sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Southernmost sailing voyages - who really has the record?
Southernmost sailing voyages - who really has the record?

'SY Morning, barque-rigged steam yacht'    .

Recently a Ukrainian/Russian sailing boat, the 98ft steel-hulled Scorpius reached 77 degrees south and claimed a world record. This was greeted by a storm of protest from our readers, one of whom pointed out that in 1965 a tiny Moth was sailed at (but not to) 77.5 degrees (See Sail-World story and photo). There were other claims too. Andrew Troup here corrects the records.

There have been only a handful of voyages by yachts south of the 77th parallel. These have all taken place in McMurdo Sound, in the Ross Sea. Until now, that has generally been the southernmost place where open water has been available, with the possible exception – depending on the extent of the ice shelf – of a location in the vicinity of Roosevelt Island, about six hundred miles to the east.

The Ross Sea was discovered by James Clark Ross in 1841. Having penetrated through the pack ice at the northern extremity with his ships, the Erebus and the Terror, he looked into McMurdo Sound. He named it McMurdo Bay, not realising that the mainland was not connected to Ross Island except by the Ross Ice Shelf, which he (and Scott and Shackleton after him) called the 'Great Ice Barrier'. He recorded his southernmost position as 78 deg 11' S, but neither of his vessels could be considered a 'sailing yacht', either by the limited use of the term at that time, or in the broader sense in which it has since come to be applied.

I cannot pretend to present a complete list of sailing yacht voyages. I can only set out those I am aware of. However I'm confident there have been few if any visits in the 20th century additional to the two I will mention, having checked the very comprehensive list of all known sailing yacht visits to the Antarctic up until 2000, compiled by one of the people best qualified to be considered a 'local', namely Sally Poncet. This has been added as an appendix to 'Southern Ocean Cruising', which is available free as a pdf on the web, at www.era.gs/resources/soc/SOC_web_v2.pdf

It now seems inevitable that the Ross, Ronne and Filchner ice shelves will start to retreat southwards due to global warming, on their way to probable eventual disappearance. The human failings which led to that warming seem likely to be exploited by people pushing yachts further south than has hitherto been possible, in search of records and recognition. Although the retreat is not yet noticeable on the Ross ice shelf, there have been three such voyages in the last two years, roughly half the total from the entire era of humans in the Antarctic.

Scott’s sailing ship, the Discovery -  .. .  
However, let's return for the moment to the first 'yacht' visit by Captain Colbeck, in 1902-3. He commanded the 140' steam yacht, the 'Morning', a support vessel for Scott's ship 'Discovery', originally built as the Norwegian whaler 'Morgenen' for high latitude work. On her first visit she was brought up about 10 miles short of Winter Quarters Bay, where Scott's ship was iced in. They sledged supplies to her across the ice, and left a depot of coal on the glacier tongue of Mt Erebus. Unable to break out that summer, the 'Discovery' stayed for a second winter, while the 'Morning' – with great difficulty – broke through the ice at the head of the sound in order to go back New Zealand and resupply.

She returned in the summer of 1903-4 (along with the Terra Nova, a small steamship). This time, the field ice was heavier (nearly half a metre thick) and extended further north, bringing them up short about 18 miles from the 'Discovery' (around which the ice had thickened to nearly 5m). However 'Morning' and 'Terra Nova', after weeks of arduous work, broke a channel through into the Sound with the help of explosives and even more by significant swell, arriving periodically from the Ross Sea. This arose because the latter was much more free of pack ice than in the previous seasons. The 'Discovery' had meanwhile managed to free herself from the ice, and all three vessels were able to extricate themselves and return safely to England.


So, for the record, the yacht 'Morning' made it as far south as 'Winter Quarters Bay', in 77 deg 51' S (NZ14901), in 1904.

The next yacht to sail in that location was considerably smaller: a 3.4m Moth sailing dinghy, 'Tiny Too' sailed by Lt. Commander Steve Cockley, but she neither sailed to nor from the location.

