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Overwintering In The Arctic

By doina — last modified May 26, 2005 12:15 PM

Published: 2005-05-26 12:15:37
Topics: Cruising Information

We have just received the following report from Eric Brossier on "Vagabond" after completing a successful winter in the Arctic. Eric's yacht is the first ever yacht to circumnavigate the world through the NW and NE Passages.

Vagabond will sail again in few weeks time, it will be the end of a great wintering.

After 4 months alone, without sun but bewitched by northern lights and moonshine, France and I saw the first snowmobiles arriving. Then some new experiments started, in addition to the measurements we have been doing since October. From the end of the polar night, in mid February, we have been welcoming 6 teams, one after the other, for about one week each time. We were also visited by family, friends, skiers, dog sledges, cameramen, an artist, a journalist... and many polar bears! Not long ago, one of them completely destroyed an equipment storage tent, coming back several times to finish his job! The intense activity slowed down early May, we are enjoying the midnight sun, and we are waiting for the ice breaking up, probably mid June. Then Vagabond should be free, after having been trapped by the pack ice for about 8 months... Scientists and French Polar Institute (IPEV) are satisfied about logistics from Vagabond, we are in demand to do it again next winter ! Before that, collaboration with IPEV will continue during the summer, and we will be sailing North-East of Greenland, first with birdwatchers, then with geologists.

Some figures about our wintering: 200 candles, 7 litres of paraffin, about 2000 litres of diesel for heaters and generator, 50 kg of biscuits, 75 kg of flour, 15 litres of oil, 20 kg of powder milk, 20 kg of chocolate, 700 soups, 250 kg of dog food (for our 2 polar dogs!), 188 CTD casts, 55 polar bears met; maximum temperature difference between inside and outside: 60°C; lowest temperature: -40°C; strongest wind: 60 knots; min/max air pressure: 961/1039 mb; today's ice thickness around Vagabond: 1m90...

Our logbook and photo album are still being updated, you will know all about the ice breaking up, you may react and send us SMS!

You will find a first 13 minutes film about our wintering, in Voiles et Voiliers DVD magazine, on sale after June 18th (July issue).

We wish to warmly thank our partners, as well as everyone who contributed to gather such good conditions for this adventure.

A bientôt! Eric Brossier

Logbook and pictures of the wintering: http://vagabond.piem.org/Spitsberg2004.php3

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