Ship Of Fools Update

Temperatures at Pond Inlet are well below the freezing point of sea water, and are going to get colder over the next two weeks. They are racing with time, so that they can come back to the UK and pretend they don’t remember the excess ice which blocked them for weeks in the Laptev Sea.

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 7.48.03 AM Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 7.47.47 AM

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158 Responses to Ship Of Fools Update

  1. Richard says:

    It’s great to know they are following the intrepid explorers from the middle of the nineteenth century- back then no SAT NAV and only sails to rely on.

    “This chapter focuses on the expeditions of Robert McClure and Richard Collinson in 1850 under the British Admiralty. An expedition of two ships left England to search for John Franklin, who did not return after sailing off in 1845. McClure commanded the Investigator while Collinson commanded the Enterprise. Although they got separated early in the voyage and each became locked in ice, McClure and Collinson managed to survey some new coastlines and made important contributions to the map of the Arctic. McClure became the first explorer to link the east and west portions of the Northwest Passage and prove that a water route, albeit frozen, existed through the North American Arctic”

  2. Gail Combs says:

    I would REALLY REALLY like to know just what percentage of time they spent under sail once they encountered ice in the Laptev Sea.

    Seems they ran the motor most of the trip unless there was no ice.

  3. Stewart Pid says:
    Today they seem surprised that it is cold in the arctic: “water 7.8C, Air 0C 14:00 UTC 7th Sept” I find the 7.8 water temperature surprising.

    Tony u keep exaggerating how cold it is … look at Cambridge Bay where they are headed and it is currently 0 C on it’s way to 3 C. I noticed the rain and snow in the forecast keeps increasing!

  4. David Jay says:

    I don’t see them getting past Cambridge Bay. Look at the Canadian ice chart linked from their website, the east end of Victoria Island is all iced up.

    I hope Cambridge Bay has a haul-out facility so they can store the boat there for the winter. If the boat stays in the water, I hear the sound of crunching of fiberglass…

    • Billy Liar says:

      … that really would be funny: it’s made of aluminum!

    • Gail Combs says:

      Canadian Ice Services Forecast Hudson Bay and Approaches – FECN15CWIS – 2016/08/31 00:00:00 UTC


      Southern Labrador Coast.
      September 1 to 30.
      Bergy water.

      Northern Labrador Coast.
      September 1 to 30.
      Bergy water.

      Lake Melville.
      September 1 to 30.
      Ice Free.

      Southern Davis Strait.
      September 1 to 30.
      Bergy water.

      Northern Davis Strait.
      September 1 to 30.
      Bergy water except close pack first-year ice including a trace of old ice
      along the Baffin Island coast. Ice melting completely in the second

      Frobisher Bay.
      September 1 to 30.
      Bergy water.

      Cumberland Sound.
      September 1 to 30.
      Bergy water.

      Hudson Strait.
      September 1 to 30.
      Bergy water.

      Ungava Bay.
      September 1 to 30.
      Bergy water.

      Foxe Basin.
      September 1 to 30.
      Open water except open drift first-year ice in the northeastern section.
      Ice melting completely in the third week then open water.

      Northwestern Hudson Bay.
      September 1 to 30.
      Ice free.

      Eastern Hudson Bay – James Bay.
      September 1 to 30.
      Ice free.

      Southwestern Hudson Bay.
      September 1 to 30.
      Ice free.

      Have to wait a week for the update. They think it will be warmer than normal…

    • Neal S says:

      Not only did the SOF say they would be bypassing Cambridge Bay (in the interest of time) but based on their track as of an hour ago, they are bypassing Cambridge Bay.

  5. steve ridge says:

    You mean they aren’t stuck and there’s no disaster? Reading these comments over the last few weeks it’s surprising they’re proceeding as planned only experienced a few minor hiccups.

    Mission accomplished, however: the denialosphere believes they were helicoptered out or are stuck in ice somewhere.

    • tonyheller says:

      They spent weeks trapped outside the Laptev Sea, and at one point blogged that they were in trouble trapped in the ice. They complained incessantly about ice which wasn’t “supposed to be there.” The only reason they got through was because of a big winter-like storm which broke up the ice.

      Your dishonesty is typical of climate alarmists.

      • Jim Hunt says:

        Are you familiar with our vernacular Tony, pending your visit to the once Great Britain?

        Don’t talk ballcocks.

