Spring in the northern hemisphere means there will be a collection of sailing boats planning a North West Passage transit, lured by the promise of clear passage in summer caused by a rapidly warming planet. Nicolas Kats is one of these, and he's looking for extra crew.
Nicolas Kats in marina
Nicolas Kats, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist currently residing in Ireland, has decided to move back to Portland, Oregon, and wants to take his boat with him. Having studied the charts a bit, he has concluded the Northwest Passage is the most logical route and is looking for crew to go along.
Here's the voyage precis:
Trip - Clifden, Co Galway, Ireland - W Greenland - NW Passage - Bering Strait - Unalaska - Columbia River to Portland, Oregon. About 7000 NM.
Leave mid June, get there late Sept. 3 to 3.5 months.
Temperature in NW Passage (middle third) is 20 to 40 degrees F avg - need to dress warm & dry! Good probability, but no guarantee, of getting through. If passage is blocked by ice, will back out & go down to East Coast USA.
Nicolas describes himself as a 54-year-old who started sailing as a kid: 'Coastal sailing all my life, mostly New England. No racing. Mostly self-taught. Last 4 years - started offshore sailing with present vessel, based in western Ireland: to Spain, Portugal, Azores, Faroes, Iceland, Hebrides, Orkneys, S Norway, Denmark. About 5000 NM bluewater sailing. No ice experience.'
Here's his description of the boat, Teddy, which was designed and built by Arne Hedlund in Denmark in 1988: 'Boat - 39' LOD steel ketch, 16 ton, 25 yrs old, built in Denmark, virtually no rust, full keel, similar to Colin Archer, but is narrower & has a square stern. Is insulated, has diesel stove & wood/coal stove for heating - will be warm below at all times!
Rigging is 10 & 12 mm galvanized cable, thimble spliced. 9 sails, 3 sea drogues/sea anchors, 4 anchors & a grapnel for ice, 8' hard dinghy & 10' inflatable with sail, no outboards. Engine is 30 HP Sabb. 120 gal water, 120 gal diesel. Steers herself upwind, reaching & downwind just by setting the sheets - wind vane not needed. Extremely strong, simple, low-tech throughout, essentially 19th century in solidity, performance & character. She is fine in gales, have been in about 20 on her.
It is planned that expenses during the voyage will be shared.
He can be contacted on drnkats [at] eircom.net but do it fast, as this is bound to be an adventure many can't resist!