While Belzebub II, a fibreglass Hallberg Rassy, has just sailed through the McClure Strait, a first for a sailing boat in the Northwest Passage, there are more records being broken in the Arctic as the great melt continues.
Scorpius, heading for more records in 30 months
On Tuesday a much larger sail boat, the 30 m/98' steel Russian yacht Scorpius, with a Russian-Ukrainian crew, which had been stuck in heavy ice flows to the north-east of the Jeannette Island (the De Long Islands) in the East Siberian Sea, broke free from the ice.
The yacht had been drifting with the ice for several days but the Captain, Sergei Nizovtsev, said the boat had not been damaged by the experience. However, the crew had been getting ready to evacuate if it became necessary. Getting free of the ice means that the yacht has become the first sailing ship to cruise around Spitsbergen Island from the north.
The Scorpius, crewed by four Russians and as many Ukrainians, left the Black Sea port of Sevastopol on September 25 of last year for a voyage around the South and the North Pole and has already set several world records for a Russian yacht.
In January the yacht, manned by a Russian-Ukrainian crew, set out from a Russian Polar station on a trip around the Antarctic. 90 days and 15,000 miles later the yacht entered the Ross Sea, setting the first of the four planned world records.
Sergei Nizovtsev, owner and skipper of Scorpious, during their stop in Hobart
If their Arctic circumnavigation succeeds, the crew will become the first Russian yachtsmen to perform two such circumnavigations in a single year.
In the Antarctic summer the Scorpius claimed to set a new world record in sailing farther south into the Ross Sea, west Antarctica, than any other boat has gone. She became the first yacht to reach 77 degrees south latitude, according to Ukraine News Agency UNIAN. This has been disputed by other agencies who claim that the disaster-bound Berserk was further south in the Ross Sea before they disappeared in a storm in 2011. (A moth has sailed in waters further south too, but she didn't sail TO the Antarctic)
The yacht crew plans to sail for 30 continuous months, setting a Russian record in the duration of sailing, (American Rick http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=70926!Stowe sailed solo for more than three years finishing in 2010) covering a total distance of 70,000 nautical miles. The length of the route would become the fourth record for the proud Russian/Ukrainian crew.
They have no plans to return to land before sailing through all the five oceans.