Passage transit.

Jason helping set the roll cage on Empiricus. June 2012

Jason is also a licensed Captain / handyman and jack of all trades. He and Jesse have sailed together through out Resurrection Bay. As well as the “Inside Passage” to Seattle, under trying conditions. He has his own sailing vessel “Katabatic” a Mercator 30 which he sails out of Seward with his wife Oksana.

Captain Jason Wilson, sailing his vessel “Katabatic” Winter 2012

Jason is in charge of provisioning and rationing for the 2013 Northwest Passage Transit.

Will Watson

Will grew up sailing the Atlantic and southern oceans with his grandfather. He is an excellent sailor, team member and a medic to boot.

In this picture, Will “Right” shares the cockpit with Dan Duame on approach to Kodiak Island July 2012.

Dan and Will under sail to Kodiak

Will also has a knack for film making and will be in charge of capturing the Northwest Passage transit on video. as well as editing the film following our voyage. We hope to enter the film in a 2014 Film Festival, in an effort to share our motivations and exploration.

Will on the fore deck, on approach to Kodiak. July 2012

The Kodiak to Nome Crew

Sailing the Northern approach to Nome with Captain Osborn will be
Steven Osborn and Rachel James.

Steven first sailed across the Gulf of alaska at 7 years old.

Steven Osborn testing his “Gumby Suit” July 2012

He can stand a watch and hold a course better than most. Sailing has been a large part of his education and like his brother Isaac. Has grown up aboard Empiricus.

Rachel James

Rachel is a professional in the social services field seeking to exercise her MA in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development in developing nations around the world.

Rachel in sunny Hawaii

She is also studying for her Ham Radio license. In preparation for monitoring and updating Empiricus’s progress. Following her voyage to Nome Alaska.

Rachel and her daughter Safiyyah.


Comments please.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Enter your comment(s) here...