Saturday, September 14, 2013

Motor Sailer TARA approaches Arctic Alaska from the west late in the season - FREEZE-UP, LAY-UP or MAKE A RUN FOR IT?

Single-season Arctic Circumnavigation counterclockwise (West-to-east)
Including Northeast and Northwest Passages (NOTE: For a NWP TARA must cross BOTH the Pacific Ocean Arctic Circle (Bering Strait) and the Atlantic Ocean Arctic Circle (Davis Strait)
ETD 20130518 Lorient France ETA 20131206
36m x 10m x 1.5-3.5m aluminum expedition schooner motor-sailer

TARA is approaching Arctic Alaska from the west... will they challenge the Northwest Passage near freeze-up, or will they lay-up in the sea ice or make a run for it?

Click on the tracker url to follow their progress.


EW3 said...

They'll go for it. Come to far to back down now!

If they can get into the Gulf of Boothia, they will make it.

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

There are two Northwest Passage basic exits to the east - Lancaster Sound and Fury & Hecla Strait. Before you can exit you have to get to one of the above exits. FIRST you must transit through one of the following routes: Peel Sound or Bellot Strait. If you attempt Peel at this time of the year you have major blockages with 9+ ice from McClure Strait drifting in N-NW winds pressing ice against Prince of Wales Island and Summerset Island. Expect to be beset. The other choice is Bellot Strait. This year Bellot has been a choke-point on and off all season. Transit it late in the season? Very likely either the approach, the strait or the exit will once again become a choke-point. Which brings to mind the next route segment, Prince Regent Inlet, to Lancaster Sound that is likely to be once again a choke-point which required beset vessels to request icebreaker assistance this season. Which opens a first ever yacht opportunity through the Gulf of Boothia to challenge Fury & Hecla Strait's Labrador Narrows. This season F&H has been blocked with a 9+ plug. Will it melt before freeze-up? Only time will tell.

Finally - sea and air temperatures. When below zero degrees equipment "freezes" and sea water starts to turn into an icy-slush... marine engines with raw water inlet cooling can become blocked - resulting in no propulsion... its not all about routes and ice but also cold temperatures.

If everything goes well with no problems. The Northwest Passage history tells you that challenging it is going to be a BIG PROBLEM so prepare well with spare parts, backups and alternative plans, routes and anything else in a critical analysis which shows a likely failure point - because you are likely to be tested several times this late in the season - especially with all that has happened in 2013 its Mother Nature's warning shot across your ship's bow.

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