Thursday, September 10, 2009


The most difficult part of the Northwest Passage so far is not the ice, the cold, or the desolate landscape. It is the wind. Or, the absence of wind. I had been told by others who had done the passage to carry enough fuel to be able to motor for at least 1000 nautical miles. This required me carrying an extra sixteen jerry cans of fuel on deck giving me a calm sea motoring range of 1100 nautical miles including heater use. The drawback to this, is that to go 1100 miles I would have to motor for nine days. That is nine 24 hour days. So far, we have ended up using our motor for the entire passage. We either had completely no wind, and I have never seen water so still, or we had wind from the wrong direction and the passage was to narrow to let us use it. The end result is we have spent the last three weeks motoring almost non stop. The throbbing pulsing stinky evil that motoring brings slowly works on you. It literally wears you out. It inhibits conversation. The other difficulty motoring brings is that it means that we have to hand steer, hand on the tiller, 24/7. So, the hard part was - motoring. On the Great Lakes we see sailboat after sailboat motoring along in perfectly good wind. We always wondered what that was like. Now we really wonder WHY? would they motor when they could sail?

Well, we are out of the narrow part of the Passage now (I consider the NW passage to be the entire time you go above the Arctic Circle to the time you go below the circle on the other side, so we are not out yet) and this means we can sail.

And it feels good, and we needed that.

Rolland for the Trowbridges

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that you're back to sailing instead of motoring, you must feel like you're on top of the world. (Well, someone had to say it.) I'm amazed at your adventures, and glad things are going so well.

Sara R. (Laura's sister)