For those who are interested, here’s the passage plan Andrew generated for the Cabot Strait crossing as part of his introduction to the cruising life:
To safely deliver Windleblo and her crew from Ingonish Harbor, Nova Scotia, to Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland, a voyage of 83 nautical miles across the Cabot Strait.
Inclement weather, and more specifically high winds or unpleasant seas, presents the biggest constraints for this passage. Every effort will be made to select an optimal weather window prior to departure.
Careful attention will be paid to weather forecasts in the days leading up to the passage. During this time, Windleblo will be anchored in Ingonish Harbor, Nova Scotia, Canada, which has limited wifi Internet access. Information on weather conditions and sea state will be obtained primarily through the Internet www.windguru.com, www.passageweather.com, and Environment Canada marine forecasting broadcast on VHF and available on the Environment Canada website.
While at sea, weather information will be obtained periodically using the Canadian VHF Weather Radio. Due to the short length of the passage, an expected 20 hrs,, weather data obtained beforehand should be reliable for the duration of the passage. GRIB file data will be requested and delivered using the VHF Radio. Due to expiration of a subscription with Sailmail, the onboard SSB radio not will be used as a backup to send and receive GRIB files.
Assuming an average speed over ground of four knots, the passage will take approximately 20 hours.
Departure & Arrival Times
The crew will initially assemble in Ingonish Harbor on August 5th, with August 7th being the best day for departure, as determined by the weather forecasts. Departure time from Ingonish Harbor will be dictated by the timing of the weather window selected for the voyage. Although not mandatory given the straightforward pilotage from Ingonish Harbor, departure ideally would occur in daylight at slack tide. More preferably, though, departure would occur late in the day to ensure daylight arrival without adjusting speed as we approach the coast of Newfoundland. Arrival at Isle Aux Morts will occur in daylight, preferably at slack tide.
Tides & Currents
Currents between Ingonish Harbor and Isle Aux Morts, as reported by weather.gc.ca are negligible. The tidal range in Isle Aux Morts is approximately one meter. Overall, tides and currents do not present a significant constraint for this passage.
Once clear of near shore hazards, equipment failure and an unanticipated excessive increase in wind speed or sea state present the primary hazards that might be encountered en route. Commercial shipping and fishing traffic also present potential hazards and will be given a wide berth. Finally, fog may present a hazard. If encountered, speed will be reduced, sound signals will be employed, and electronic navigation will be used to confirm ongoing position fixing.
To ensure safe passage while in confined waters, pilotage sketches will be prepared for Isle aux Morts and Ingonish Harbor. They include the position and nature of hazards and ATONs and show clearing bearings, danger bearings, and other key information to guide navigation. Just outside Ingonish Harbor, the significant headland, Cape Egmont, presents a hazard. Additionally, the significant headland outside Isle aux Morts, Cape Ray, will present a hazard. As well, outside of Isle aux Morts, there are the hazards of Duck Island, which will present a hazard. All will be given a wide berth. ATONs and charted land based features will be employed to ensure accurate position fixing and safe passage. Outside of Isle aux Morts, 1.33 NM to the southeast is Southeast Rock, as well. In addition on the entrance to Isle aux Morts, there are multiple shallow areas, marked by green and red ATONS that present challenges to entry at Isle aux Morts.
Seasickness presents an additional potential hazard to planned functioning of the vessel. Should debilitating seasickness strike one of the crew, the voyage will continue with reduced crew strength. If more crew members become sick, a decision will be reached as to whether refuge should be sought. Seasickness medication will be available to any crew desiring it.
Given the duration of this voyage, the weather forecast should be reliable. Although favorable wind direction and speed will be primary considerations in selecting a weather window for this passage, the possibility of a change in either must be considered. Should the wind change direction or intensity, we will simply trim and/or reef sails and adopt a new point of sail. If winds end up on the nose, we will fire up the iron sail.
Windleblo will start the crossing with full diesel fuel tanks, giving the boat a 600+ nautical mile cruising range under engine power.
A two person crew has volunteered for this voyage. Jack Hoopes, co-owner of Windleblo, will skipper. Andrew Werner will serve as crew. One of the two members of the Windleblo Cabot Strait Crossing crew is a credentialed RYA Yachtmaster.
The Skipper will be on deck for departure from Ingonish Harbor and arrival into Isle aux Morts and will take an equal share of the watch cycle. The watch schedule will be determined by the crew prior to departure. As an initial proposal, each crew member will serve three hour watches. Relief should arrive at least five minutes before the start of their assigned watch for a hand over briefing.
Should outside assistance become necessary, it will be requested using VHF Channel 16. In addition to nearby vessels, this channel is monitored by the Canadian coast guard, which can deploy Search and Rescue resources. Additionally, SSB can be used to contact send a Distress signal.
Jocelyn Hoopes, co-owner of Windleblo, is the designated responsible party on shore with information about the planned passage. She can be reached at +1-303-810-7513. As a backup, Roni Teitelbaum is Windleblo’s ongoing Shoreside Coordinator. Her mobile number is +1-303-549-5881.
This passage is well within the limits of the skipper, the crew, and the boat.
Route and Navigation
Redundant electronic chart will be used for the navigation of this trip. The route once clear of near shore hazards is essentially a rhumb line of 063 degrees True originating at N046 37.78, W060 24.87. The boat’s position will be continuously monitored using a Furuno MFD8 NavNet onboard electronic navigation system. As backup, position fixes are available through redundant electronic vector charts carried on both laptop-based MaxSea Time Zero navigation software and an iPad-based iNavX chart plotter.
Concerning suitable places of refuge, Dingwall on the northeast coast of Nova Scotia offers refuge for the first third of the crossing. Thereafter, no refuge is available until Newfoundland though in the middle third of the voyage the possibility exists of turning west toward Baie Du Havre aux Basques for refuge if weather and sea conditions favor this heading.
PFDs with integrated harnesses shall be worn by crew at all times when in the cockpit or on deck.
All crew will be tethered to a hull strong point or jack lines at all times when in the cockpit or on deck.
At least two crew members will be on deck whenever work outside the cockpit is necessary.
If below decks, the Skipper will be called on deck for any unusual circumstance or if crew has any uncertainty as to how to proceed.
Windleblo carries a significant inventory of spare parts, supplies, and safety equipment on board as a precaution against adversity. A 406 EPIRB, six-person AVON canister life raft, and fully stocked ditch bag are readily available should abandoning ship become necessary. Ditch bag supplies include portable water maker, handheld GPS, handheld VHF radio, food and water. Similar emergency equipment and supplies are included in the life raft.
Well prior to departure, the crew will collaborate on menu planning for the crossing. Meals will be cooked in advance and kept under refrigeration to ease preparation while under way. A hearty supper will be served on the evening prior to departure. Ongoing hydration through consumption of water and/or water spiked with Emergen-C vitamin powder will be encouraged.
Windleblo will depart Ingonish Harbor with fresh water tanks ¾ full. Windleblo’s fresh water tank capacity is 460 liters (122 gallons), which will more than meet crew needs for fresh water (see calculation below). None-the-less, bottled drinking water will be purchased in Halifax and stored on board.
Water management plan:
Drinking water: two liters minimum per person per day 4 liters
Fresh water shower: est. eight liters per shower x one per person 16 liters
Fresh water washing for people & dishes, est. ten liters per person 20 liters
Total estimated water consumption 40 liters
Add safety factor of 10% 4 liters
Total water requirement 44 liters
Customs and Immigration
No customs or immigration processes will be required, as we are staying within Canadian territory.