Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 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 SW
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!

C-Tech Emirates TNZInsun - AC ProgramNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Tall ship loses power, hits multiple boats before grounding
Coast Guard Station Castle Hill is providing a safety zone in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, Sunday night Coast Guard Station Castle Hill is providing a safety zone in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, Sunday night after a tall ship lost power and hit multiple other boats before grounding near Perrotti Park. The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, an educational tall ship homeported in Newport, was leaving Bowen's Wharf Seafood Festival with 12 crewmembers aboard when it lost power and began to drift.
Posted on 16 Oct
BoatUS “CAT” Team still hard at work
A month after Hurricane Irma struck Florida, the BoatUS Catastrophe (“CAT”) Field Team is still hard at work. A month after Hurricane Irma struck Florida, the BoatUS Catastrophe (“CAT”) Field Team is still hard at work. Here, in Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor, salvage crews from TowBoatUS Marathon raise a sunken sailboat and navigation hazard off the harbor bottom.
Posted on 12 Oct
Newport International Boat Show helping to aid the Caribbean Islands
Newport Int'l Boat Show announced that it committed $15,000 to organizations helping those affected by Hurricanes Irma Newport International Boat Show, announced today that it has committed $15,000 to various organizations helping to assist those in the Caribbean islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Posted on 12 Oct
Coast Guard Foundation salutes members of Coast Guard at annual dinner
US Coast Guard Band and the Coast Guard Academy Glee Club from New London, Connecticut will perform during the event. At the event, the Coast Guard Foundation will honor United States Coast Guard heroism and mission excellence with two awards, and acknowledge the response and rescue efforts of the service during the last three weeks of hurricane activity in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
Posted on 30 Sep
Auckland on the Water Boat Show gets underway in summer warmth
The Auckland On the Water Boat Show opened to more summery climes. After being lashed by a succession of gales and horizontal rain for the past few months, the Auckland On the Water Boat Show opened to more summery climes. The gates opened at 10.00am with the usual queue waiting to see three floors of exhibits in the Viaduct Events Centre before moving through the pavilion area
Posted on 28 Sep
Relief for Dominica
Our friends in Dominica were hit by Hurricane Maria on Monday evening, a category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale The Marine community through the Antigua and Barbuda Marine Association is working with Ondeck who is preparing its Farr 65 Spirit of Juno to head to Dominica late on Thursday evening to deliver much needed aid. They will then return a number of times over the coming weeks.
Posted on 20 Sep
Coast Guard Foundation activates Disaster Relief and Response Fund
The Coast Guard Foundation has been working tirelessly to help those affected by Hurricane Irma and Harvey The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today the activation of its Disaster Relief and Response Fund to assist Coast Guard Members impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Posted on 19 Sep
Tropical storm warning in effect
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within warning area within 36 hours A Tropical Storm Warning is currently in effect for the area from Watch Hill, Rhode Island, to Hull, Massachusetts, including Block Island, Martha`s Vineyard, and Nantucket.
Posted on 19 Sep
Coast Guard readies for Jose, cautions mariners
Coast Guard units across the Northeast are accelerating preparations Monday ahead of forecasted tropical storm condition Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod crews are flying storm tracks and using marine radios to warn offshore boaters of the approaching heavy weather and recommending they seek safe haven.
Posted on 19 Sep
Oceanis – 2018 set to be a prolific year
Alongside the new Oceanis51.1, Beneteau announced four new Oceanises to satisfy a broad range of aspirations this autumn 30 years on, the best known range in the world continues to show its vitality. Alongside the new Oceanis 51.1, which won over the experts at its first sea trials, Beneteau has announced four new Oceanises to satisfy a broad range of aspirations this autumn.
Posted on 15 Sep