Running Free

Messages from and about Running Free (RF) as she sails from St. John’s Newfoundland to Ireland.

RF in Nfld

Running Free in Newfoundland

23 June 2011: I got word yesterday that Running Free now has a repaired mainsail. Carl’s wife, Joyce, departs Minneapolis today for St. John’s to join Carl on Running Free. Plans are to head south from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia and on down the east coast. This is the last post I will make regarding Running Free.

I will add one more post with reflections on our trip from Bras d’Or to St. John’s.

17 June: See blog update for Carl’s discussion of the events that forced Running Free to abandon the crossing to Ireland.

From Joyce, 15 June, 1336 CDT: Carl just called.  He sounds SO tired.  They are at the gas dock at the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club soon to be moving into a slip.  His crew is leaving, possibly tomorrow.  His phone is on the fritz and will try calling via Skype as soon as he gets his computer up.    They got the mainsail up to the reef points so they were able to motorsail I’m not sure how far.  They had a 5.6 knot average over 660 miles.  It’s blowing 25-30 knots there.  They got there at 8 a.m. their time.  He got the Spot going this a.m. as it takes lithium batteries and he had alkaline ones.  One of the strata glass panels was blown out in our hard dodger from the staysail sheet shackle hitting it when he was trying to get it up on Sunday.  That’s when one of the lenses in his glasses flew out and into the drink.  Good think he had an old pair onboard.  This a.m. his expensive dark glasses went overboard.  He put in a call to our glasses guy, Charlie, to ship him another pair.

From Spot, 15 June, 1159 CDT: 47 31’N; 52 58’W

This puts them back in Conception Bay and it looks like the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club. No specifics yet, but it looks like they are safely back in Newfoundland.

From Catherine’s husband, John, 14 June, late afternoon: C just called via the sat phone – all is well and they are approx. 10 hours out from Conception Bay – expect to land at approx. 5 AM local time. Weather is OK – winds from SE at 15 kts, and seas at 4 to 6 ft. as forecast. The will be safely on land when the next storm hits tomorrow.

C will call tomorrow and advise what their plans are – will up date then.

From Spot, 14 June, 1608 CDT: 47 55’N; 51 16’W

From Catherine’s husband, John, 14 June, late morning: The winds should be out of the SE today, then for tomorrow shifting to east – both days will be 15 to 25 kts. The storm I noted is due to hit sometime tomorrow afternoon – they should be a shore by then.

From Catherine’s husband, John, 14 June, am: Just received a sat phone call from C & Chris – all is well and they are approx. 110 nm from Newfoundland – they should arrive at noon tomorrow at Conception Bay. No decision made yet on the next steps – it is possible that they boat will be moved to Halifax for repairs. C &

From Spot, 14 June, 0014 CDT: 47 47’N; 48 53’W

They have made the turn from a southwesterly course to nearly due west and are heading for Cape Francis. According to Passage Weather, it looks like they had light northerly winds but they are backing northwest and west as the day progresses (Larry).

From Catherine’s husband, John, 13 June, late pm: C and crew of Running Free are returning to Newfoundland. The encountered a major storm yesterday – a series of lows joined up to create a complex low pressure system, and this became a gale almost directly over them – the two low systems circulating each other and they (Running Free) ended up on the back side of this low – winds at 35 to 45 kts (70 to 90 kms or approx. 55 m/h) and seas at 16 ft. The main sail blew-out, and the Fortune (ed. Freedom) requires the main sail to make head way. They are motoring back, and should arrive on Thursday at the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club. The weather has been the pits this year due to a series of highs over the Atlantic that is forcing the weather up the eastern seaboard of the US, and then sending lows out into the Atlantic from Maine and Nova Scotia like cannon balls – if fact another series of lows is forming up at this time.

All have been sea sick, but are now back on their feet. I have spoken for Joyce, Carl’s wife, and the decision has not been made if that is it or to try again later. Chris and C will have to discuss and then decide what to do.

All are well and I am sure disappointed at having to turn back, but it is the prudent thing to do! The boat is in great shape!!

Once I have more info. I will post an up-date.

From Joyce, 13 June, 1652 CDT: Hi, just talked with John, Catherine’s husband.  He was full of weather info. as he had talked with NOAA .  I guess 3 lows came together in combination from the Arctic and from the south forming a complex system.  Two highs have stalled with the jet stream still down into 55-60 lat.

He said they had a gale yesterday with waves 1/4 mile apart with very long swells.  He seems to think they’ll be able to have enough fuel to get back.  He said they should have 6-8 hours of wind from the east tonight.  He mentioned something about the winds would go from SW to SE to E at 10-12 knots on Tues & Wed.  Hope this gets RF into St. John’s okay.

He also said that if Carl wanted to do this same trip in August, Chris & Catherine would probably be up for it.  Go figure.


From Spot, 13 June, 1548 CDT: 47 46’N; 47 46’W

From SatPhone PM 13 June: They are 210 miles East of Cape Francis. Yesterday’s 35 kt east winds shredded the mainsail beyond repair while they were jibing the boat. Today is the first day with no rain.

The decision has been made to return to St. John’s. They are motoring and are hoping they have enough fuel to return under power. The unusual rig on the Freedom 40 makes it quite difficult to sail downwind without the main.

Let’s wish them a safe and speedy return to St. John’s.

From Spot, 12 June, 0523 CDT: 49 04’N; 46 25’W

From Joyce Berdie to RF, 11 June: Rohde’s weather! Rohde says grib files look favorable for next 5 days.  Good call on when you left. Joyce

Carl in cockpit

Carl in cockpit of Running Free

From Spot, 11 June, 0655 CDT: 48 21′ N; 49 44′ W

From GSC 100, 10 June: We be sailing mon 47 34N, 052 48 W Wind on beam 10 to 15. Life is good.

From Joyce Berdie, 10 June: Hi all, just talked with husband, Carl.  He and his wonderful crew of 3 (Catherine McArthur & Chris Belanger are Canadians) are officially off on their ocean crossing onboard Running Free, our Freedom 40 ketch.  They left the tiny little harbor, Quidi Vidi, just north of St. John’s, Newfoundland, a few minutes ago.  The harbor entrance is so tiny that they had 5′ on each side of the boat to exit & it is shallow in there so they left on the high tide.    They have 16 knot winds from the south (perfect for sailing) and winds are supposed to be westerly tomorrow.  Let’s hope these winds from the west continue as they sail the 1,700 miles east to Ireland.   They have made friends there with an Irishman, Shawn Moriarity, who is leaving tomorrow for Ireland onboard his ocean equipped rowboat.  Amazing.

From Al Olson, 10 June: Hi Judy/Larry,

RF in St John's

Running Free preparing to depart for Ireland

We had a successful orbcomm email exchange last night.
We leave on the high tide today about 14:00
Light winds from the south to begin with switching to NW and improving by tomorrow.
Beth hasn’t said whether she got a GSC message, perhaps she could email you if she needs clarification.
Cheers, Al

From GSC 100, 9 June: Leave tomorrow on high tide

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