Moth Tiny Too sailing in McMurdo’s Sound in Antarctica in 1965 -  .. .   Click Here to view large photo

The second true visit by a yacht, ninety years later in 1994, was a little shorter at 36m, a little wider, had more powerful engines, considerably longer range, and was more strongly built even than 'Morning'.

This was Jean-Louis Étienne's 'Antarctica', which as the name suggests, was purpose-built. Subsequently renamed 'Seamaster' under Peter Blake, now 'Tara' in his honour. Étienne's purpose was scientific; they climbed Mt Erebus from their anchorage in Backdoor Bay, in 77 deg 34' S, (at the 'back door' of Shackleton's Hut) The crater interior was much disrupted by recent activity and they were unable to reach the lava lake on the crater floor, but they were able to collect gas samples from the volcanic crater emissions, which a previous expedition had not been able to do.

Antarctica-Seamaster-Tara -  .. .  

The ice in the Ross Sea was unusually compact that year, causing the vessel to spent more than three difficult weeks traversing it.

They were trapped in the pack ice for days at a time, trying to find nearby passages by observing the colour of the sky, which is often darker when it reflects a lead in the ice. On one occasion, the vessel was unexpectedly able to follow in the wake of an American icebreaker. Refer 'Expédition Erébus' Editions Arthaud (1994)
also http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Erebus

On the face of it, it seems remarkable that nobody had been inspired to try to follow the Morning's example for the best part of the twentieth century.

There are good reasons:

There is not much there to attract a private vessel.

The ice-free period is too short, too unpredictable, and too late in the season, to be an attractive proposition for anything other than a fleeting, opportunistic visit.

Finally: the sound is a dangerous cul-de-sac in terms of ice entrapment, with the entire Ross Sea as a potential storage area for mobile ice.

There are no safe anchorages or berths available to private vessels, particularly for a fixed keel yacht which cannot be hauled into the shallows, out of reach of movable ice.

Strong currents can bring large concentrations of floating ice southwards along the eastern shores of the Sound, even against the wind, subsequently curving and exiting towards the northwest

Strong katabatic winds can rake the anchorages from nearby glaciers, occasionally exerting forces comparable with severe tropical cyclones.

The third and fourth sailing yachts to enter the Sound were the 'Berserk' in 2011, and 'Nilaya' in 2012. The circumstances of these voyages were controversial and verifiable details have not been made public. However it seems that while neither vessel went south as far as Winter Quarters Bay, they apparently got within ten or twenty nautical miles. Berserk, in particular, was seen anchored in Backdoor Bay (see above for latitude) shortly before she sank with all hands in a severe storm.

Berserk in Backdoor Bay shortly before she sank, when the captain of HMNZS Wellington responded to their radio call begging for cigarettes, with the nearest thing he had - a cigar! - photo by New Zealand Defence Force/HMNZS Wellington -  .. .  

The stated purpose of 'Nilaya's trip was to find out what happened to 'Berserk'. Having found nothing, the vessel has been renamed 'Berserk'.

Nilaya at anchor. Source www.nilaya.co.nz -  .. .  

The next visit was only weeks behind 'Nilaya', a 30m Ukrainian yacht called 'Scorpius', under captain Sergey Nizovtsev. She reported having reached 77 degrees S, but seems to have been unaware of previous visits, as she claimed the furthest south record for herself.

Scorpius -  .. .  

As this article should make clear, she cannot claim to have been first, smallest, or largest, let alone furthest south.

Did you like this article? If you are not a Sail-World subscriber already, did you know that you can keep up with all the news from the world of the cruising sailor with a weekly news hit? It's totally free, as all our income is from the advertisers.