        They didn’t “spend weeks trapped outside the Laptev Sea”. FYI:

        • tonyheller says:

          Yes they did. They delayed their departure from Murmansk for weeks because of the ice. More BS from Jim.

          • Jim Hunt says:

            Trapped in Murmansk, when the Barents and Kara Seas were both virtually ice free?


          • AndyG55 says:

            They KNEW that couldn’t get through.

            They were biding their time waiting and hoping for something to happen to clear away some of that SEA ICE that was blocking their way.

            They decided to get closer and trust their LUCK

            And they finally got lucky and got a storm that gave them a small alley along the coast.

          • Colorado Wellington says:

            You are not familiar with Admiral Hunt’s marine vernacular, Tony.

            If they waited in Bristol because Murmansk was frozen, then under Admiralty rules they’d be free to continue with the Arctic expedition because they could crisscross the Irish and Norwegian Sea at will. Hell, they could even sail south to Saint Helena if the Admiral gave command.

            Somehow, this critical communication from Hunt’s Arctic Admiralty didn’t make it to Litau and Hempleman-Adams who knew they couldn’t get through and decided to wait in Murmansk.

            Later they advanced to the sheltered bay of Pilot Makhotkin Island and prayed for good luck to get through Vilkitsky Strait and Laptev Sea.

            They were lucky and it worked.


            Ship’s log 7 Sep 2016:

            We looked at the Russian Ice charts tonight, We were so lucky, Whilst masses of open sea now, and indeed you could sail to N86 Degrees, we would still be stuck in the Laptev sea. The ice down the coast still blocking an exit.

            Our mother of a storm pushed the ice from the coast long enough for us to sneak through, then close again. In retrospect,a clever move to push early when we did.

      • zip adee says:

        Don’t try to ask them about the ice conditions they have encountered. I replied to Ben’s 8/27 blog, congratulating him and the crew for making it through the NE passage and wishing him a good, well deserved break in Barrow. I then asked Ben, “Given the trials and tribulations you had with the ice conditions in the NE Passage, does the crew still feel like they need, “to draw attention to the scientific data and to the issues which are born out of a changing Arctic landscape?”” My comment was not posted.

        • Olaf Koenders says:

          It’s a sure sign they have something to hide when they filter posts to the point of eliminating everything but congratuations.

    • Gail Combs says:

      They proceeded by MOTOR in an Ice reinforced small yacht and not by SAIL. That alone, without all the satellite help, means you are comparing apples to oranges when looking at historic sailing ship passages.

      Also there was a Russian Ice Breaker travelling back and forth in the Laptev Sea escorting other vessels. Again Apples and Oranges when comparing ice conditions.

    • pinroot says:

      LOL, they’ve done what was done a hundred years before. And with less equipment, no satellites, no ice breakers, none of the modern amenities.

      You alarmists rely on the public’s ignorance of history (and your own ignorance, obviously). So what if they make it? IT’S ALREADY BEEN DONE BEFORE!!

      Don’t you get it? No, it’s obvious you don’t.


  6. Gail Combs says:

    2 meter water temperatures from DMI shows some of the passage. (Greenish yellow is zero C)

  7. Gail Combs says:

    This is an interactive map/satellite with names allowing you to move and zoom in.

    google map link

    The southern tip of Greenland is outside the artic Circle at ~60N not much further north than Scotland.

    Nuuk and Paamiut is on the West coast of Greenland at the outlet of the Northwestern Passages near the southern tip of Greenland.

    Nuuk — Satellite images from areas along the coasts of Greenland.

    Paamiut — Satellite images from areas along the coasts of Greenland.

    Daily mean temperatures for the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel

    Sea ice concentration and drift for The Arctic Ocean.

    Looks like some ice in the southern most passage between 100W and 115W (left side of image) As well as ice on the north side of the NorthWest passage (80w to 95W)

  8. Jim Hunt says:

    “Temperatures at Pond Inlet are well below the freezing point of sea water”

    No they’re not:

    • Stewart Pid says:

      Jim – this Pond Inlet forecast shows the 13th as getting chilly …. -8 C … still a long way off and these forecasts vary a lot as you’ve already commented.
      Jim, thanks for sharing your thoughts in a gentlemanly manor on a forum that isn’t always most welcoming. I may not agree with you often but you are well informed and open to debate & discussion vs the shouting matches and name calling that I so often see.

      • Jim Hunt says:

        Thank you for your kind words Stew. They are very few and far between in here?

