On the Assault of the Atlantic

Published on 06.10.2010 - The Northern Passage 2010

Ousland's Route back to Norway

Ousland's Route back to Norway

© IPF

Although Borge Ousland has made it now through the most difficult parts of his circumnavigation, he still has to face the North Atlantic Ocean -together with his two companions. And in this time of the year this is far by being a smooth sailing...

As meteorologist Marc De Keyser says when interviewed by Olav Grinde, “this last leg, especially, will be quite difficult because they have to cross the North Atlantic, which from a meteorological point of view is a ‘motorway for frontal depressions’. In other words, in this part of the Atlantic, and especially now during the autumn, depressions can form quickly and explosively, deepening as they move toward Europe. So at this stage of the expedition, it is even more important to study each and every run carefully. ..."

Børge says farewell to the glaciers of Greenland, and voices silent appreciation for his warm woollen underwear from Devold.

Børge says farewell to the glaciers of Greenland, and voices silent appreciation for his warm woollen underwear from Devold.

© Børge Ousland

So this means that Borge Ousland's expedition is not over yet.The crew must now concentrate on the route to be followed in order to avoid the major troughs of low pressure that travel above this part of the ocean at this time of the year. Fortunately, as we have just seen it in the previous paragraph, Ousland and his lads still have the support of meteorologist Marc De Keyser, who has his eye on the slightest dangers that could lie in wait for the trimaran on its return journey.

Another support that Northern Passage is enjoying - more moral no doubt - is the presence of the Russian yacht Peter the 1st (as mentioned in the previous update) in its immediate whereabouts. The two expeditions have indeed once again crossed the Pond Inlet on Baffin Island (the main sail stay was indeed all present and correct) and the people of Peter the 1st have helped the Norwegians to load their last equipment -mutual assistance between sailors from all parts of the globe being no empty word. And as the return routes are exactly the same, with the Russian sloop returning, for its part, to St Petersburg…

On 28 September, the two yachts that were sailing around the southern point of Greenland were hardly seven nautical miles apart from one another. Three days later, the Russian yacht was sailing more to the south, while Northern Passage, for its part, was virtually hugging the coast of Greenland. There was a distance of 170.3 kilometres between the two boats: 59.98871N / 49.70392W being the Russians’ position and 60.42496N / 46.70361W, that of the Norwegians.

Of course, neither of them will be turning this return to the home port into a race. For all that, one can nevertheless imagine that on one side as on the other, each one -including the skipper and the expedition leader- is secretly dreaming of crossing the south of the Shetland Islands (which to some extent marks the entry into the North Sea) in front…

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