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
www.jamiecarie.com
 
#2
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; glenn.atherton@navy.mil 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.
 
#4
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.

http://msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/StaticFiles/NAV_PUBS/APC/Pub106/106nov.pdf

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