Please select your home edition
Edition
WASZP2021 - SWARM - LEADERBOARD

North West Passage blocked with ice - yachts caught

by Douglas Pohl/Sail-World Cruising on 30 Aug 2013
North West Passage - showing ice blockages Environment Canada http://www.ec.gc.ca/
The Northwest Passage after decades of so-called global warming has a dramatic 60% more Arctic ice this year than at the same time last year. The future dreams of dozens of adventurous sailors are now threatened. A scattering of yachts attempting the legendary Passage are caught by the ice, which has now become blocked at both ends and the transit season may be ending early. Douglas Pohl tells the story:

The Passage has become blocked with 5/10 concentrated drifting sea ice at both the eastern and at the western ends of Canada’s Arctic Archipelago. At least 22 yachts and other vessels are in the Arctic at the moment. Some who were less advanced have retreated and others have abandoned their vessels along the way. Still others are caught in the ice in an unfolding, unresolved drama.

The real question is if and when the Canadian Coast Guard(CCG) decides to take early action to help the yachts exit the Arctic before freeze-up... or will they wait until it becomes an emergency rescue operation?

The first blockage area is at Prince Regent Inlet in position 73.7880535N, -89.2529297W which became blocked on 27th August with 5/10 ice concentration with 7/10 ice pushing.

This effectively closes the 2013 Northwest Passage without Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker escorts for transit. The alternative is a very technical and risky southern navigation through Fury & Hecla Strait mostly blocked with sea ice.

Currently there is a commercial cruise ship on a west to east passage which will reach Prince Regent Inlet in another day. It is unknown if there is a CCG icebreaker in the area to provide assistance since government ships do not provide Automatic Identification Service (AIS) to public AIS websites.

Since one of the Canadian Coast Guard’s prime missions is to provide icebreaking for commercial shipping it will be interesting to see if Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Government views this as an opportunity for good public relations to help recreational yachts transiting the Northwest Passage.

Another choke-point stopping marine traffic is on the western Canadian Arctic at Cape Bathurst in position 70.6672443N, -128.2763672W which became blocked on 26th August with 2/10 ice concentration and quickly filled with 5/10 ice on 27th August and today has 8/10 ice pushing towards Cape Bathurst. Latest word is the ice is retreating at an agonizing 1 nautical mile per day northward.


There are a number of yachts known to be in the Cambridge Bay area heading west: ACALEPHE (CA), ISATIS (NEW CALEDONIA), LA BELLE EPOQUE (DE), LIBELLULE (CHE), NOEME (FRA), and TRAVERSAY III (CA). PAS PERDU LE NORD (DE) was ahead by 10 days and has already gone on to Arctic Alaska waters. While BALTHAZAR (CA) departed from Inuvik a month ago and is now on the hard in Nome Alaska.

The following yachts are enroute from the west to the east: ANNA (?), rowboat ARCTIC JOULE (CA), DODO'S DELIGHT (GBR), EMPIRICUS (USA). rowboat FAIRMONT's PASSION (USA), tandem-kayak IKIMAYIA (CA), in Russian sea ice is LADY DANA (POL), POLAR BOUND (GBR), rowboat ROWING ICE (FRA), in Russian sea ice is TARA (FRA), and a group of jetskis known as DANGEROUS WATERS (USA) reported east of Gjoa Haven.

Several updates on known others:
LE MANGUIER (FRA) is wintering over in the ice at Paulatuk. Motor Yacht Lady M II (Marshal Islands) was escorted by CCGS icebreaker HENRY LARSEN through Bellot Strait eastbound on 20130824. ARCTIC TERN (GBR) and TOOLUKA (NED) retreated to the east towards Greenland/Newfoundland away from Bellot Strait on 20130822 with the opinion that the Arctic ice was finished melting and freeze-up would prevent them from reaching the Northwest Passage finish line at the Arctic Circle in the Bering Strait.

Watch this space for ongoing news about the situation.

Douglas Pohl is a USCG licensed ocean master of motor and steam vessels, fifth issue, retired. Doug and Michelle now live their dreams cruising aboard their 55' steel motor yacht GREY GOOSE and provide yacht routing, satcom and wifi communications consulting. He can be contacted by e-mail at: douglas_pohl (at) yahoo (dot) com
........................

Graphic information in this article was derived from the following sites, with thanks. (Notations on the graphics are by the Environment Canadian Ice Service

Predictwind - Iridium BOTTOMArmstrong-Suptonic-728x90-2 BOTTOMLloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px3 BOTTOM

Related Articles

Three-time Olympian David R Sweeney passed away
He represented Canada at three Olympic Games in the Tornado class It is with great sadness that Sail Canada has learned of the passing of David R Sweeney on September 16, 2021, at the age of 61.
Posted today at 7:28 am
The Vendée Arctic - Les Sables d'Olonne 2022
The first qualifying stage for the Vendée Globe 2024 The SAEM Vendée, the organisers of the Vendée Globe, will also organize the "Vendée Arctic - Les Sables-d'Olonne" which will be the first qualifying stage for the Vendée Globe 2024. The "Arctic Vendée Les Sables-d'Olonne" will leave from Port Olona
Posted today at 5:16 am
Figaro Beneteau 3 – Quintessentially French
Can the Figaro Beneteau 3 be summed up in a headline or just one or two sentences? Maybe... She's quite happy to slap you back and forth across your face, or go off and sulk at a corner table with an espresso martini and deliver you scorchingly deathly stares.
Posted today at 2:55 am
2020 Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame Inductions
The Induction Ceremony will take place Sunday, October 3rd The Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston are pleased to announce that the 2020 Inductions to the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame, which was postponed because of the pandemic, will now take place on October 3rd
Posted today at 1:40 am
2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore Worlds Leg 2
Team ESP have taken an early lead in the Adriatic Sea Team ESP have taken an early lead in Leg 2 of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship in Italy. The 10 boat fleet of Figaro 3 keelboats started out from Bari at 0800 hours this morning on a 300-mile leg through the Adriatic Sea.
Posted on 20 Sep
Multihull showdown for RORC Transatlantic Race
The race will feature three 70ft (21m) trimarans In association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France, over 20 teams are expected to race the 3,000 mile course across the Atlantic Ocean to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada.
Posted on 20 Sep
11th Hour Racing Team at Le Défi Azimut
The team experiences highs and lows at the event Victory in the Speed Runs and the runner's-up spot in the double-handed 48-Hour Race were the highlights for the US-based 11th Hour Racing Team, as it competed with two boats in the Défi Azimut regatta in Lorient on the French Brittany coast.
Posted on 20 Sep
Italia Sailing Team enters The Ocean Race 2022-23
The goal is to give Italian tourism a further boost and enhance the Made in Italy brand During a press conference organised by the Yacht Club Italiano on Sunday evening, the Italian Minister of Tourism, Massimo Garavaglia, gave his full support for an Italian entry in the next edition of The Ocean Race, scheduled to start in late 2022.
Posted on 20 Sep
49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Europeans overall
Staniul & Sztorch narrowly win 49er Euros in a first for Poland Mikolaj Staniul with Kuba Sztorch (POL) won a tit for tat battle with Tim Fischer with Fabian Graf that played out over two 49er gold races on the final day in Thessaloniki.
Posted on 20 Sep
Gladwell's Line: Irish caned over Cup indecision
Irish media cane Ministry of Sport bureaucrats over "indecision" on AC37 hosting The Irish editions of the weekend and Sunday newspapers have taken the Ministry of Sport bureaucrats to task over their "indecision" on the America's Cup hosting bid for Cork.
Posted on 20 Sep