“Glory of the Sea” was built for its present owner in 2001 and launched in early 2002. After initial test sailing in western France, northern Spain and southern England she started her 3 year circumnavigation in late autumn crossing the Atlantic and heading for the Antarctic Peninsula. In February 2003 she became the third yacht in history to have attained a latitude below 69 degrees and 30 minutes south without outside assistance. She reached 69 deg. 47 min. in the bay of Magarite before being forced to turn. She spent the Antarctic winter in South Georgia and arrived in the spring in Cape Town in time for Christmas. She went on to visit 18 subantarctic islands in addition to Tasmania and New Zealand. She called in at a few islands in the south Pacific before returning to Patagonia and Ushuaia. She arrived back in France during the summer 2005. After having sailed an estimated 54000 nautical miles. The two Atlantic crossings, half the Indian Ocean crossing and three quarters of the Pacific crossing were done single handed.
“Glory” is a 50 feet aluminium sailboat designed, manufactured, equipped and, since its launch in early 2002 also used as an expedition support vessel in extensive ice sailing and polar winter situations. She is designed by naval architects Berret /Racoupeau and built by Alumarine. The interior design is by Patrick Roseo.
The hull can be beached in two ways: Either on its bottom with all appendices retracted or standing on the keels and rudders. In the last case the height and angle of the hull can be adjusted by hydraulic cylinders attached between the keels and the deck.
The interior sleeps seven. The starboard cabin has twin fixed bunks and a fold down. The port cabin has a double bunk. There is a pilot bunk next to the inside steering position and one in the saloon. The saloon table can be lowered, providing a further double bed.
(COMMENT - NORTHWEST PASSAGE PLANS NOT YET DOCUMENTED)
The extent of the Viking / Nordic presence in North America is controversial. Questions go unanswered as many of the sites in the Arctic thought to be Viking have not been visited or studied for decades. The sites are remote and difficult to access. Consequently, the original studies with their information and conclusions continue to be recycled. New perspectives are nil. The aim of our project is to re-vitalize interest in this period of our history. We will review and share our knowledge of the accomplishments of these explorers and settlers. We will encourage contemporary study of the Viking presence in America by sailing the northern sea. We will share world wide the experience of being on-site via real-time video and photos. We will document our findings.
We are assembling an advisory team of respected professionals to assist us in locating known and suspected Viking sites around Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait. We will also identify other potential areas of investigation using satellite imagery, knowledge from Inuit elders, and extrapolated information by planning routes and segments particular to sailing vessels.
The Vikings were some of the most successful mariners of their time because of their ships: fast, light, shallow draft, and very seaworthy. Modern sailboats used in Arctic expeditions share many of these attributes and on that basis we will be able to access the same areas they did. By sailing these selected routes and segments, we will become “Viking”. We will visualize the land and sea from the perspective of the deck of a small sailing ship.
This expedition is not an attempt to show that Vikings could have sailed here. It is a known fact that they had the technology (ships) and the skill to go almost anywhere they wished. Therefore, our sailing east does not require a replica of a Viking ship. Our focus is to visit the known and suspected sites while searching for new possibilities. To do this, we will follow the guidelines of the intrepid Viking explorers and select the most modern and well-equipped vessel available for our northern exploration. The areas we are visiting, northern Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Baffin Island, have challenges enough for any modern sailor. Modern Vikings, on voyages of re-discovery, need all the safety equipment available. They can then concentrate on finding evidence of “those who were here before” and ensure a safe journey.
It takes vision and commitment to launch the sort of expedition we are organizing. It will take months of work to organize, finance, and carry out this investigation. The core team members are Johann Sigurdson and David Collette. Additional crew including those whose specialized skills are critical to the success of the journey and a few others who wish to join us in 1-2 week segments for “travel with a purpose”. The final crew complement and schedule will be developed as the project moves forward.
There is tremendous interest in this project. Experts in archaeology, anthropology, Arctic expedition planning, sea ice, documentary film, finance, and Viking Age history have offered assistance. We are grateful to them. From this group, we have formed an advisory committee with the directive of establishing guidelines to ensure the project’s success. We trust that the outcome will encourage more investigation concerning the extent of the Norse presence in North America.