Once you subscribe, all the non-racing news comes to you in one easy to read news magazine, right to your inbox. AND it's up to date, so you don't have to wait for the end of the month to find out what's going on. You can even subscribe a friend. Click here now!


by Andrew Troup

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=96056

10:15 PM Fri 13 Apr 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Adventure Sailing

Related News Stories:

16 Apr 2012  Matt Rutherford around the Americas solo - almost home
07 Apr 2012  Amundsen's North West Passage - not just a difficult sail
02 Apr 2012  'Wild Viking' Jarle Andhøy detained by Chilean Navy
01 Apr 2012  And the most southerly-sailing boat ever is...
31 Mar 2012  Oldest female solo circumnavigator to arrive Hobart after 55 days
26 Mar 2012  Sailing the Pacific to save the Dolphins
24 Mar 2012  Ukrainian yacht crew in Antarctic record - and more to come
04 Mar 2012  Oldest female solo circumnavigator off to the Southern Ocean again
27 Feb 2012  Youngest solo circumnavigator - school but no Netherlands
27 Feb 2012  Tearaway Norwegian sailor departs Antarctic with 'new questions'
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

2014 International Masters Regatta - Anyone heading out to San Diego Bay this weekend is likely to witness some of sailing’s most legendary skippers show exactly why they’ve earned the reputation as the best in the business. Established in 1975 by Don Trask, the International Masters Regatta features the best master sailors from around the world and is being hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club ... [more]  

Join the crew of the ORMA60 TeamVodafoneSailing as they slash 20 minutes off their previous record for the PIC Coastal Classic on Friday. The Coastal Classic is a 119nm course from Auckland to Russell in the Bay of Islands. Originally conceived as a drag race between multihulls and monohulls ... [more]  

2014 Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup - Stamina and determination were key factors for the competitors racing in day two of the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup today. The 14 international guests and 26 young Bermudians finished five races on Bermuda’s Great Sound. This is a test of endurance for any sailor especially young ones. ... [more]  

With less than a day left to reach the turning mark at Fernando de Nonoha, 220nm off the coast of Brazil, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has retained the lead she built in the Doldrums. She is unlikely to be headed, although the second boat on the water, Team Brunel is projected to be less than an hour behind at Fernando ... [more]  

One flight of the Quarter Finals was sailed Friday afternoon following the completion of the Qualifying Rounds and the selection of opponents and draw for boats. The Quarter Finals set Ian Williams against Marek Stanczyk, Taylor Canfield against Steffan Lindberg, Eric Monnin against Pierre Morvan, and an all Swedish pairing of Bjorn Hansen against Johnie Berntsson. ... [more]  

What could be better than racing for three days with over 2000 of the world's best sailors? How about racing for four days! The St.Maarten Heineken Regatta is proud to announce that their pre-event, the Gill Commodore's Cup, is accepting entries in all boat categories (excluding Lottery Class). ... [more]  

The seventh day of the La Torche PWA Grand Slam saw the light winds continue, despite a promising forecast for today. In the late afternoon a few of the sailors took part in a tow-in training session as there is scope to run a tow-in contest tomorrow, with the forecast looking glassy. ... [more]  

Picture postcard perfect conditions returned to Bermuda for the third and final day of Qualifying at the Argo Group Gold Cup, the sixth stage of the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour. After yesterday’s torrential rain, Hamilton Harbour was bathed in glorious sunshine and breeze that by lunchtime was gusting up to the mid-teens. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Leaders pass Fernando and head for Cape Town *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Volvo Ocean Race Control reports that the lead boats in the 40,000nm race have rounded, or rather passed, the turning point off Fernando de Noronha. They are now proceeding down the Brazilian coast, to round the back of the South Atlantic high pressure zone , and have what is expected to be a fast ride to the Leg 1 finish in Cape Town. ... [more]  

Melges 32 Gold Cup on the horizon by International Melges 32 Class Association
With a fleet and sailors as diverse as the nightlife on Ocean Avenue, the Melges 32 Gold Cup, hosted by the Coconut Grove Sailing Club kicks off in just two weeks, featuring eighteen ultra-high performance Melges 32 teams from nine different countries. ... [more]  

