Northwest Passage wrap-up: Perithia called for help; and another family transits the Passage

Posted: Sep 30, 2009 01:08 pm EDT

( <i>Perithia</i> ran into trouble when they left Cambridge Bay and had to be rescued by the coast guard. In Cam Bay an American family who sails around the Americas in, <i>Precipice</i> helped them with reparations.

<i>Silent Sound</i> reported what all the boats experienced: There was more sea ice in the Arctic this summer than in the past two years contrary to early spring ice forecasts and the longer-term trend of melting sea ice. <cutoff>

<b>Ocean Watch</b>

The boat is in Boston on their way south to sail around the Americas.

<b>Baloum Gwen</b>

This was the second Northwest Passage done by Baloum Gwen. Owner Thierry Fabing said, If Wikipedia is right, Baloum Gwen is the third sailing ship to sail the passage twice.

He added, The Canadian Sailing Directions tell the passage begins at Davis Strait and Baffin Bay and finish at Bering Strait. Its not really precise for the east part.

I think its because when you sail the passage westward you are soon in the season in Davis Strait and Baffin Bay, so there is a lot of ice.

You meet soon a drifting ice pack in area of Cape Farewell coming from the East coast of Greenland and going to north along the West coast. Another ice pack all along the east of Baffin Island till more than the middle of Davis Strait.

After that there are icebergs and ice pack from Upernavik till Cape York, you are obliged to go north in Melville bay and sail to Lancaster Strait after Cape York. So if you are westward the passage begins at Cape Farewell.

But when you are at the end of your passage Eastward you arrive in Baffin Bay at the end of the summer so sea ice has melt and its not the same difficulty. I consider the passage was realized when we were at Pond Inlet.

Thierry will now prepare Baloum Gwen for wintertime.

<b>Silent Sound</b>

According to the crew a report from the Nansen Centre said that in the first half of August ice melted more slowly than during the same period in 2007 and 2008 due to a atmospheric conditions that transported ice toward the Siberian coast and discouraged the southward drift of ice from the Arctic Ocean.

They are heading south for Halifax, Canada.

<b>Fleur Australe</b>

Philippe Poupon and his family are back in France. He wrote on his website that the ice made the 2009 transit difficult and that this passage is still a risky venture.

The ice was present over much of the journey, which made navigation hazardous. He said vessels must be prepared for the possibility to get stuck in the ice.

"This is not an achievement but a meticulously prepared boat perfectly suited to this type of navigation. It is a success, I am proud to have designed the boat, he meets exactly the requirements required for such a commitment: independence, robustness, reliability and comfort.


<i>Fiona</i> completed the transit, sailed to Nome and Dutch Harbor where it left at noon, September 27. On board are Captain Eric B. Forsyth, Tom from Oregon and Ben from Alaska, bound directly for San Francisco with estimated time of arrival, 18 October.


Bagan was at anchor in Garden Cove on Hinchinbrook Island. Its from this anchorage that they will start their next outside leg to Sitka reported the crew.

They explained, This leg is the start of a new chapter on this trip. If all goes well Sitka marks the start of the Inside Passage for Bagan and crew, a route that takes us straight down to Seattle via Sitka and Ketchikan.

For those who havent had the great fortune to do this Passage suffice it to say it has to be some of the more spectacular cruising grounds to be found anywhere; its protected from the weather and teeming with wildlife.


Uwe and Kathrin got detailed maps in Cambridge Bay and did some reparations on the boat. Back in the cockpit the team experienced strong winds and high waves, which got them in trouble and Uwe had no choice as to call a May Day.

They didnt have a VHF radio with them, but eventually made contact with the Coast Guard via a passing cargo ship. <i>Perithia</i> were towed back to Cambridge Bay reported Uwe.

In Cambridge Bay an American, sailing with his wife and two daughters, had a sewing machine and repaired the damaged sails. According to Uwe the American family Rolland, Debrah and their daughters Bianca (9) and Jannell (11) are sailing around the Americas on a small boat, <i>Precipice</i>. Both boats were on their way to Tuktoyaktuk.


On 27 September Rolland Trowbridge reported on their blog that they have made it through the Northwest Passage and have crossed the Arctic Circle. They plan on spending a couple of days in Nome. He said they have completed 2/3 of their journey. The girls are doing home schooling on the boat. See more info below.

<i>Three sailboats and a skiff headed eastward; four sailboats and two motor vessels headed westward; and two cruise liners passed each other in the Passage (Hanseatic west to east and Bremen east to west). The Canadian Coast Guard vessel in the Passage is the Sir Wilfried Laurier.

