Northwest Passage - Half Way Home

They had planned to sail the entire length of the Northwest Passage in a small open boat. But when Kevin Oliver and Tony Lancashire of the British Royal Marines pulled their 17ft 6in craft out of the water for the last time in early September they had sailed, rowed and pulled their tiny craft across 1,400 miles of the waters of the Arctic Archipelago. But instead of reaching Baffin Bay on the
Author:
Publish date:
saip_0910_04_z+northwest_passage_half_way_home+shelteronice

They had planned to sail the entire length of the Northwest Passage in a small open boat. But when Kevin Oliver and Tony Lancashire of the British Royal Marines pulled their 17ft 6in craft out of the water for the last time in early September they had sailed, rowed and pulled their tiny craft across 1,400 miles of the waters of the Arctic Archipelago. But instead of reaching Baffin Bay on the Atlantic side they reached Gjoa Haven, a settlement that lies about mid way between their starting point on the Beaufort Sea in the west and Baffin Bay on the Atlantic side. Ironically Gjoa Haven is the same harbor where, in 1903, legendary explorer Roald Amundsen spent two winters trapped in the ice aboard his steel seal hunting craft Gjoa during his successful attempt to be the first expedition to cross between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by way of the Northwest Passage.

Although Oliver, 41, and Lancashire, 35, are both survival specialists and have spent a lot of time in the Arctic, many observers considered their timetable to be very ambitious for the size of the boat they were planning to use; they had hoped to average 35 miles a day, or 250 miles a week, for seven weeks. Their adventure began on July 24, when they set out in their modified NorseBoat from Inuvik, a settlement that lies just east of the Yukon Territory. But they quickly ran into headwinds and heavy seas that not only slowed them down it badly skewed their projected timetable and they never were able to make up the lost mileage. It was only a matter of time before they had to alter their plans and finish their attempt at Gjoa Haven.

"We are ready to go home," wrote Oliver and Lancashire in one of their last e-mails to supporters, "but we've had an awesome experience in the Arctic from the perspective of a small boat, in swells, on a beach or on the ice." That observation, quite aside from the courage and skill shown by the two adventurers, was one that everyone who had followed their progress though the unforgiving Arctic wilderness understand completely.

saip_0910_02_z+northwest_passage_half_way_home+sailandiceberg
saip_0910_03_z+northwest_passage_half_way_home+sailandoar

Related

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more

2018-giftGuide

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Brass Yacht Lamp Does someone on your gift list spend the whole winter missing the warm days on the water? Let them bring a little bit of nautical atmosphere home with this new lamp from Weems & Plath. The glass enclosure means the flame cannot be blown out even by ...read more

image001

Opinion: On Not Giving Up Sailing

E.B. White was 64 when he wrote his now-famous essay “The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” which begins as a romantic paean to sailing and then drifts, as if spun around by a pessimistic eddy of thought, into a reflection on selling his boat. Does an aging sailor quit while he’s ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A Helping Hand  This is a real-world solution, and I expect correction by my betters. However, anyone whose seacocks are modern ball valves rather than the grand old tapered cone variety may care to ...read more

1812-JeanneaueNewsVideo

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410

Designed by Marc Lombard, the Sun Odyssey 410 shares much in common with her older siblings including of course, the walk-around deck. Other features that set the 410 apart from other models being introduced this year include the 410’s “negative bow” shape allowing for a longer ...read more

shutterstock_698968441

Cruising: The Bahamas

“The ‘Explorer’ chartbooks. All three.” “An unlocked phone. But good luck with BTC.” “Spam. It’s ‘spensive there!” These were just a few suggestions we received from fellow sailors who had cruised the Bahamas when we asked how to best prepare for the trip. In fact, several ...read more

windsensor

Gear: B&G Wind Sensors

Sense the Wind B&G has launched a new line of wind sensors, including the WS320, a wireless system that is suitable for masts up to 80ft. Wireless wind sensor technology has been hit-and-miss, with some users reporting intermittent signal failure on tall rigs, but B&G, citing ...read more