Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland and his crew managed to sail around the North Pole in one season. It took their 31 feet sailboat less than three months to sail through both the Northeast and Northwest passages.
The trimaran “Northern Passage” left Oslo on June 23, and yesterday it reached the Lancaster Strait, which marks the eastern part of the Northwest Passage, NRK reports.
The Norwegian crew was beat at the finish line by Captain Daniel Gavrilov and his crew aboard Peter 1st. On his blog Ousland wrote: “Today, on the 21st of September, we enter Lancaster Sound and reach the 74th parallel, considered by most as the exit (or entrance) to the Northwest Passage. We are proud of being the first sailing vessel, together with “Peter 1st”, that ever has sailed through both the Northeast and Northwest Passage in one short Arctic summer. We congratulate “Peter 1st” with their achievements through the ice”.
The members of the Børge Ousland’s expedition wanted to focus on the climate changes in the Arctic. Global warming has allowed for passage through the Northern sea route during the summer due to retreating ice masses.
Ousland says that the dramatic changes in the ice conditions in the Arctic the last years have now have made it possible to sail around the North Pole during one short Arctic summer season.
- In Roald Amundsen’s time, it would take five-six years to cover the same distance. That fact that we could accomplish this expedition on a small fiberglass sailboat shows who dramatic the changes have been and how fast the ice is melting Ousland says.
In the beginning of September, the crew reported that they had hardly experienced any problems with ice.
Besides Børge Ousland, the other members of the expedition were Thorleif Thorleifsson from Norway, Stanislav Kostyashkin from Russia and Vincent Colliard from France.
The voyage is not over yet – after a short stop in Pond Inlet, the sail continues toward Greenland and Norway.
When Bjørne Kvernmo docked his ship, “Havsel,” at the port in Tromsø this month, he knew it would be the end of a tradition he’s kept up for 40 years. With his return, northern Norway’s long-standing seal hunt had finally come to a close.
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