<b>Sailing from West to East through the Northwest Passage:</b>

<b>Arctic Calling voyage (Baloum Gwen)</b>

The Baloum Gwen (White Whale in Bretagne language), started sailing in the beginning of June 2009. The 15-meter sailboat is attempting to cross the Northwest Passage from west (Alaska) to east (Baffin Island) in the summer of 2009. In 2008 the boat managed to successfully cross the Northwest Passage from east to west.

2009 Crewmembers: Thierry Fabing (France, Expedition leader & owner of the yacht), Patrick Reader (Belgium/ UK, Media), Arielle Corre (France), Eric John (France: a skipper), Aline Penitot (France), Gilles Durand (France), Hélène Virlogeux (France).

<b>Around the Americas Expedition on Ocean Watch</b>

Ocean Watch departed from Seattle, USA, on 31 May 2009 on a 13-month, 25,000-nautical mile clockwise-circumnavigation of North and South America. Their aim is to spread a message about the oceans surrounding North and South America, how fragile they are and how we need to be aware of the problems and make changes in our lives to help correct them.

The sailboat is a 64-foot steel cutter that will attempt to traverse the Northwest Passage portion of the journey during the Northern Hemisphere summer, from June through September. Likewise, the optimum window of opportunity for rounding Cape Horn at the voyage's southern extremity exists during summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, from December through February.

Permanent crew (US): Captain Mark Schrader (Skipper and Project Director), David Lee Logan (first mate), David Thoreson (Watch Captain), and Herb McCormick (Watch Captain).
Additional crew through the Northwest Passage: Dr.Kris Ludwig, the oceanographer and project manager of Around the Americas for the Pacific Science Center, and Byran Reeves.

<b>Open Passage Expedition on Silent Sound</b>

Silent Sound left Victoria, BC, Canada, on 6 June 2009 to attempt a west to east transit of the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic. She spent the first weeks sailing north through the Inside Passage to Prince Rupert, cutting across the Gulf of Alaska to Dutch Harbor and entered the Northwest Passage. They predicted the key challenge will be to get through the portion of the passage from the Queen Maud Gulf to Resolute, which opens only periodically from late August to mid-September. This is the heart of the Northwest Passage. They will sail south along the Baffin Island, Labrador and Nunatsiavut coasts towards Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada their final port.

Their journey over the top of Canada is about 7,000 nautical miles long and will take approximately four months. Silent Sound is a 40-foot cutter rig sailing boat.

Crewmembers are: Cameron Dueck (Canada, expedition leader and captain), Hanns Bergmann (German, first mate), Tobias Neuberger (German, expedition doctor and sailing crew), Drew Fellman (American, photographer)
Shore crew: Dr. E.C. (Chris) Pielou is the scientific adviser, Tricia Schers is the expeditions media relations manager and Troy Dunkley is the expedition designer/webmaster.

<b>2009 Arctic Mariner Expedition</b>

The two men will row, sail or haul their small craft 1700 miles along the west-east route. Royal Marines, Kevin Oliver and Tony Lancashire are navigating the ice-strewn central Northwest Passage in an open boat powered only by oar and sail and manpower.

According to their website the NorseBoat 17.5 for the Arctic Mariner expedition is constructed of a fiberglass composite, which has been reinforced for the ice and has extra buoyancy and stabilization features. The NorseBoat 17.5 is stable, lightweight at 240 kg, and capable of being rowed with its dual sliding seat rowing set-up or sailed with its robust, high performance rig.

<b>Sailing from East to West through the Northwest Passage:</b>

<b>Fleur Australe</b>

Onboard the 2 masts, 20 meters long French aluminium sailing boat, Fleur Australe, are famous French sailor, Philippe Poupon, the owner (born 1954), his wife, actress and filmmaker Géraldine Danon, and their four children Nina (13), Loup (9), Laura (2 ½) and Marion (1) - and their dog Beti.

The family departed from La Rochelle, France, on 11 February 2009. Their route took them to Lisbon in Portugal, Mauritania (West Africa), then west across the Atlantic to the West Indies and north to New York from where they arrived in Greenland in July. On 28 July Fleur Australe departed from Greenland to cross the Northwest Passage from east to west.

Skipper Philippe Poupon, also known as "Philou", has among numerous achievements won yacht races across the oceans, particularly single-handed, and has sailed around the world several times.

