The two ships that are racing to become the first to circumnavigate the North Pole via the Northeast and Northwest passages are continuing their perilous journey, even as the colder weather begins to move in, and the ice starts to close for another season.
ExWeb posted an update today on the circum navigation race that is being conducted between the Russian ship Peter 1 and Børge Ousland’s Northern Passage. The two expeditions are both hoping to become the first to successfully sail through both the Northeast and Northwest passages on a single journey, thereby completing the first full voyage around the arctic circle. Both ships have cleared the fist leg of their journey and are now dealing with the NE Passage above Canada.
According to the latest updates, the Peter 1 has once again moved out in front, but the crew is beginning to get concerned about the weather reports. The forecasts call for strong, cold northerly winds that will begin the process of freezing over the passage for another year. Those conditions are expected to arrive on Thursday, although they could be more of a problem for Børge’s boat which is lighter, and faster, but made of fiberglass, while the Russian vessel is made of steel and can deal with the ice a bit more easily.
ExWeb estimates that it will take roughly another two weeks before either ship clears the Passage and makes their way out into the North Atlantic. That is a long time to battle the elements and conditions, which will be changing very rapidly during that time. The voyage for both ships and their crews has been challenging already, but they’re about to get a whole lot more difficult. Neither expedition is a sure thing, and they’ll definitely need to stay vigilant as the ice begins to close.
It should be interesting to watch the progress of the two ships as they not only race one another but the end of the season too.