Where Will the Wind Take You This Summer?

From Iceland and Greenland to Vancouver Island and the Sea of Cortez, CW contributors’ summer plans fill our inspirational sails.

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Vancouver Island
Tor Johnson’s intrepid crew dives into some decidedly cool North Pacific water while anchored in a little known cut in the innumerable islands off the north coast of Vancouver Island, in Queen Charlotte Strait, British Columbia, Canada. Tor plans to circumnavigate Vancouver again this summer. Tor Johnson

When the Northern Hemisphere calendar officially flipped from spring to summer earlier this week, we caught up with a few CW contributors and asked them where they were headed this season. Where will the wind take you this summer?

Ann and Tom Hoffner plan to cruise their Sabre 30 Ora Kali from Down East Maine to Campobello Island and Passamaquoddy Bay just across the border in New Brunswick, Canada, while David Kilmer’s summer waters are the lakes and islands of the Pacific Northwest. Kilmer runs the 60-foot daysailer Sizzler on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and regularly races and cruises on Lake Pend Oreille and in the San Juan Islands.

David Kilmer
David Kilmer runs the 60-foot daysailer Sizzler on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and regularly races and cruises on Lake Pend Oreille and in the San Juan Islands. David Kilmer

After a season in the Bahamas, Amy and David Alton sailed their Fountaine Pajot 44 Starry Horizons north to Rhode Island. With an eight-year circumnavigation behind them, Starry is ready for a refit. New sails, more solar and a few creature comforts are on the work list. 

Starry Horizons
Starry Horizons is safely on the hard in Rhode Island while CW contributor Amy Alton and her husband David, visit friends and family. Boat parts have been ordered for a busy summer of upgrades. The Altons plan to return to the Bahamas next season. Amy Alton

“This summer I hope to circumnavigate Vancouver Island on our Jeanneau 509 Kāholo,” said sailor, writer and professional photographer Tor Johnson. “We did that a few years back, and visited some incredible places, particularly on the West Coast. These are places only accessible by boat, full of hidden coves and deep fjords, interesting settlements and abundant wildlife. A cruiser with a modicum of knowledge can catch all the seafood he can eat nearly any day. It’s a cruiser’s paradise.”

totem
A close up shot of a totem carved in Yuquot (aka Friendly Cove) in British Columbia, Canada. The totem is inside the local church, a place the locals have turned into a gallery of tribal art and history. Tor Johnson plans to revisit the region this summer. Tor Johnson

John and Tadji Kretschmer have a mix of serious sail training passages and (slightly more) laid-back cruising planned aboard their Kaufman 47 bluewater performance cruiser Quetzal this summer. 

“The late-May, early-June training passage took us from Bermuda to Luneburg, Nova Scotia,” John said. “Next, Tadji and I and a few good friends will make our way through Bra d’Or Lake and onto Newfoundland. The south coast of Newfoundland makes the list of my favorite places. 

“The July sail training passage will be challenging. After visiting the Viking site on the north shore of Newfoundland, we will sail up the wild Labrador coast.”

From there, Quetzal will cross the Labrador Strait to Southern Greenland. “Hopefully—depending on ice—we’ll head through Prince Christian Sund, a stunning fjord that bypasses Cap Farvel, and into the Denmark Strait,” John said. The passage ends in Reykjavik, Iceland, where John and Tadji will enjoy some cruising before the August sail training, a passage that will take Quetzal to the Faroe Islands, the Shetlands and Norway. 

“We’ll have a month of exploring Norway before making our way to Gothenburg, Sweden, where the next passage begins,” John said. “This late-summer leg will take us down the North Sea to Denmark, where we will stop at the island of Marstal, the setting of one of my favorite books, We the Drowned, and through the Kiel Canal. After a stop in the Frisian Islands (part of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark), we’ll carry on to Southampton, United Kingdom, concluding a very busy and super exciting summer of sailing.”

Jamie Behan's engine
We all need someone who looks at us the way Jamie looks at his new engine. The long wait for the Beta 70 has altered Totem’s summer plans, but the Giffords, like many cruisers, are used to a change in the wind. Behan Gifford

Behan and Jamie Gifford, of the Stevens 47 Totem, recently took delivery of their long-awaited new diesel engine at the Cabrales Boatyard in Baja, Mexico. Unfortunately, hurricane season arrived before the Beta 70, making it too late to head for the South Pacific this year.

“That’s okay,” said Behan. “We’ve taken on a host of optional boat improvements while waiting, making the most of having the nexus of a solid shipyard with affordable skilled labor in Mexico, with access to goods from the US. The border is only a 45-minute drive from this northern Sea of Cortez port.” 

Niall walking
The Gifford’s change in plans kept them in northern Mexico close to the US border, which allowed them to road trip and attend the graduation of their son, Niall, from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Some challenges provide terrific opportunities! Behan Gifford

For now, the Gifford crew is thumb wrestling over whether to head south or west. Either way, they’re looking forward to putting miles under the keel of a much shinier Totem. The postponed departure also afforded the Giffords the opportunity to attend the college graduation of their boat-schooled son (and circumnavigator), Niall. Some challenges are blessings in disguise. 

Fair winds, and drop an email to [email protected] and let us know where your sailing plans take you this summer.

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