A Podcast With John and Andy Schell

Andy and me. Photo by Mia Karlsson
Andy and me. Photo by Mia Karlsson

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson of 59 North, and then spent a fascinating afternoon recording a podcast aboard their Swan 48, Isbjorn, anchored in Lunenburg harbour.

Andy, Mia, three of their crew, and I had a wide ranging conversation:

  • The history of their boat. (She was once owned by a Bermudian named Warren Brown.)
  • How I got into high latitude sailing, and some stories from my early voyages.
  • My thoughts on lithium and carbon foam batteries.
  • An update on the Adventure 40.
  • We even talked about the huge barriers, mainly financial, standing between younger people and voyaging, and brainstormed some ideas to help.

I have to say that up until a couple of years ago, when I did my first recorded interview with Andy, I simply didn’t get podcasts, like many of my generation, I suspect.

I just couldn’t see why anyone would want to spend an hour and a half listening to some old fart (me)…or anyone else for that matter…ramble on.

But then Andy and Mia explained that people their age consume information differently than I tend to do: Rather than treating a podcast like a written article or a movie, that I would normally sit down and read or view from end to end while doing nothing else, they download the whole podcast to their phone and then listen for say 10 minutes while doing the dishes, and then the next 30 minutes while driving to work, and so on until done. Might take several days.

Not only does this make boring tasks go faster—I listened to one of Andy’s podcasts while getting my teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist—it is also a very efficient way to learn new stuff.

And if you are starting to wonder where all of this is going, here’s my second appearance with Andy:

Further Listening

Assuming that I didn’t put you off for life and you want to try more podcasts, I strongly recommend Andy’s. He is an extraordinarily accomplished interviewer—I’m talking professional quality here—who has done over 150 interviews with offshore voyagers and drawn the very best and most interesting insights out of them.

So now, after two podcasts with Andy, all I have to do to become an expert is to stop laughing at my own jokes.

Further Reading

Andy also writes for Attainable Adventure Cruising. You can read his fascinating and useful story of the three, yes three, refits he and Mia have done in our Online Book How to Buy an Offshore Boat.


If, after listening to the podcast, you have any questions or thoughts, please leave a comment.


I and Attainable Adventure Cruising have not received any financial benefit from 59 North Ltd or their sponsors. That said, Andy and Mia are friends of mine and obviously being interviewed on their podcast provides a promotional benefit to us.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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