Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

Cambridge Bay, Northwest Passage, hotting up.

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 26 Aug 2012
Tranquillo - another yacht sailing the Northwest Passage in 2012 .. .
The melt goes on, and it's encouraging the adventurous. As the Northwest Passage becomes increasingly ice-free during the summers, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, has seen a dramatic upswing in cruising sailors arriving, with up to six yachts in the Bay at the same time.

'It wouldn’t be surprising to see six sailboats out in the bay at one time, and we usually have between two to six cruise ships come here every year as well, and the cruise ships have hundreds of tourists,' Cambridge Bay’s senior administrative officer Steve King told CBC News this week.

Cruising sailors were not the first opportunists. While the first cruise ship successfully crossed the Northwest Passage in 1984, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the ships began to pass through every year. Sailing the Northwest Passage in private yachts only took off in the 2000s.

According to Environment Canada data, the Passage has become almost ice-free every year for the past five years. In 2011 16 private yachts made their way successfully through the once-dreaded passage.

Those who travel the passage say they feel the history of the place, as 19th Century explorers travelled the same waters. 'I like it when people say 'oh it's easy now what you’re doing because all the ice is gone,' said Frank Rothwell, skipper of the Upchuck, a sailing boat from England stopping over in Cambridge Bay on its way through the Passage. 'It's still a challenge and many people have died in the past doing what we are doing.'

Modern technology may add some security and comfort – the Upchuck is equipped with a satellite phone and heat — but a long voyage in a remote area requires being self-sufficient in food, fuel, tools and parts.

Long weeks spent in communities like Cambridge Bay waiting for ice to clear also fosters camaraderie among the sailors of international origin. More than ever, in these areas which are not charted accurately, cruising sailors rely on each other for vital information, which is shared generously.

Rescue is often not close by, either. Search and rescue aircraft are all located thousands of kilometres away — in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Peter Garden is a New Zealand sailor, taking his family through the Passage, is already used to charts being inaccurate, from his experience in the Pacific.

'Actually,' explains Garden, 'the charts are probably accurate in themselves, but they are out of alignment with reality, and need to be offset.'

Whatever the cause, narrow passages can be challenging when the charts are up to a quarter of a mile out.

All the sailors in Cambridge Bay this week agreed that it was a good location to have to wait for the ice to clear - they even have an internet connection!

Protector - 660 x 82Zhik Isotak Ocean 660x82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

Bavaria Yachts to introduce Cruiser 34 and Nautitech 46
The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina, from February 16th to 20th.
Posted on 13 Feb
Unique Transatlantic Sailing Event - Building friendship across oceans
Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Sailing in the wake of the great explorers, international friendship and understanding is at the core of this once in a lifetime adventure - The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
Posted on 10 Feb
Frigid flying – Coast Guard aircrews take on New England Winter
Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. At Air Station Cape Cod, aviation maintenance and electronic technicians work around the clock to ensure the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters are prepared and ready to launch. There is one thing the maintenance crews and pilots cannot control: winter weather.
Posted on 9 Feb
On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.
Posted on 8 Feb
Yachting cartoonist Mike Peyton dies at 96
“The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist” died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. Mike Peyton, dubbed “The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist”, died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. A modest, shy man, he eschewed the spotlight and seemed unaware of the esteem which in sailors all around the world held him.
Posted on 27 Jan
Zhik Xeflex® - your shield against cold environments
This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. How do you make a water resistant garment that really breathes, yet reflects your own body heat back to you? Where do you find a compression resistant and extremely insulating filling that is nowhere near as bulky as the Michelin Man, yet gives you that kind of warmth and comfort?
Posted on 17 Jan
Sounds like a boat - Lisa Blair's departure delayed due to electronics
Final preparations of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue Final preparations and safety checks of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue.
Posted on 15 Jan
Lisa Blair starts Solo Circumnavigation of Antarctica
Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, over 500 have rowed across the various oceans and 12 people have landed on the moon. Only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Sydney-based Lisa Blair, 32, intends to become the first woman, the fastest and the third person in history to conquer such a challenge.
Posted on 14 Jan
When whales meet sails
CAMPER helmsman Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez found himself nearly face to face with whale in middle of North Atlantic Ocean. Currently the database for marine mammal strikes is very sparse. We are requesting sailors and boaters help to submit information on current and past incidents, however long ago that may be. By giving a location, date, identification if possible, and any other relevant information you can help scientists better understand where marine mammals are at risk for strikes
Posted on 8 Jan
Potential instability in Atlantic Ocean water circulation system
One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as today’s weather models predict One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as today’s weather models predict, according to a new study. In fact, changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) — the same deep-water ocean current featured in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” — could occur quite abruptly, in geologic terms, the study says.
Posted on 6 Jan