Wednesday, April 20, 2005

North by northwest for New Zealand Voyager

New Zealander Graeme Kendall aims to solo around the world – not a unique ambition, but well worth noting because he’s attempting a first in sailing by traveling via the Arctic Northwest Passage. He leaves next week and according to this article, faces a trip of 150 to 180 days while covering over 28,000 nautical miles. His 40 foot, Kevlar-reinforced yacht is billed as “unsinkable.” For his sake we hope so. In the article he rates his chances of success 60 – 40 and notes that polar bears are worry - they are drawn by the smell of food cooking. The Northwest Passage is defined as the route from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Arctic Archipelago of northern Canada and along the northern coast of Alaska. As Graeme says, the trip has three distinct phases – reaching the entrance to the passage (16,000 miles from Auckland), getting through it and getting back. One interesting note is that advances in satellite technology are what makes this extreme sailing voyage even remotely possible.

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