Rolex Middle Sea Race - Keeping a good watch by Media Royal Malta Yacht Club
Peter Dimech, Principal Race Officer and Race Chair spoke about the storm that raged through the Rolex Middle Sea Race fleet. “The remaining yachts racing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race are expected to arrive at the Royal Malta Yacht Club by today and tomorrow. Whilst the wind speed has decreased, the sea state is still significant and we are keeping a close watch on the yachts still at sea. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Onboard Team Alvimedica. I’d hate to come across as being impossible to please but after days of wanting out of the doldrums, days of struggling with routines, with sleep, with a lack of regularity and consistency to our schedules, and of course--predictability to the weather—we’re 'out' and still trying to find it ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day 13 onboard Team SCA. I’m unsure if I should be nervous, excited, stressed, or thrilled today. As today I get to have fish guts smeared over me only to then become officially apart of King Neptune’s kingdom. ... [more]  

There was a shakeup at the top on day three of the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater, Florida! Fully recharged thanks to the lay day yesterday, all competitors were eager to enter the final stretch of the competition in Clearwater, and the planing conditions in the forecast certainly contributed to the excitement on the beach. ... [more]  

The opening day of the 105-boat China Cup International Regatta saw old rivalries renewed in the Beneteau 40.7 class, as Vatti Sailing stole victory from Vanke Longcheer in the opening Simpson Marine Passage Race from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. ... [more]  

Team Alvimedica Navigational Strategist, Anderson Reggio, explains the issues ahead of the crews in the remaining half of leg 1 of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. After the Equator and Fernando, the weather looks to be shaping up to be pretty standard for the South Atlantic. The St Helena High which typically dominates this body of water is the main driver for breeze in the short term. ... [more]  

The next landmark, or ‘sea mark’ if you will, for Leg 1 is crossing the Equator, as Team Alvimedica continue to make their way south to round Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil. Crossing this latitude is not like crossing any other on their way around the world, but has special significance for sailors who have never crossed the 0° parallel of latitude. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Mapfre cruzará el Ecuador hacia las 13:00 aproximadamente. ... [more]  

Argo Group Gold Cup - A front slowly crossing Bermuda brought with it an overcast sky and rain squalls. Nonetheless, despite squelching their way ashore completely soaked, the Group 2 crews enjoyed the morning’s stronger breeze, the wind less shifty having veered into the southwest overnight, blowing down Hamilton Harbour rather than across it. ... [more]  

RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup - In second place, Adam Larson of Bermuda has seven points and had a great day on the water today. Larson, whose family is still without electricity after Hurricane Gonzalo, said he has been getting to bed a lot earlier these days and feels that the conditions also favored his performance today. ... [more]  

As predicted in last night's preview in Sail-World, the ORMA 60 TeamVodafone Sailing has set a new course record for the 119nm course in the PIC Coastal Classic. ... [more]  

Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One, top seed in Group 2, is the first skipper to qualify for the Quarter Finals in the 2014 Argo Group Cup. Canfield lost his first match in day one of racing against Chris Poole (USA) Riptide Racing. Since then the number two skipper on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour has sailed to seven straight points. ... [more]  

The forecast for day six at the La Torche PWA Grand Slam offered a slight possibility of producing some racing, but unfortunately the wind never really materialised meaning the sailors spent another day on hold. Throughout the day there were gusts of up to 10 knots, but the wind failed to improve beyond that. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day 12 onboard Team SCA. This morning the boat was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, shortly after sun up we were hooning along in 20kts in a torrential downpour, by late afternoon we were sailing backwards, and who knows what tonight will bring. ... [more]  

The push and shove of 12 knots of Atlantic breeze – things are looking up in the Volvo Ocean Race. On board Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, things are looking up. First in the fleet, and out of the Doldrums, they’re heading fast towards the Equator, trade winds blowing gusts of encouragement around their ears. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Day 12 for Team Alvimedica by Amory Ross, Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day 12 onboard Team Alvimedica. There is no question as to the origins of the phrase 'down in the doldrums;' the monotony of these days is painfully apparent. It’s a pattern too familiar: a night of variable conditions—torrential rain and 20 knots of wind one minute, no wind and starry skies the next. Feast or famine. ... [more]  

With only nine days remaining until the close of entries, one of the smallest, most audacious and memorable yachts in the history of the CYCA’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, appropriately became the 100th entry. A mere 10.5 metres, James Cameron’s Hick 35, Luna Sea, will again do duty as one of the pintsized yachts in fleet for the 70th edition of the 628 nautical mile race. ... [more]  

