My Passport arrived back from the US Embassy this morning with a Visa so I depart early tomorrow morning! Goodbye sunshine - hello Ice!
"We are proud sponsor of Richard Nicolson’s North West Passage record breaking attempt, pleased to be involved in the ecological studies, whilst making our small contribution to The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Datasharp have supplied an Iridium satellite phone for the expedition."
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Introduction article in the Isle of Wight County Press - when communications allow I hope to be able to get updates to them during the expedition.
Here's the article online.
So the warm (dare I say hot!) weekend was spent finalising all things domestic (bear in mind I will have three months without a postal service or the ability easily to pay the bills), checking and double checking my kit list, ensuring as much as possible is packed in water proof liners (see image left of basic personal kit prior to packing) and collecting last minute spares requested from the team already languishing in Nome, Alaska.
In theory I am to depart tomorrow, HOWEVER as of now I don't have my US visa, nor my passport both which are at the US Embassy - so it looks like a day or two of travel delay which in the current weather I normally wouldn't mind, however the ice is starting to recede and the crew are patiently waiting for me, furthermore what I thought were good value one way air tickets are now about to become much more costly.
However safe to say we are definitely on count down!
Well what a week! Kit has arrived from SLAM... thanks to all of the team, in particular James for putting it together and supporting the expedition in so may ways - more to follow on the SLAM kit performance in the Arctic - but it is of great quality and design.
Main issue (and I won't dwell on it in case I come up against a wikileaks scenario): BUT the US London Embassy have created a load of hurdles to my trip - as of now I can't get a visa... but as the ice is still thick in Alaska, and this is just another challenge to make it all successful.
Thank you all for the huge fund raising success so far for the Ellen MacArthur Trust.. with gift aid included we are very close to half way of the target (perhaps we should think of increasing the target... please continue to support, donate and help this wonderful charity that REALLY makes a difference!
I went to the dentists today - the ladies running and managing the reception there were so enthusiastic about the trip... go on girls get the surgery to advertise the great fund raising cause!
So I have a little time out on Sunday - off to The Goodwood Festival of Speed.... talk about chalk and chease!
In August I am flying out to Nome, Alaska to complete a lifelong ambition to transverse the infamous North West passage East to West through the ice-laden Arctic Ocean.
The NW passage was first successfully crossed in 1903-06 by Norwegian; Roald Amundsen. The route between the Atlantic and Pacific has long held commercial trading route opportunities however today remains a barren wilderness that remains little explored. There have been numerous stories of failure. In recent decades the effects of global warming and the melting of the ice has enabled more transits to be successful, but in the main these have been in commercial craft or custom steel or aluminum yachts.
This expedition will be the return passage (East to West successfully completed in 2012) for a production, glass fibre 33’ yacht – which in itself on successful completion will be record-breaking firsts. The total number of transverses recorded to 2011 is 160.
The expedition, in a true Corinthian spirit, is by a self-contained team of five people, entirely self reliant and self-funding. In addition, the Arctic ocean seabed has had little, if any research. The expedition will include the surveying and videoing of the seabed, in particular around glacier outfalls to determine the effect of the ice on the seabed and investigate what marine plants and sea life exist. This data will be recorded using a specially designed underwater camera for analysis by a specialist marine biologist on completion.
I will in due course be announcing exciting news in regards to raising funds for an excellent charity, however in the meantime I am therefore looking for sponsors in kind or significant equipment discounts to assist in preparation of the expedition.
2012 the year of the London Olympics took me landside project manageing the catering infrastructure - 142 kitchens across the venues. Now back to some sailing exploits!
It's October already, though the weather is almost Spring like. August and September were hectic months for me. The main August project was getting the J109 through Cowes week undamaged and on to the Fastnet. Both were achieved despite some blustry Cowes week weather. The FAstnet was a great tactical race, we were in the top 20 all the way to the final hours but lost out when we had to kedge mid channel in 80m of water. Nevertheless we brought back the boat in good condition as 23rd in class with only a broken cooker gimbal (which I managed to repair during the race much to the relief of the crew who didn't fancy dry freeze dried food!),
Much of September was spent in the Med. Sailing aboard the beautiful Anker designed 1925 "Leonore" also previously known as Cotton Blossom II rebuilt a few years back by Dennis Conner. We raced at the Monaco Classic, Panerai Reggatta Royale Cannes and LesVoiles de St Tropez. With a second in Monaco and two firsts in Canne and St Tropez we left elated, depite light and flukey winds for much of the racing.
Yesterday I had an interesting race across the solent with the record breaking L'Hydroptere trimaran. The famous multi record holder, capable of speeds in excess of 50 knots had one reef and staysail up and still managed to track between Calshot spit and the Medina entrance at averages of between 23 and 30 kts. The crew - and what looked like guests stood around quite nonchalantly as I crested the RIB to get ahead and take some piccies.
Richard Nicolson - Sailing West to East across the North West Passage in aid of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
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