Kiwi solo sailor Graeme Kendall, sailing the Astral Express, recently completed a crossing of the Northwest Passage, setting a new speed record in the process. It took Kendall just 12 days to complete the crossing, which came as sweet redemption after he was turned back in 2005 due to heavy ice.
Traveling east to west, Kendall entered the Passage at Lancaster Sound on August 27th and sailed clear at Barrow Point on September 9th. That 12 day voyage sets the new standard for a solo sail through the treacherous waters north of Canada, and it is also believed to be faster than any of the fully crewed ships that have made that journey as well, although that isn’t confirmed for sure. The journey also marks the completion of the first stage of a circumnavigation attempt that will not only cover 18,000 miles, but pass through 32 of the world’s major ocean ways as well.
ExWeb recently posted a brief interview with Graeme, in which he discusses the hardest part of the journey, how he dealt with fatigue, and his plans for future adventures. You can read that interview by clicking here.
As you can imagine, crossing the Northwest Passage is quite a challenge for any ship, but going solo is especially tough considering you have to watch for ice yourself, and have a much more difficult time making progress while also getting your needed rest. For Graeme it seems like it was 12 days of tension, but it’s pretty impressive that he was able to complete it in this short of a time.
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