A route less travelled – Wedgeport Boats built vessel is delivered to Iceland and beyone
When a Norwegian aquaculture company decided they needed a new vessel for their fleet, their search led them to the Jessica & Trevor IV, a 45′ x 23′ lobster boat built in 2005 by Wedgeport Boats. The Norwegians were impressed by the carrying capacity and stability of the wide Nova Scotia lobster boat hull. Once they had acquired the boat the next problem was how to get her home to Norway. After looking at shipping costs it was decided that the boat could be economically delivered on her own bottom. Crossing the North Atlantic is a serious undertaking. Most of the small powerboats that have made the trip have done so via the southern great circle route. This usually means stopping at Bermuda and the Azores for fuel. It is a rare occurence for a small motorboat to cross in the high latitudes. But this is just what Captain Buddy Guptail did, retracing the route of the Vikings from North America to Greenland and Iceland, a voyage of over 2,000 miles.
Although the Wedgeport boat was large for her overall length, this was still a small boat for such a daunting journey. Under Captain Guptail’s supervision the boat was loaded with extra fuel tanks and Buddy and his crew set off in late June for a non-stop run to St. John’s, Newfoundland. After loading more fuel and provisions, and checking the latest ice report, they set off, taking a very northerly course that brought them within sight of Cape Farewell on the southern tip of Greenland. These are dangerous waters and careful weather routing is essential to making a safe passage.
While the deliver crew did encounter a considerable amount of ice, and winds up to 40 knots, the boat managed so well, they were able to maintain a steady 8 to 8.5 knot cruise speed. Since it was late June, the almost 24 hours of daylight made navigation in the ice somewhat easier. From Cape Farewell they turned east and headed for Iceland. This was when the gremlins came out and a problem with bad fuel in their aft tank forced them to shut down the engine 1½ days out of Iceland*. They were towed to the Western Islands off the south coast of the main island. Nearing the island’s main port, Buddy and his crew had a glimpse of Surtsey, one of the world’s newest islands, which appeared above the surface in 1963 as the result of a volcanic eruption. After securing the boat and making repairs to the fuel supply, a Norwegian delivery crew arrived and took the boat the rest of the way across the Atlantic to her new home.
That a delivery of this sort was even contemplated shows the confidence the owners had in their new boat. These Southwest Nova Scotia vessels are attracting attention far from their local waters for their ruggedness and sea keeping ability. Buddy Guptail has been at sea for the last 40 years and he said the Wedgeport boat was the safest, most stable small boat he’d been aboard and he wouldn’t hesitate to make the journey again – this time, after having the fuel tested.
*The fuel problem was traced to algae caused by the dye used in commercial diesel and the fact that the fuel had been in the tank for some time before the trip.