Solo sailing attempt around the world via Arctic North West Passage

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The Northwest Passage



The Northwest Passage is a famous sea route linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It was expected to provide an alternative and shorter passage from Europe to Asia, but as the sea is frozen over for most of the year, this route is not very practical.


Northwest Passage - Background

1. ROALD AMUNDSEN: First Navigation by Ship
1905: In mid August, Roald Amundsen sailed from Gjøahaven (today: Gjoa Haven, Nunavut) in the vessel Gjøa. On August 26 they encountered a ship bearing down on them from the west, and with that they were through the passage. From Amundsen's diary:
The North West Passage was done. My boyhood dream - at that moment it was accomplished. A strange feeling welled up in my throat; I was somewhat over-strained and worn - it was weakness in me - but I felt tears in my eyes. 'Vessel in sight' ... Vessel in sight.

2. ST. ROCH: First West-East Crossing
1940-1942: The St. Roch was given the task of demonstrating Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. It was ordered to sail from Vancouver to Halifax by way of the Northwest Passage.
The St. Roch left Vancouver in June 1940 and on October 11, 1942, it docked at Halifax - the first ship to travel from the Pacific to the Atlantic via the Northwest Passage. The journey had taken almost 28 months.

3. ST. ROCH: Northern Deep-Water Route (East-West)
1944: The St. Roch was the first ship to travel the Northwest Passage through the northern, deep-water route and the first to sail the Passage in both directions.

4. FRANKLIN EXPEDITION: Attempt
1845-48: Although Sir John Franklin was on the right track, his ships, the "Terror" and the "Erebus", became frozen in the ice near King William Island. The ships disappeared and all 129 men were lost. MORE...

5. SIR WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY: Attempt
1819-20: Parry led a number of expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage, and he was almost successful. One of his expeditions qualified for the £5,000 prize offered by the Board of Longitude to the first vessel to cross the 110th meridian in high northern latitudes.

6. ROBERT McCLURE: Proved Route Existed
1850-54: While his ship was trapped in the ice, McClure set off by sledge and discovered a passage between Banks Island and Victoria Island. Coming west to east, this linked up with Parry's previous postion coming east to west. McClure and his crew were awarded the £10,000 prize for finding the Passage.

1. Typical Northwest Passage Route (Black)
2. Roald Amunsden: First navigation by ship (White)
3. St Roch: First West-East crossing (Green)
4. St Roch: Northern deep water route
5. Franklin Expedition: Attempt (Dark Red)
6. Sir William Edward Parry: Attempt (Purple)
7. Robert McClure: Proved route existed (Orange)

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