        • Sara Hall says:

          But they certainly have done a lot of motoring, as they’ve had plenty of headwinds en route and probably adverse currents, as well as almost definitely having to motor while ice dodging. Only a complete fool would deliberately use sail alone around those lumps of ice.
          They used up their supply of diesel (1800ltrs…enough for 2000 miles according to the boat blurb) and just had to refuel in for the tricky navigation through the NW Passage where using sail alone would need a really experienced crew.
          I don’t envy them sailing or motorsailing at night. I very much doubt that the route is well charted and lit with buoys.

          • Gail Combs says:

            Given the time constraints and the dangers of trying to use sail while navigating ice esp. at night, there is no way they were under sail for the whole journey. As you mentioned they have already used most of the diesel (~ 2000 miles worth) and had to refuel. That says they were NOT under sail the whole time.

            The trip is around 6000 nautical miles once in the Arctic.

            Rud Istvan said on August 15, 2016 at 6:06 pm, that the Hull speed for Northabout at force 4 wind is ~ 8 knots. That is a 16 knot wind.
            Later he mentioned 7 knots/hour at 1800 rpm under motor.

            We get reports like:
            Speed: 13.21 km/h
            Speed: 9.07 km/h Heading: SSE
            Speed: 11.13 km/h Heading: SE
            Speed: 7.03 km/h Heading: WSW
            Speed: 9.66 km/h Heading: SSW
            Speed: 8.05 km/h Heading: SSW

            I doubt that was under sail threading ice with a bunch of novices as crew.

            I am not a sailor but I have crewed. I would want no part of dodging ice when the crew is not trained to respond to commands instantly.

          • Jim Hunt says:

            Since Gail has some nautical experience no doubt she can tell us how long a fetch is required to generate the sort of sea visible in my image of the Northabout above?

          • AndyG55 says:

            You mean the image with at sails wound in?

            Obviously under fossil fuel power.

            Is that the one, Jimbo ?

          • Jim Hunt says:

            For those that can’t tell the difference I posted a picture of a motor boat trapped in ice and a yacht in seas created by winds blowing over 100s of miles of ice free ocean.

          • AndyG55 says:

            Both of them using FOSSIL FUEL for propulsion.

          • Gail Combs says:

            Andy, It is the use of fossil fuel instead of sail that Jimmy Boy is busy trying to hide.

            You can not claim you sailed around the Arctic in a sailboat if what you actually did was use the motor every time you got in iceberg infested water. It just plain ruins the rosy image for the brain dead snowflakes inhabiting schools.

          • AndyG55 says:

            Direct from their log…

            “no wind, so sails down and calm waters. Progressing past various islands in the Coronation Gulf, lovely passing the coastline and making distance.”

            FOSSIL FUEL powered… not sailing.

        • tonyheller says:

          Jim is an attack dog. He has behaved slightly better than normal here because he doesn’t want to get blocked.

    • tonyheller says:

      Jim thinks the current -4C is above the freezing point

  9. wizzum says:

    They are going to slow up pretty soon, it is overcast nearly all the time for the rest of their route through the NWP, they are approaching 8hrs of near total darkness of a night DT a waning moon and that is increasing daily.

    While I still think they’ll make it, Bellot straight is the key for them. Currently the route to Bellot is less than 1/10th ice for its most congested point so as long as you don’t run into something it should be OK.
    If they are held up long though the situation changes. The other side of Bellot Straight is all marked as less than 10% ice, unfavorable winds and forecast cold weather could pack all that ice up against their exit point.
    BTW Arctic Bay is not due to get above Freezing for the next 10 days (closest WX station I could find to Bellot straight).

    Having a little boat with 4 feet of draft is good for skirting ice in Russia but not so clever trying to push through even one foot thick ice to get out into open water.

    Canada Ice, Queen Maud Ice map link below:

  10. Neal S says:

    From a recent log

    “We looked at the Russian Ice charts tonight, We were so lucky, Whilst masses of open sea now, and indeed you could sail to N86 Degrees, we would still be stuck in the Laptev sea. The ice down the coast still blocking an exit.”

    So for those who previously claimed you could sail to the North Pole on open water, even the SOF only claims they could get as far north as 86 degrees. And they say they were lucky.

    David also writes “What I find interesting is that the North East Passage had a lot of freighter traffic. We have not seen one other ship or vessel, in the North West Passage and yet the North West Passage is shorter and with less red tape.”

