Surviving the Storm

The Arctic Joule is moving again. From their blog (and that weather report!) the winds were quite fierce. And they’ve reported a bit of controllability issue going through the Dease Strait. The updated chart PDF is here, with the front page snapshot here.

That controllability issue is very likely connected to their loss of the ability to extend their centerboard. From the Irish Times article, this was a key element in their deciding to quit. It seems to me that Cambridge Bay’s rough-and-ready population of 1,000+ people would be able to address it quickly, but of course the ice ahead on their route seems to be the real issue. The melt season is coming to a rapid end, with buildups already taking place in spots.

A pity, in a sense, as the following wind of the previous few days helped them a lot.  The storm cost them 2.5 days, but they’ve already shaved half a day from this (40km!) now that they’re under way again. They’re now at 46% done, by longitude and by track distance. It’s the first time these two numbers have been within a percent of each other.

Now they’re on the final stretch — less than a hundred miles to go — and need to stay safe. It looks good for them at the moment, but of course the Arctic is famously unpredictable, other than being predictably harsh and unforgiving.

In the meantime, Charles Hedrich is plowing ahead, alone, and has come up from the Northern Pacific to have just reached the point the Arctic Joule started from. He will not make it much farther, but he’s come a very long way and at least started from the Pacific proper. (And been thrown from the boat, and suffered a number of other mishaps that are pretty dire in a one-man vessel!) Click on a recent map thumbnail to see where he was recently.

I will be ready next year to track attempts, and I may have multiple sheets going if there is interest. What do you think?

By the way, if you’re itching for another voyage to follow, the captain of the Grey Goose has posted a list of 29 attempts launched this year at the Northwest Passage (more or less).

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • It would be nice if more of them used a common GPS position provider. The back door into the XML feed for Spot was certainly useful, as my earlier manual entry process was tedious. Especially with pings every ten minutes; I tended to skip pings in a straight line at a more or less constant speed.

    Currently, very few of the folks provide real position data; even Charles Hedrich provides a boat image on a map (kilometers long!) from which one would manually interpolate actual position.

    Next year, this is likely to improve. And I may put together some purpose-built software for data gathering, though I do like to have my hands on the data. (SPOT, for example, tends to skip or double up entries from time to time; I’ve put code in the sheet to alert to this.)

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Douglas_Kubler

    Sure, track all attempts. Even combine all GPS tracks onto a common map!