Our Tank Tender from Hart Systems is 20 years old and one of the few pieces of original equipment left on Morgan’s Cloud. For those of you not familiar with this unit, it relies on hand pumping air down a tube in the tank and then measuring the resultant pressure to determine fuel or water [...]

Question: I’m considering taking our new (to us!) 60′ schooner to Newfoundland, maybe instead to Labrador, this summer. I haven’t stumbled across any cruising guides for anything north of Nova Scotia. Any suggestions? Answer: See Pilot Press for information on the Cruising Guides to Labrador and Newfoundland published by the CCA.

Question: We plan to go through the Strait of Belle Isle about July 1st. Is this practical given ice conditions? I have been told that a northeast wind can choke the Strait with ice at that time of year. I also have been told that ice is less likely on the Newfoundland side of the [...]

Question: The cruising guide for Iceland contains a list of Icelandic charts. Comparing that with the US chart catalog, the Icelandic coverage is much more extensive. Is it practical to expect to purchase charts in Reykjavik for the remainder of our Icelandic sailing? Are they in stock? Reasonable cost? Or would you recommend that I [...]

Question: How seriously do I need to take the threat of polar bears in the Arctic? Answer: I have never hunted and don’t like guns much, but the threat is real. On our Greenland, Baffin Island and Labrador trips I have always been a bit skeptical and lackadaisical—carrying a gun, but unloaded; walking into broken [...]

Question: Do you know if it’s possible to circumnavigate Scandinavia via Holland, the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg, the Belomorsk Canal, the White Sea, the Norwegian Coast, returning to Holland? Answer: It has been done. I think the UK Cruising Association did a cruise in company that way some years ago. The tricky bit is the [...]

Question: What is your experience with changing crew in Greenland?  Should we plan to go to the large airport at Kangerlussuaq (Sondre Stromfjord) to pick up new crew? Answer: We have changed crews in Greenland at Nuuk and Sisimiut. I have never been into Kangerlussuaq (Sondre Stromfjord), but it does not sound like a problem, [...]

Question: What charts do you recommend for cruising Greenland? We have C-Map charts but they have insufficient coverage. Answer: By far the best charts for Greenland are the Danish ones. Don’t get US or British Admiralty charts; they are not anywhere near as good as the Danish charts. I believe that Blue Water Charts in [...]

Question: Is heading from the Strait of Belle Isle towards a point about 200 miles south of Cape Farewell, then heading towards Reykjavik, a practical strategy given your experience with wind, weather and ice? Answer: I have never sailed to Iceland without stopping in Greenland, so have no experience with this strategy. I think you [...]

Question: I am planning a passage from Cartwright, Labrador to Disko Bay in Greenland leaving about July 1st. You wrote that I should watch out for the ‘Middle Pack’, please explain. Answer: The “Middle Pack” is the tongue of ice that reaches down from Baffin Bay into Davis Strait and sometimes as far as the [...]

Question: We plan to sail from St. John’s, Newfoundland mid-June straight to Sisimiut, Greenland direct, if possible. From there spend July and August sailing slowly to Cape Farewell from where we plan to leave bound for the Azores. Any comments? Answer: The passage to Greenland is perfectly doable in mid-June as long as you don’t [...]

Question: Next May we are taking our new (old) boat on a shakedown to Bermuda and back (our home port is Deltaville, VA, on the southern Chesapeake Bay). After that, we’ve been imagining a summer voyage in the Atlantic, maybe Azores-Ireland-Iceland-Canada-Chesapeake. My question is, is there a good route strategy for this trip? Answer: You [...]

Question: Do you still do sights with a sextant? If so, where do you get the time signal from when underway? I found several shortwave frequencies for time signals on the web but the reception is extremely poor. In fact, I can’t get any useful exact time at all with my SSB receiver (Lowe HF-150 [...]

Q&A: Magnetic Compass

Question: Do you use a magnetic compass to augment your navigation process? Answer: Yes, we do. We have a large Ritchie compass mounted on top of our binnacle. Despite having two flux gate compasses (it’s a long story why two) we like to check the course with the magnetic compass, which we treat as the [...]

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