    Maybe because Russia has a whole fleet of icebreakers to make that all work, while there is very little of that on this side, and the assertion that it is practical now to send cargo ships through the NW Passage, is not really true.

  11. Sara Hall says:

    They are asking for crew for the final leg from Greenland to Bristol and I actually toyed with the idea of applying as I have most certainly accrued enough ocean sailing experience over the years, through just about all weather and sea states, including force 12. I’ve not met ice so far, but then I shouldn’t come across any on this trip either should I? We’ll see…
    My son lives in Bristol and I’m sure he’d be delighted to meet me on the dockside, where we would surely arrive to a hero’s welcome.
    The only thing that’s stopped me from applying though is that I’d much, much rather be warm. Wet and windy I can handle, but icy cold as well and on purpose? No way Jose.

    • tonyheller says:

      I worked in Bristol for a long time. Great place.

      • Sara Hall says:

        It’s less than an hour from here by air and I would love to be able (or allowed!) to visit my super busy son and girlfriend more often.

    • Richard says:

      The ships of fools sounds like Richard Collinson’s trip back in the 1850s

      “Franklin narrowly missed making the
      north-west passage, and the honour fell
      to Robert McClure (1850-53) and Richard
      Collinson (1850-55). McClure accomplished
      the passage on foot after losing his ship,
      but Collinson took his ship safely through
      to England. The north-west passage was
      not again made until Roald Amundsen
      navigated the tiny Gjoa, a sailing sloop
      with gasoline engine, from the Atlantic to
      the Pacific, during his expedition of 1903-“

      • Richard says:

        and a round of applause for Mr Nordenskjold

        “The question of the north-
        east passage had remained dormant for
        a number of years, but on July 30, 1879,
        Adolf Erik Nordenskjold, a Finn, who
        had taken part in several Swedish Arctic
        expeditions, took his little vessel, the
        Vega, round the East Cape, and thus
        made the north-east passage.

  12. AndyG55 says:

    They were again BLOCKED from the main route because of SEA ICE (cross)..

    Now they are hoping to get through the passages marked with a circle, before they re-freeze.

    If that small passage closes up, they are stuffed, because it will most likely close up behind them as well.

  13. Gail Combs says:

    Jimmy Boy doesn’t seem to understand that you use sails when the wind is correct. That is when it is NOT TOO WINDY or you will RIP your sails to shreds or capsize the boat. This is why sails can be reefed (as seen in photo)

    Wind Power
    Wind power is a measure of the energy available in the wind. It is a function of the cube (third power) of the wind speed. If the wind speed is doubled, power in the wind increases by a factor of eight (23). This relationship means that small differences in wind speed lead to large differences in power. link

    I do not claim anything beyond having crewed for a summer on a Friendship sloop. It is my father-in-law who was the captain of a ship, training on a square rigged sailing ship. He served as a captain during WWII BTW.

    • wizzum says:

      You can keep sails Gail. luckily for me some bright spark hooked up an IC engine to a propeller and saved me from a lifetime of embarrassment.
      The only time I have been in control of a sail anything was a sailboard on Brampton island a looong time ago. I pulled the sail up out of the water great, got moving but couldn’t turn the darn thing. I reckon I was half way back to Mackay before they came and got me with a motor boat.

      • Gail Combs says:

        I generally stay away from water… I actually HATE water unless it is in a glass. Something about learning to swim in the finger lakes area during the 1960s cold spell and then caving in 45F to 52.5F cave water…. BRRRrrr

        The sailing was because the guy I was dating built a Friendship sloop and drafted me as crew. It was actually fun because it is a challenge.

        I almost rammed the Coast Guard Station at the mouth of the Genesee river, so I have first hand experience in what a mess an inexperienced crew can make. I did however remember to duck each time so I didn’t get knocked overboard when changing tack. Cold polluted water will make you pay attention to what really matters — don’t get knocked overboard by the boom.

      • RAH says:

        Just reading a historic analysis of capital war ships over the ages. I learned that the evolution of ships from coal fired to oil fired engines was not just a matter of range being increased because of the more thermally efficient oil over coal but because of the development of the turbine drive system which was so much more powerful and lighter and smaller than the reciprocating steam engines.

        Thus Britain, while still the dominate sea power in the world pioneered the development steam turbines large enough to power capital ships and had use of fuel oil instead of coal as the fuel despite the fact that Island nation had plenty of domestic reserves of high quality coal but had to import the oil from colonial sources which had to be shipped out of the Mediterranean Sea.

