RIB Boat Information

Arctic by RIB - Episode 5 Trapped in Iceland


The Seafarer 36 C and Suzuki outboards were refurbished as the team waited in Iceland, but weather and ice were not cooperating on the route ahead.

Arriving at Reykjavik we took stock of our voyage so far. The twin Suzuki outboards had safely pushed our Seafarer 36’ RIB many miles, but we still had hundreds of more dangerous miles ahead—and some huge problems, as it turned out.

At a very strong and exhausting pace we had managed to cover a lot of miles in just a few days. It was a marathon, a real feat with the low barometric pressures "chasing" us continuously.

We had managed to cross the worst seas in the worst weather conditions. Unruly, huge and strong contrary waves, painful miles, all-day riding. They were such rough seas that I promised myself that we would never travel in such weather conditions again but wait as long as necessary for the most favorable ones each time.

Nestled in the wonderful Rafnar shipyard we had the opportunity for a general reconstruction. We laid out all our clothes to dry and immediately set about repairing the damage of the RIB.

Days 11th - 18th / 13th - 20th July 2022 

Position: 64°09'N 21°56'W – Reykjavik

The days of desperation and unbearable pressure! The RIB may have been perfectly safe inside the yard, but we weren't. 
Pessimism and disappointment had nested inside us for good. We were living the devil's week. A multi-day wait loomed ahead of us which was slowly and torturously killing us.

In the following days, the consecutive low barometrics created prohibitive conditions for our crossing in Greenland. At these latitudes the Atlantic Ocean weather is almost exclusively influenced by the Icelandic low. The Icelandic Low forms between Iceland and southern Greenland and is extremely intense during the winter season. 

Normally, the summer is milder, producing winds that rarely exceed 35 knots, and is divided into two separate low barometrics, one near the Davis Strait and one to the west of Iceland. In fact, it is so common that it is characterized as a semi-permanent low. Usually found between the 60th and 65th parallel, it moves east and creates very rough seas.

For the next eight days the ocean brought forth serpents.


Caught in the storm.


Continuning the journey.

But even when I found some drawn-out windows of weather, I stumbled upon the frozen harbor at Tasiilaq. Tasiilaq was our next station, 400 nm further west on the east Coast of Greenland.. 

But it insisted on being stubbornly blocked by the ice. 


Tasiilag is the closest suitable village on the Greenland east coast from Reykjavik.

A large area around its port was crimson according to the code eggs of the ice accumulation maps. This meant that the sea was "frozen" around Tasiilaq and only an icebreaker could cross it. 

A rare event for the season, but as we were told, this year's winter was particularly heavy and so the ice would be slow to melt—an odd coincidence considering the general warming of the Arctic. 


Tasiilaq on Greenland’s south shore has a good harbor, but unfortunately in was fully blocked by ice during the planned voyage.

Warned-Off from Making the Passage

In fact, when I contacted the local authorities of Tasiilaq for more immediate information, they told me very emphatically: "please don't even try to start because we are already trying to rescue the crews of two sailboats that were blocked in the ice. We don't have time for any more rescues..."

No matter how much I pushed my mind, there was no way out.  Our mood was in tatters with the abrupt braking after 10 days of continuous action and riding. The waiting was killing us. 

But it was not only the strong winds and the blocked Tasiilaq harbor that battled our mission. 

The weather conditions in these places change in a flash and no one can know where the next day will find him. Konstantinos with great regret decided to fly back to Athens since it was impossible to reach Greenland on the scheduled day, from where his return had been arranged.

So I was completely alone with my head ready to explode from the infinite but fruitless combinations I tried to make in order to find a solution. 

And the problems were continuing.


The airport in Nuuk, Greenland, would remain closed until the end of July due to heavy fog. But that's where Cristiano and Carlos would land on July 20th according to our schedule. But even if their flight took place, no one could have calculated where I would be.  Most likely we would never meet. 

Faced with huge impasses, unable to find solutions, I decided to stop thinking as much as possible. So I was let go for a couple of days, until my mind cleared, and I was only concerned with the work on the boat while in the afternoons we organized evening excursions with our local friends. 

But the pressure was enormous to complete the mission. The weight on my shoulders was unbearable. What I considered most important was first of all, to be able to meet with my crew. I immediately contacted Cristiano and Carlos and suggested they come to Reykjavik on the 20th. It was the only sure way for all of us to be together. 

I kept looking for a way to continue our mission. But everything was suffocatingly pressing in the opposite direction. I began to think that we should attempt the Iceland circumnavigation by completely changing our schedule. 

But should I forget the Arctic Circle? 

That too was impossible to even imagine. I don't remember ever feeling such a terrifying pressure and tension inside me. The whole mission was at risk and all our efforts would be wasted. But I would not accept this under any circumstances. For the second time I had to make a big decision: should we stop here, completely change the program and circumnavigate Iceland, or should we insist on achieving our primary goal? 

Everything looked like we had to give up. 

But I knew very well that there was no such case. There was absolutely no way I was going to back out and end our mission here.

Tomorrow – Mid-Summer Night Interlude