Børge Ousland steering through ice.
Image by Børge Ousland courtesy Børge Ousland, SOURCE
North Pole Yacht Race: Neck to neck

Posted: Aug 16, 2010 02:22 pm EDT
Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland and his crew has just sailed in to the Laptev Sea in the North East Passage. A little bit further southeast is the Russian expedition Peter 1st battling it out with the ice.

The Russians have had a substantial lead in the very unofficial North Pole Yacht Race after they left Murmansk two weeks earlier than Børge Ousland.

The Russian 18 meter steel yacht has managed to hold the lead, but beeing the first in to these ice infested waters isnt always a good thing. The last week captain Daniel Gavrilov and his Russians have been stuck in the ice west in the Laptev Sea.

This Sunday they were joined by Ouslands Northern Passage 2010 Expedition in the same sea.

-Today is August 15tht. We have passed Cape Chelyuskin this Sunday morning, with a good sailing wind, and we ascertain: There is no ice at this critical cape, which so many have tried to sail around before us. However, we are well aware that there is a thick ice belt a little farther to the east of our present position, and we need to make our way through. That should be exciting, and we shall see how it goes.

- Its strange to think that Roald Amundsen, on his journey with the SS Maud in 1914, required two winters to get around this same Cape. Conditions certainly have changed dramatically since then.
We are now at well over 77˚N, 104˚E. In other words, we are pretty high up the map the whole of the Eurasian continent is now to the south of us. We are sailing from one ocean to another: from the Kara Sea in the west, to the Laptev Sea in the east.

- The Laptev sea is named after two Russian explorers, Dmitry Laptev and his cousin Kariton Laptev, who explored this area in the 1740s on behalf of the Russian Tsar, Ousland and his crew write on their blog.

There is a big low-pressure system over the Kara Sea that might create the necessary ice drift for both Ousland and Peter 1st as they are heading for the Bering Strait. The North West Passage is ready and open for the explorers.