    • Rud Istvan says:

      I have extensive sailing experience in boats large and small (but not square riggers, only sloops, yawls, ketches, and cutters plus the odd gaff rigged dinkabout). Small differences in windspeed can make incredible differences in boat handling and sail trim. Thats why roller reefing headsails are now standard as on Northabout, and why the more reefing points a main has, the more you can make a sailboat maintain hull speed. My late beloved 36 foot sloop with genniker and spinnaker had three on the main, and boy we used them all at times on Lake Michigan. Coming back to Chicago one time from Michigan triple reefed with the genoa rolled in to a small trisail equivalent for helming balance, taking two feet of blue water over the boat and into the cockpit with every ‘bathtub’ wave. You have to sail Michigan to experience what happens when waves reflect off shorelines and reinforce each other midLake. 15 footers with a 45 foot peak to peak spacing guarantees a bluewatee wet mess for a 36 foot sloop.

      • Gail Combs says:

        I was sailing on lake Ontario in the mid 1970s. Since the sloop was hand made it did not have roller reefing just hand done slab reefing. (That is why crew was needed to help handle the sail.)

    • Sara Hall says:

      In spite of my many years of ocean crossings on all sorts of craft ranging from super tankers to square riggers to modern yachts, I’m still very much just “crew” and generally do as I’m told, though I’m pretty good at thinking for myself in an emergency I have discovered over the years.
      On the circumnavigation, we were only able to progress for any length of time under sail alone when the conditions were right, so open seas, no particular hurry and generally steady trade wind type conditions. Of course, we covered many thousands of miles like this…my favourite times were tropical nights, especially mid-ocean under clear skies. I saw lots of weird things in those skies too, not just the umpteen satellites and aircraft, but also fixed lights moving really erratically in the heavens…..
      The rest of the time however, the engine was often running, along with appropriate canvas to keep us moving at around 5knots. Navigating the Great Barrier Reef or any other coral, plus the worst of all, the dreaded fishing floats off the Asian coast, was always under engine (with sail if possible) and we motored the whole way from Mumbai to Salalah in Feb 2011, hugging the coast to avoid the pirates. We burned almost a ton of fuel on that leg I seem to remember.
      Northabout will undoubtedly have to motor or motorsail most of the way, hence their massive 2000 mile fuel capacity! Even with that relatively huge crew to handle sail changes, there’s no way they’re frequently using sail alone.
      They’ve not really encountered much bad weather, windwise anyway, some headwinds though. I think it reached a force 7 at one point, which is no more than the NE Atlantic Trades and the Arctic seas will reach nothing like the state that they might encounter on the final leg back to Bristol. Rather them than me on that trip….I chickened out of applying!

      • RAH says:

        I guess in short your pointing out that September marks the beginning of the stormiest season in the N. Atlantic.

      • wizzum says:

        Sarah, I have worked on survey ships this time of year NE of Newfoundland and it does get nasty, real nasty at times but then the fog comes in and you cant see how bad it is anymore :)

  14. fourtimesayear says:

    “They are racing with time, so that they can come back to the UK and pretend they don’t remember the excess ice which blocked them for weeks in the Laptev Sea.”

    I always say that alarmists could be in the middle of an ice age and they’d still be in denial about it; they’d still call it global warming and they’d still claim it was melting. They are that delusional.

    • Gail Combs says:

      You forget the alarmists ARE in the middle of an ice age! The Holocene is just a short temporary warm interlude.

      • AndyG55 says:

        And the Current Slightly Warm Period is just a tiny bump above the COLDEST period in the last 10,000 years.

        No wonder there is still so much Arctic sea ice.

        • Richard says:

          even in the last glacial period

          “The Arctic Ocean between the huge ice sheets of America and Eurasia was not frozen throughout, but like today probably was only covered by relatively shallow ice, subject to seasonal changes and riddled with icebergs calving from the surrounding ice sheets. According to the sediment composition retrieved from deep-sea cores there must even have been times of seasonally open waters.”

  15. Gail Combs says:

    Seems Mr Hunt did not tell us about this:
    NORTHABOUT makes tactical error that invalidates any Northwest Passage record – FAILS TO CROSS STARTING LINE OOPs seems the vodka caught up with them.

    And the other blog left this note…
    “For Jim Hunt – TARA OCEAN following behind Canada Coast Guard icebreaker breaking ice so they could escape sea ice in the Northwest Passage on September 28, 2013.”

