Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Northwest Passage transits tally so far according to Sail-World

Only 135 vessels have negotiated the Northwest Passage since records began. 

((About 1500 people have climbed Mt. Everest which is more than 10 times the number of vessels transiting the Northwest Passage))

Here's the tally:
 (according to http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=106937)

Complete transits have been made by 135 different vessels. 

The Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov has made 17 transits, the largest number of any vessel. 

Hanseatic has made 10, Bremen 6 (2 with the former name, Frontier Spirit), and Polar Bound 4 (5?) (the largest number by any private yacht); 4 vessels have each made 3 transits, and 12 have made 2. More than one year was taken by 18 of these vessels, mainly small craft, to complete a transit wintering at various places along the route. 

The vessels are from 28 registries: 43 from Canada, 24 Russia, 20 Bahamas and United States, 15 Britain, 11 France, 6 New Zealand, 6 Cayman Islands and Sweden, 4 Australia, Germany, and Poland, 3 Norway, 2 Belgium, Finland, and Italy, and 1 from Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Barbados, Croatia, Denmark, Ireland (E?ire), Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, and Switzerland. Passengers have been carried on 40 transits but only three (numbers 72, 73, and 171) were otherwise commercial voyages. 

Four of the vessels have travelled through the Panama Canal and circumnavigated North America, three have circumnavigated all America, and seven have circumnavigated the Arctic Ocean.

In terms of individuals, Captain Viktor Vasiliev has commanded 8 transits, Heinz Aye and Piotr Golikov 6, David Scott Cowper and Thilo Natke 5, and several others have commanded more than one. 

To the 2012 end of navigation 184 transits of the Northwest Passage have been made. Excluding the three composite voyages (shown as cp on the chart) a route analysis shows: 

Route 1: west 3 east 0 total 3 (In 2012 POLAR BOUND was the first private yacht in recorded history to complete Route 1. BELZEBUB II claims a Route 1 transit in 2012 but has not published any public proof.)
Route 3: west 29 east 30 total 59 
Route 5: west 15 east 22 total 37 
Route 7: west 0 east 3 total 3 
Route 2: west 9 east 5 total 14 
Route 4: west 29 east 14 total 43 
Route 6: west 5 east 17 total 22 
All Routes: west 90 east 91 total 181 

The list is in alphabetical order in the years of completion of the voyages (not by the precedence of completion). Superscript numbers in the list are cumulative numbers of voyages, commands, flags, etc. 

If you are thinking of transiting the Northwest Passage, there are some excellent sources to begin your planning. To begin the search or for some vicarious pleasure, click here

Sources include a compilation by Thomas Pullen and Charles Swithinbank published in Polar Record (1991), with advice from Lawson Brigham (USCG), Peter Capelotti (USCG), David Fletcher, Brian McDonald (CCG), John MacFarlane, Peter Semotiuk, Tony Soper, Patrick Toomey (CCG), and Victor Wejer, personal observations made during several transits with Quark expeditions, many publications, advice from persons directly involved and several internet sites. Advice of subsequent voyages, any corrections and additions, and similar details is appreciated. It is intended that this compilation will be revised annually. 
by Sail-World Cruising round-up 

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NOTE: To be considered an official Northwest Passage the vessel must cross BOTH the Atlantic and Pacific Arctic Circles by connecting  waterways. Movements within, upon or through the Canadian Arctic are NOT a "Northwest Passage" unless the vessel waterway navigation crosses BOTH the Atlantic and Pacific Arctic Circles located at latitude 66.5622 degrees North. 

I do not believe National or military vessels, including submarines should be counted but can be included for record keeping purposes, i.e. The "Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov has made 17 transits" does not accurately reflect true Northwest Passages since the dates and navigations are not known - we serious doubt that each "transit" by an icebreaker resulted in crossing BOTH the Atlantic and Pacific Arctic Circles. 

A word to the wise - planning a Northwest Passage?  Navigate with a SPOT GPS reporting (be sure to save the weekly track lines before they are deleted) device taking care to cross BOTH the Atlantic and Pacific Arctic Circles.  KEEP AN ACCURATE SHIP's LOG! 

((Click here for the RCC Pilotage Foundation Arctic guide: http://www.rccpf.org.uk/passage-planning/arctic))

((Also check here for NW Passage lists: http://www.nauticapedia.ca/Articles/NWP_Fulltransits.php))


Anonymous said...

What kind of "proof" would be good?

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

Lets see... with video, still camera, recording GPS aboard S/V BELZEBUB2, I surely think they could of used any and all of the above to document passing west of Cape Prince Albert. They did show video footage aboard BELEZBUB2 but didn't show the GPS display or offer any audio comments about their position. A ship's log would also help establish positions, dates and navigations. Bottom line, its a Route 1 claim without any proof. POLAR BOUND provided the ultimate proof - real time GPS positions sent over HAM radio (call sign VP8DEU) to other HAM's radios that relayed the GPS information to the worldwide Internet server at APRS.FI which provided his entire voyage from Ireland to Nome Alaska additionally attesting to a Northwest Passage from Atlantic to Pacific Arctic Circles. KUDOS!

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

Much more information is available at: http://northwestpassage2012.blogspot.com/2012/09/20120902-belzebub2-offers-explanation.html

I find it extremely interesting that not one of the media reporters asked BELZEBUB2 crew for proof of their Route 1 claim yet published everything said by the crew... just goes to show you what you already know about news media - the devel is all in the details... don't believe it just because its in print.

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

Checking BELZEBUB2's website you learn that the ship's track line is "hand crafted".

See: http://belzebub2.com/archives/5236?lang=en

"Just before we left we received word from Nick’s father Bernard that he would go sailing again and would not be able to receive our position reports over the radio in order to update the position map of the blog. This means that we will remain in the same place until Bernard comes back in the beginning of October."

Guess that speaks volumes about the reported route taken... it's what we told Nick's father Bernard that we did... :-) lol

Good night!

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

So what would be good proof? How about a $100 SPOT GPS beacon? See www.findmespot.com

Don't leave port without one - it could save your life!

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

BELZEBUB2 website states they have XSAT GLOBAL, NAVIONICS and ASIS COMMUNICATIONS - where are the GPS track records or the Navionics track files or the video records?

It is really a simple matter for such a high tech group of adventures to post their proof... but since they have chosen to not provide any proof I believe its just a talking point of foolish conjecture... they could of just as easy gone south through Prince of Wales Strait like the yacht BILLY BUDD did that same season... so when David Scott Cowper was asked in Nome if he had seen the vessel BELZEBUB2 he replied "No". Which further confirms my suspicion that either they followed POLAR BOUND through the ice using radar or more likely BELZEBUB2 took the same open route as yacht BILLY BUDD had done earlier south through Prince of Wales Strait.

Wouldn't it be fun to examine the BELZEBUB2's ship log?

See: http://northwestpassage2012.blogspot.com/2012/09/20120905-sv-billy-budd-claims-northwest.html

Smooth seas

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

More information re yacht BILLY BUDD: http://northwestpassage2012.blogspot.com/2012/08/20120818-sv-billy-budd-reaches-parrys.html

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