Novelist Needs Help

Thread starter #1
Hi, I'm an historical romance novelist and my characters are sailing (in 1818) from Dublin, Ireland to Reykjavik, Iceland. Ship could be a Brigantine, square masted ship. Anyone know approximately how long that would take?
Thanks so much!
Jamie Carie
Jamie, From Dublin Ireland to Reykjavik, Iceland is approximately 930 nautical miles, on a roughly Northwesterly course, in these latitudes the prevailing winds are first from the Southwest and then from the Northeast as a vessel approaches Iceland. For the first pasrt of the voyage the winds would be on the beam, and a well handled Brigantine could make 10 to 12 knots (11-14mph) and therefore log about 250 miles a day (ships reduced canvas at night in order to stay safe and avoid damage to the rig) Once 60 degrees north latitude is reached the prevailing winds will shift, as I mentioned, to the northeast. These winds will be more on the bow and necessitate the ship sailing closehauled or beating to windward. they will be sailing a zigzag course and therefore would sail a long distance, but not make as much progress towards their goal. A brigantine does carry some fore-and-aft rigged sails, but like you noted the rig is predominately square rigged so this half of the journey would take a bit longer. All totalled I'd say a trip between those two points would take about a week and a half to three weeks, depending on the time of year.

If you need any clairification or futher technical advice please feel free to contact me; as a sailor, professional mariner, and naval officer I'm more then glad to help.
Thread starter #3
Thank you so much! This is such a wealth of helpful information. I may be able to use the speed and wind direction to make it more authentic. They are traveling in November. Would they see ice floes in the water? I will probably come up with more questions but any other details you think might be helpful is much appreciated.
Since your destination is on the southern coast of Iceland it lies below the Mean Iceberg Limit for the month of November. However a growler or a bergy bit is not out of the question if that helps add some dramatic flare.

This link takes you to a publication produced by the National Geospacital Intelligence Agency, its called a pilot chart. It provides historical weather data for every ocean in 5 degree blocks. Ice limits, prevailing winds, percentage of gales, surface air temperature, and lots of other useful information.

hope that helps, its a lot of data to digest, let me know if I can be of further assistance.