Sailing due East on the Beaufort Sea

Published on 12.09.2010 - The Northern Passage 2010

Ousland's itinerary

Ousland's itinerary

© IPF

Trimaran 'The Northern Passage' is now sailing in the Beaufort Sea. It should reach Cambridge Bay in a few days. For the moment, as they say, "Our multihull is a happy ship". This means crew encounters good weather conditions and finally the winds have turned out perfect for them.

Four people on board

On board the 'The Northern Passage', there are now four crew members instead of three : Ibrahim Sharaf and Vincent Collard have joined Borge at Point Barrow whereas Stanislav Kostyashin has gone home to Russia.

Crew left Point Barrow on 7 September after having received new supplies and fresh food. Unfortunately, the big sail forestay which was broken could not be replaced (it did not arrive from Corsair in time) ; so they had to improvise with some wire generously given by the crew of another boat they knew. These supplies will last until they arrive in Cambridge Bay in few days time.

An over motorized place

What did they think about this stopover in the American territories ? Thorleif has his answer : "In Point Barrow we experienced how the American culture forcefully displaces the indigenous original culture. There were motorized vehicles everywhere, with large four-wheel drive vehicles and snowmobiles were parked in front of just about every house.

Thorleif and Ibrahim on watch on the “Northern Passage”.

Thorleif and Ibrahim on watch on the “Northern Passage”.

© Børge Ousland

I think of this as a warning of how it might become in Norway, should we continue to worship speed and efficiency and embrace motorized traffic to the same degree in our outlying areas. I am thinking particularly of Finnmark, our vulnerable northernmost county, which is home to the Sami people.

Point Barrow is the northernmost American outpost, just as Longyearbyen is for us Norwegians. It is clearly also a tourist destination. We saw a fishing vessel that offered a kind of expedition experience for their passengers. There were groups of people wandering about in white clothing and life jackets who had come to visit this civilization’s outpost in the Arctic. I confess I was a bit frightened by the development I saw, but people we met in Point Barrow were invariably helpful and pleasant."

French adventurer Eric Brossier will join them soon

Very soon Borge Ousland and his three companions will enter probably the most difficult part of their Arctic adventure. When arriving in Cambridge Bay (Ikaluktutiak) they will joined by French adventurer Eric Brossier who has a great experience in sailing in these Arctic waters since he has so far completed both northeast and northwest passages with his boat 'Vagabond'.

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