    • Jim Hunt says:

      Gail – For some strange reason you seem to have left out 99% of my conversation with Doug Pohl. Why is that?

      I refer you to my original article on the topic, from which a similar image went missing:

      • AndyG55 says:

        Aren’t ice breakers wonderful things, hey Jimbo. ;-)

      • wizzum says:

        Jim, If a circumnavigation of the pole was their goal then that should be stated clearly on their web page. They mention frequently that it is a traversing of both East and West passages in one season.
        If the rules state that a crossing of the arctic circle in the bearing strait is needed then that is what they should have done.

        Goal posts are cemented into the ground for a reason.

        • AndyG55 says:

          The week or so they saved by not following the rules could be the extra week they need to get through.

        • Gail Combs says:

          Progressives only believe rules are made for other people NOT THEM!

          Hillary and the rest of the District of Criminals are giving us an excellent example of this.

        • Jim Hunt says:

          They did state that wizzum. The first line of their “objectives” page states:

          “On June 19th 2016, we left Bristol in our boat Northabout to circumnavigate the North Pole anticlockwise.”

          Surely you can’t be any clearer than that?

          • wizzum says:

            Well they need to amend their home page because this is what a visitor see when going to their site.

            “Two places used to remain icebound for most of the summer the NE passage (Russia) and the NW passage (Canada). We think both may be sea ice free enough to pass through in one summer”
            ” With these changes seeming inevitable this expedition is also a call to the world to ‘Navigate the Future of the Arctic Responsibly’ We have already passed through the NE passage and are now approaching on the North West passage in the Beaufort Sea. Due to arrive in Tuktoyaktuk, Canada, in the early hours of 3rd Sept UTC.”

  16. Gonzo says:

    Well they’re in Queen Mauld Gulf heading North. According to Canadian ice charts things are about to get icy! It appears the path to the narrow straight (not Lancaster Straight which looks very icy) between Queen Mauld gulf to Gulf of Boothia is passable at the moment but there is drifting land base ice/bergs in the gulf of Boothia with some bits of thick first year(120mm) ice out in front of Fury and Hecia straight which has some 30% and less ice in it out to Foxe Basin. If they can get through those to choke points they look home free.

    • Neal S says:

      Most recent from their tracking page …

      Thu Sep 8th, 2016 3:12:15 pm
      Speed: 12.17 km/h Heading: E
      Elevation: -26.03 m Batt: Normal
      Lat: 68.795786 Lon: -103.895195

      • Gonzo says:

        They’ll be heading north very soon though and that’s when it’ll start getting interesting.

        • AndyG55 says:

          Canadian chart is showing a 40-60% ice patch off Cornwallis Island, (between J and V) so the only way open may be Bellot Strait. (red circle)

          Keep that motor humming away , little Northabout !!!

      • Neal S says:

        Try that link again Gonzo. Not at all sure what you wanted to refer to, but it seems to have gone awry.

        • Gonzo says:

          That link seems to toggle between Quens Maud land and Foxe basin, not sure what’s up. You can navigate on the site to get easily to Queen Maud. They’re currently as you showed just west of the blue on the map about to make their way N/NE. As Andy noted the Belloit Straight is their best option but the updated Foxe basin ice map shows some serious ice in the Fury/Hecia straight which could block their escape. Should be interesting motoring/sailing.

          here is QM again

  17. Gonzo says:

    It also appears their final choke point to freedom the mouth to Fury/Hecia straight has 30% ice plus some old ice. Could get interesting if the weather goes cold on them.

    • Gonzo says:

      Looking at earthnullschool if the winds don’t change soon they’ll be beating against the wind on the way to Belloit and right back into it heading for Fury/Hecia straight. Wet, cold, freezing cold and beating into a headwind is not my idea of fun.

    • Jim Hunt says:

      What makes you think they intend to take the Fury & Hecla exit?

      • Gonzo says:

        Their goal is Bristol . A. It’s the shortest route. B. It’s the shortest route. C. There bound to encounter more ice if they head North towards Resolute and Lancaster Straight which puts them into N Baffin Bay into Davis straight. Temps are well below freezing as we speak in Southern Foxe basin and Hudson Straight. Time is not on their side.

  18. wizzum says:

    Well at least the crew understand the risks, luckily the clouds cleared for them last night but the moon is all but gone and 8 hrs darkness. I know search lights help but it is not that easy and the concentration required to do a 6 hr watch at helm when you have the possibility of running into something that can hurt you and all you have is a little search light is absolutely exhausting, throw some fog in and it is definitely a nightmare.