Today was the last day of competition at the Student Yachting World Cup. Even though England’s victory was already for sure, the top-5-ranking could change a lot with two more races: Italy was second with 46 pts, Ireland third with 47 pts, Norway fourth (52 pts) and Switzerland fifth (58.2 pts)… the USA followed with 59 pts! ... [more]  

A varied and international fleet ranging from 40 to 100ft (12.19 to 30.48m) will set off for Grenada on Saturday 29th November from Lanzarote, the most eastern in the Canary Islands chain, in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Transatlantic Race. ... [more]  

The United States will be the second most heavily represented nation at the Star Sailors League Finals when they take place at Nassau in the Bahamas between December 1st and 7th. Reflecting the consistency, quality and number of sailors involved in the Star class, the United States has the largest representation in the Star Sailors League with 294 skippers and 376 crew. ... [more]  

Airbus and Oracle Team USA have forged a technology partnership. As Official Innovation Partner of Oracle Team USA for the 35th America’s Cup, Airbus will share the know-how of its engineers and experts in fields such as aerodynamics, instrumentation and simulation, composites, structures, hydraulics and data analysis to work with the Oracle Team USA design team. ... [more]  

Thursday has proved another dramatic day in the story of the 2014 Rolex Middle Sea Race. While yesterday (Wednesday) was a day of seamanship and survival as yachts battled storm force winds, it was also a day of arrivals as the same winds pushed competitors to the finish. ... [more]  

The Royal Malta Yacht Club has been a hive of activity both day and night, welcoming back yachts taking part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. By Midday on Day Six 34 yachts have finished the race and 25 yachts have retired. Each and every sailor that has taken part, including those that are still out there, has a story to tell for years to come. ... [more]  

Argo Group Gold Cup - Near perfect start for GAC Pindar
Volvo Ocean Race - A nightmare for sailors
The 2014 Severne Starboard Aloha Classic is coming...
Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 - Artie's heroic return
Argo Group Gold Cup - Slender lead for Marek Stanczyk
Ben Ainslie Racing foiling on the Solent + Video *Feature
METS names DAME Award nominees
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - A day of rest for wave sailors
Rolex Middle Sea Race - A day of reckoning for the fleet
Volvo Ocean Race - Playing the Doldrums lottery
Volvo Ocean Race - Dongfeng Race Team takes on the Doldrums
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica, somewhere in the windless ITCZ
Rolex Middle Sea Race - Artie gunning for glory
Volvo Ocean Race - Another perspective from Team SCA
Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - Success in San Francisco
RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championship - Intense racing + Video
Rolex Middle Sea Race - Big breeze and lumpy seas
The first sail that changes lives
Volvo Ocean Race: Blogs from the Boats - Leg 1, Day 10 plus Videos *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 1 turns inside out in Doldums *Feature
34th Student Yachting World Cup La Rochelle 2014 - Fifth race day   
2014 Argo Group Gold Cup - Match racers defy Gonzalo   
Volvo Ocean Race: Big gains for two boats in Doldrums *Feature   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Qualifying Groups set   
Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup - Kids breeze past Hurricane Gonzalo   
DSS to revolutionise IMOCA 60s, both new and old   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami: Groupe Beneteau sponsors US Sailing Team   
Volvo Ocean Race - The bright side of the Doldrums   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Vestas Wind contemplates the tropics + Video   
Volvo Ocean Race - Dull day, crazy night for Dongfeng Race Team   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA ready for equator crossing   
Volvo Ocean Race - Tough challenge for Brunel's Pablo Arrarte Elorza   
RS:X Youth Worlds - Hard work on day 1 + Video   
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - NoR released, entries open for 2015   
Rolex Middle Sea Race - A turning point for the fleet   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Leg one – Doldrums for dummies   
Volvo Ocean Race: Blogs from the Boats - Leg 1, Day 9 plus Videos *Feature   
Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 - Fight to the finish   
Student Yachting World Cup - Fourth race day + Video   
New improved swell forecasting and more locations from PredictWind   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT