Duhau contacted the well-known expedition support High Latitudes for help with ice routing between Newfoundland and Iceland. Founder and experienced pilot Magnus Day joined the crew for this part of the cruise.
“Ice is possible anywhere from Nova
Scotia to about 150 miles south and east of Cape Farewell,” Day warns. “All ice should be regarded as dangerous to small vessels.”
Ice charts are available from the Canadian Ice Service (ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca) and the Danish Maritime Authority (dma.dk) and are useful as a guide, but must not be relied upon. Radar is also a useful tool, but it may not pick up even large pieces of ice in certain conditions.
Ice in the Labrador Sea will usually be thicker along the Newfoundland and Greenland coasts. Commanders’ Weather recommends heading due east until around 45°W, then turning north.
Magnus Day broadly concurs. “A wise tactic to lessen the chances of encountering ice is to head square offshore until outside the reported ice zone, then more or less parallel to the axis of the Labrador Sea until adjacent to your destination, before turning in square to the shore again.” He recommends motoring if the wind is light.
Day’s other top tips include:
Have one or more crew outside on deck paying close attention for ice at ALL times.
Ideally have two crew rotating on every watch – one on deck keeping a visual lookout while the other keeps a radar watch and makes the coffee etc. Roles should be swapped as regularly as every 15 minutes to help maintain levels of alertness.
Ask passing vessels if they have seen any ice locally. Likewise, when in port talk to locals and ask them what they’ve seen recently and if there are areas locally which collect ice.
Crew need to be dressed to stand outside in freezing temperatures with wind and waves coming over the deck for long periods of time. Think about how you can create shelter for them on deck.
Never drop your guard. It only takes one piece of ice to bash a hole in your hull as you fall off a wave.