<b>Yacht Fiona</b>

Fiona with owner Captain Eric B. Forsyth and crew left Long Island, USA, on 15 June 2009 to attempt the Northwest Passage from east to west. The route plan goes past the west coast of Greenland, into the Canadian Arctic and Northwest Passage, past Victoria Island, to Point Borrow, Alaska, then south past the west coast of Canada and USA towards Panama and back to Long Island a predicted 11 month journey.

Crew: Capt. Eric Forstyth with Russ Roberts, Joe Waits and Canadian David Wilson.


A Nordhavn 57 motor yacht, Bagan, skippered by Sprague Theobold. The crew departed Newport, RI, on 16 June 2009.


This is a German/Bavarian boat with total length 14,65 m. The Perithia is a fiberglass hull Bavaria 44 and home to Uwe and Kathrin.

Uwe, 45, and Kathrin, 42, are a couple for 19 years. Six years ago they discovered their passion for sailing. They are taking a year off to circumnavigate the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait.

Planned route: Greece, Algeria, Portugal, Greenland, Baffin Bay, Resolute, NW Passage, Beaufort Sea, Bering Strait, Aleutian Islands, into the Pacific Ocean, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, trough the Strait of Malacca/Malaysia into the Bay of Bengal, Burma, Sri Lanka, the Maledives towards the Red Sea - passing the Arabian Sea and the pirates - entering and reaching the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal back to where they started


An American family Rolland Trowbridge, his wife Debrah and their daughters Bianca (9) and Jannell (11) are sailing around the Americas. They left on a sailing trip starting in the Great Lakes.

Precipice is a wood hull Bristol Channel Cutter. Construction was started in 1978 and completed in late 1981. Precipice weighs in at over 20,000 lbs, 7000 of which is in ballast. She is a gaff rigged cutter with running backstays, meaning that the boat definitely is not set up to be sailed single handed.

Rolland and Debrah have been sailing for 20 years. Jannelle was on a sailboat when she was two weeks old. She has been at the helm since she was five years old. Jannell did a 12-mile turn at the helm in Florida when she was six that was as straight as an arrow on the GPS. She regularly does sail changes and can handle most of the work on the boat, the website stated.

Bianca has sailed all her life, hates it when the boat heels under sail, but is amazingly brave when she needs to be. She is our most accurate helmsman, and the most attune to what is going on. She is in charge of making sure no ropes are overboard that can get caught in the prop. She has never missed one yet. (Biographies courtesy of their website).

<b>Polar Bound</b>

Brit David Scott Cowper aboard Polar Bound is heading westward through the NW Passage. According to the David (68) is doing his sixth circumnavigation of the globe; 15 months and 35,000 miles, taking him to Greenland, through the treacherous ice of the Northwest Passage, through the Bering Strait, on to Fiji, Australia and the Cape of Good Hope, before the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica.

When that is done he will head north across the Pacific again to negotiate the Northwest Passage from the western end, before returning finally to the North Atlantic. It will be the first circumnavigation involving a double-transit of the Passage, said the news source.

Polar Bound, a 48-foot aluminium motorboat, designed and built for survival in pack ice.

<b>Arctic Solo Sail</b>

On April 6, 2009, a small, light and very fast vessel departed Two Harbours, Minnesota on a voyage of adventure to the far North. Captain Tommy D Cook commenced on the journey traveling the length of the Great Lakes to the open ocean thence north to Alaska via the Northwest Passage.

According to his website he decided on the Corsair F-31 UC based on availability, speed (approaching 20 knots or 23 mph) and reputation, plus the added feature of its ability to be towed down the highway at 55 mph.

<b>The Northwest Passage</b> is a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans along the coast of Northern Canada.
Some history:
- The first to navigate these waters were the Inuits...
- In 1490, Jean Cabot hypothesized that the North-West passage led directly to the Orient.
- Since the 16th Century, Europeans have made several attempts to explore the Northwest Passage in order to develop a maritime passage that would facilitate trade with Asia. The Arctic becomes an obstacle. These expeditions continue for over 300 years.
- 100 years ago, Amundsen became the first to navigate the Northwest Passage, from 1903 to 1906, on Gjöa.
- Since then, several sailboats and other vessels have successfully completed the passage.</i>
#Oceans #feature

Precipice with the Trowbridge family on board (click to enlarge)
Perithia towed in to Cambridge Bay (click to enlarge)
The Trowbridge family on Precipice, Bianca (9), father Rolland, Janelle (11) and mother Debrah. Above images courtesy of (click to enlarge)
Every kid should learn how to play with their dolls at a ten degree angle wearing survival suits. Image courtesy of (click to enlarge)