Russians Challenge Norwegians In North Pole Circumnavigation Race


A few weeks back I posted a story about how Norwegian explorers Børge Ousland and Thorleif Thorleifsson were preparing to attempt to circumnavigate the North Pole by sailing through both the Northeast and Northwest Passages. Now, ExWeb is saying that they may have some competition in the race to become the first people to achieve that feat. 

According to the story, a Russian crew set off on the exact same day as Børge and Thorleif on their own circumnavigation attempt. The Russian’s are sailing in a 60-foot long sailing ship called the Peter 1, which is captained by Daniel Gavrilov and his crew of six. 

The Peter 1 first sailed to Grimstad in Norway to chat with Trond Aasvoll, a Norwegian sailor who has already braved the Northeast Passage. After gaining valuable insights into the Passage, they then set sail along the Norwegian coastline and are making their way to Murmansk, the Russian city that serves as the check-in point for their first challenge, the Northeast Passage. 

If all goes as planned, both crews will sail through the region in August, and exit in time for the opening of the Northwest Passage, which has traditionally been in September the past few years. The conditions of both waterways will be important for the teams though, as while the Russian ship is designed to be more stable int he water and resist impacts better, the Norwegian vessel is small, fast, and light, and was built with the intention of flitting through the water with more agility. 

This expedition was already interesting enough, and now we have a good old fashioned boat race. A little good natured competition between the crews might be kind of fun to watch. It’ll be interesting to see who gets to the finish line first. 

Kraig Becker

4 thoughts on “Russians Challenge Norwegians In North Pole Circumnavigation Race”

  1. I'm normally given to purism but I would like to see the planned route for the Russians because for me the pole will not be circumnavigated unless and until this is entirely on the Arctic Ocean. I see it as an incredibly important milestone in recognising the depletion of the sea-ice. Routes dodging between the islands of High Arctic Canada and going south of Greenland surely can't really count? A fantastic route and fantastic adventure but not really circumnavigating the pole but circumnavigating the Arctic – a huge endeavour in its own right.

  2. Good point Jim. This is more of an Arctic Ocean circumnav than anything else. A very cool adventure, and a real reminder about how global climate change is having an impact on the region.

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