The Push to Greenland

A week of light winds and heavy fog means that a stop in Sydney, Nova Scotia was imperative to the trip.

July 21, 2015

When we left the Deleware Bay I was planning on taking a more offshore route to Newfoundland, similar to the route I took in 2011 when sailing around the Americas. Poseidon had a different plan in mind and so we had to adapt. Certainly never thought we’d be stopping in Sydney Nova Scotia, heck I’d never even heard of Sydney Nova Scotia a week ago.

The last week had been mostly light winds and heavy fog. Our engine seems to be running well, I hope it stays that way. With the exception of last summer’s Trans-Pacific every major sailing expedition I’ve completed I have done so with a broken engine. To replace the diesel engine on this boat would cost around $17,000, without the installation. Marine diesel engines are mind-bogglingly expensive. I think our engine will be okay, or at the very least I hope so.

Because of aboundance of light winds we burned through most of our diesel and didn’t have enough left to get to St Johns Newfoundland. I didn’t want to risk it so we turned to the quiet town of Sydney, which is the largest town on Cape Breton Island. The people of Sydney are very friendly and laidback. On the east coast of the United States we get so caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of life. It would be nice if we could learn to relax a bit and stop taking life so seriously all the time.


Last week was a bit hard for Nicole as she had an allergic reaction to gorilla glue of all things and broke out in hives for a couple days. We were in route with nowhere to stop and by the time we were south of Halifax she was on the mend. Nikki has been officially banded from using all glue, epoxy, silicone, etc. It’s very strange, I’ve never seen someone have such an allergic reaction to glue. She’s a trooper and has fully recovered. We also went to the drug store in Sydney and picked up a ton of various medicines in case it comes back. If she stays away from those chemicals she shouldn’t have any more problems. Back in 2013 when doing micro plastics research in the Atlantic Nikki got stung by a Man O War jellyfish in her eyeball. We were over 1,000 miles from land in any direction, which was scarier than this allergic reaction.

Generally speaking things are going well. The bowsprit we added is really helping balance the boat and has added an additional 20% to our overall speed, when there is wind that is. On the down side my computer broke this morning. I just bought it a year and a half ago. It was the most expensive computer I had ever bought. It didn’t fall or get wet, the screen went white and no matter what I try that’s all that happens. Stupid computer!

Sailors talk about storms, navigation and blue water boats but I’ve never once heard a sailor talking about the importance of entrainment at sea. It super important especially on long voyages to be able to keep yourself entertained over the long days and nights. The best way to do this is with books, don’t just bring a kindle, they break. Books don’t need power and you can drop kick one from stem to stern and all you’ll do is bend a few pages. But you want more than just books. Bring a musical instrument or a Gameboy, bring as many different things as humanly possible to keep yourself entertained. I brought almost nothing with me the second time I crossed the Atlantic alone and was bored out of my mind for most of the 28 days it took to get from Gambia to Antigua. At sea boredom is your enemy.


In another 12-15 hours we will turn the corner of southeast Newfoundland and head straight for Nuuk the capital of Greenland. There is no need to stop in St John now that we have fuel and water. Nuuk is about 1,200 miles from here. We will still have to sail another 32 degrees north to get to our final destination, Smith Sound. If we sailed south for 32 degrees we would be in Barbados, and I would be sunburnt. North sounds better.

Vicinimus Fortitudine

–Matt Rutherford

Nicole on board in Sydney Harbor, Nova Scotia. Matt Rutherford
A pilot whale, spotted of the boat near Sydney. Matt Rutherford

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