MICHIGAN CITY — According to one boater, the difference between adventure and ordeal is attitude.
If preparation has anything to do with attitude, four men are embarking on a 1,600-mile voyage with the right attitude.
Dr. Michael Leland, an orthopedic surgeon from Valparaiso, is leading a voyage from Newfoundland to Ireland later this summer. Fellow crewmembers on the Hope, a 32-foot Nyad sailboat, are two carpenters, Mike "Moose" Debone from Michigan City and Dave Rearick from Beverly Shores, and Bruce Carter, an environmental consultant from Elkhart.
Sharing their transatlantic voyage before the Michigan City Yacht Club recently, the men outlined their preparations for the voyage that could take three weeks this August.
The first leg of the journey will take the foursome from Newport, Rhode Island, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in June. The second leg will go from Halifax to St. John’s, Newfoundland, the following month. Those initial two legs will cover an estimated 1,000 miles. From Newfoundland, the 1,600-mile voyage to Dingle, Ireland, begins in early August. The group will fly home in September, but not before Leland sails the Hope to Moro, Sweden, where the craft will winter.
The doctor plans to sail to Norway in 2018, using old Viking sea routes.
"Sailing my own boat to my ancestral home in Norway is the fulfillment of a promise I made in 1970, the first time I sailed and realized I was created to be a sailor," said Leland.
The Swedish-built Hope, Leland said, has been modified to withstand the rigors of the North Atlantic, sailing with a small crew.
Expecting gale-force winds and huge waves, Leland said Hope’s sails have been designed and fabricated to withstand these forces and adapt to varying conditions.
The crew has prepared for the treacherous route to Ireland, Leland explained, by sailing long distances in challenging conditions "to prove ourselves as well as our boat."
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Rearick* brings experience from circumnavigating the globe solo and crossing the North Atlantic several times. Navigation devices will include both paper charts and Global Positioning System. Safety, navigation and communication electronics are powered by solar energy and hydro generation.
"The primary steering device for the long voyage is directed by a wind vane," Leland said, "requiring no electrical power at all."
Preparing for this voyage, the crew cited the human element, including diet and rest.
During rough and changing times on the sea, boaters are not locked into a specific schedule.
That’s why, Rearick said, crew members must take advantage of calm times and look out for crew mates.
"You have to ask each other, do you need something?" he said.
Still, Debone said, much of the trip depends on personal sailing ability.
"You still have to sail the boat," he said. "At some point, you take what you get and shove off."
*This story has been changed from the original.