    From their log:
    Our Ice Charts show 1/10 ice. As Steve pointed out so sagely, doesn’t sound much, but if you have one large chunk in your way in the dark, it’s going to dent your boat !

    I have started to twitch at the thought. The last Ice in the sea at night was the Chukchi sea before Point Barrow, we have all had nightmares ever since.

  19. Colorado Wellington says:

    Sep 9 2016:

    We saw a grand total of seven small floating ice chunks. I hadn’t already been through the North East Passage I might wonder what all the fuss was about. A grim testament to greenhouse gasses.

    Crew Log, Ben Edwards, crew, aged 14, writing from the Gulf Of Boothia, NW Passage

    Sep 10 2016:

    Bellot Strait: The most worrying aspect of the transit is that we didn’t see one piece of proper ice, not even a floating ice cube for a G & T.

    N72 38 W091 56 Pressure 1008, water 1.5C, air 0C Sunday 11 Sept UTC 0500 Local time 23.00 Saturday 10th Sept

    Ship’s Log, David Hempleman-Adams

    Sep 12 2016:

    Well, slowly up Prince Regent Sound, we came to our ice as forecast but it had nearly sealed off the strait, if we didn’t get through, then it would be a long slog back to Cambridge Bay to overwinter,

    The ice has changed rapidly in the last few days, thickening and closing the route also to Resolute Bay, winter is on its way.

    We plodded for an hour up the front of 5/10ths ice, too thick for us to go through but we could see clear waters the other side.

    BUT, and there is always a BUT, we are sailing down Lancaster Sound in the pitch dark trying to avoid small lumps of ice the size of a car. The bigger bits you can see on the Radar. I have just come off watch, my brain is frazzled, probably from the Radar but the concentration you need is intense.

    What a day, I have gone from thinking of overwintering in Canada with the boat, to now getting to Greenland as planned.

    N 73 50 W083 17 pressure 1008, water 1.2C, air 0C Lancaster Sound 11.00 UTC 12 Sept
    Ship’s Log, David Hempleman-Adams

    Sep 12 2016:

    Ice! just when we thought it was all over.

    I grabbed the torch we keep up there and turned it on, there was a large piece of ice twenty five meters off the bow that we were heading for at nine knots. I jumped down to the wheel, hit the standby button and yanked the wheel sideways. The boat swerved quite wildly and we missed it by ten meters or so but I noticed I was now jumping at every breaking wave I could see.

    If we’d hit that we would’ve damaged the hull quite badly and I was distressed at how close it’d got before I’d noticed.

    Crew Log, Ben Edwards 12 Sept Lancaster Sound

    What’s all this fuss? It looks like a grim testament to something but not greenhouse gasses.

    • Sara Hall says:

      It looks like they’ve had a pretty nerve wracking few hours. Trying not to hit hard, hull smashing lumps in the dark isn’t funny. Still, at least they have a big enough crew that ensures at least one of them should have their eyes open at all times. Try doing it for days on end with just two on board. I know we only had coral or unlit fishing floats to worry about, but hitting one potentially does just as much damage to a little boat.
      It’s the speed they’re maintaining that amazes me. Nine knots! What on earth are they running away from? Oh yes of course, I forgot. Winter is coming to the North.

      • Colorado Wellington says:

        Yes, they are hauling ass to get out of there. Two people on deck at night—with a torch—motoring hard. They’d rather take the risk of hitting ice than slow down but at least Hempleman-Adams listens to the kid.

        I but the auto pilot back on and got David up, I explained the situation and said I thought we needed two people on deck. He agreed and soon enough we were seeing wave crests that turned into ice chunks and were using the torch. Barbara came up at that point and I went to bed, but I was a little worried I’d hear a nasty thunk and we’d have to get off in a hurry. This, happily, turned out not to be the case. The system devised a little later was one person would be at the helm and one at the bow with the torch. The helmsman would then see as the torch was swung around and do their best to not hit the ice. Luckily we can’t see any more ice in front and there’s a chance we’re through all the ice.

        Sailing east through Lancaster Sound met with lumps of ice the size of cars. Day watch and night watch with torches on the bow. Winter sunset over Baffin Island; feels like winter is really setting in here. Note the wave splash at the right hand end of the flatter ice floe.

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