Northwest Passage 2009

A forum devoted to passagemaking on and across the oceans of the world.

Northwest Passage 2009

Postby Blake » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:05 pm

px_bagan.jpg (29.55 KiB) Viewed 48773 times

I realize it's not a race but Bagan, the Nordhavn 57 that is one of six yachts aiming to transit the Northwest Passage this summer, better get a move on.

The Westsail 42 Fiona departed Lunenburg this afternoon for St. John's, passing Bagan in Halifax early this evening. The Corsair 31 Cap'n Lem is approaching Montreal on the St Lawrence River. The whereabouts of the purpose-built trawler yacht Polar Bound are not known but I'm certain Northwest Passage veteran David Scott Cowper is not lollygogging.

On the left coast, Ocean Watch and Silent Sound, two other sailboats bound for the Northwest Passage from the Pacific, are in or near Dutch Harbor, getting ready to start the Bering Sea portion of their adventure.

Meanwhile, Bagan is stuck in Halifax with significant, it seems, computer problems. All the MacBooks work just fine, but the PC tower keeps crashing.

Of the six yachts aiming to transit the top of North America, only two, Bagan and Polar Bound, are motor vessels. Polar Bound is the only one not keeping a blog or site.
Px_polar_bound.jpg (28.71 KiB) Viewed 48771 times

David Scott Cowper
Polar Bound
Custom 48-foot trawler yacht (power) ... wper.shtml

Tommy Cook
The Captain Lemuel R. Brigman III, aka Cap’n Lem
Corsair F-31 UC (sail)

Cameron Dueck
Silent Sound
Amor 40 (sail)

Eric Forsyth
Westsail 42 (sail)

Mark Schrader
Ocean Watch
Custom 64-foot cutter (sail)

Last edited by Blake on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:21 pm

Re: Northwest Passage 2009

Postby Georgs » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:30 pm

Actually, there are seven yachts attempting to transit the Northwest Passage this summer.

The seventh is Baloum Gwen, a custom 49-foot metal sailboat skippered by Thierry Fabing of France. He and his international crew crossed the Arctic from East to West last summer. They wintered in Alaska and are currently in Nome. Click here for the main site in French.

Baloum Gwen means white whale in the French dialect spoken in Brittany.

Last edited by Georgs on Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Georgs Kolesnikovs
Your host at since 2009
Your host at since 1997
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:16 pm
Location: Frenchman's Bay, Lake Ontario

Re: Bagan departs Newfoundland for Greenland

Postby Blake » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:31 pm

px_walrus_north_nome.jpg (31.59 KiB) Viewed 48330 times
Walrus, as photographed near Nome, Alaska, from Ocean Watch.

After a long week in St. Anthony's, Newfoundland, the Nordhavn 57 Bagan has found her weather window for the 900-mile passage to Greenland. As of this writing, Bagan is about 200 miles closer to her next port of call, a refueling stop at Sisimiut on the southwest coast of Greenland.

You can track Bagan's progress at the blog maintained by her owner, Sprague Theobald.

No word yet on the position of Polar Bound, the other trawler yacht aiming to transit the Northwest Passage this summer. David Scott Cowper was still home in the U.K. three weeks or so ago. He's the veteran of the transit across the top of the Arctic, having made the passage three times—singlehanded.

Meanwhile, five sailboats are also headed for the Arctic.

Heading north on the Atlantic, as is Bagan and Polar Bound, is the Westsail 42 Fiona. As of noon today, July 10, Fiona's position was 52 17N, 48 45W, about 700 nm from Nuuk, with 20 knots of wind on the nose.

Singlehander Tommy Cook on Cap'n Lem, a Corsair 31 trimaran, reached Quebec City yesterday in a somewhat dramatic fashion as he details in a blog that's always colorful.

On the Pacific side, Baloum Gwen is already in the Arctic Ocean,planning to depart Wainright, Alaska, for Barrow tomorrow. Click here for the main site in French.

Ocean Watch is about 200 miles behind Baloum Gwen, anchored at 68 52N 166 02W and waiting for a weather window to Barrow.

Silent Sound is 400 miles from the Arctic, also destined for Barrow.

The July report from Canadian Ice Service indicates ice breakup in the Arctic is running about two weeks ahead of normal.

Blake August
Northwest Passage dreamer
Last edited by Blake on Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:21 pm

Re: Northwest Passage 2009

Postby rapidanva » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:39 pm

It was a pleasure coming across your message board tonight. I'm leaving tomorrow for Nuuk, Greenland to join Capt. Eric Forsyth onboard S/V Fiona on its 2009 Northwest Passage attempt. Eric has a blog, (which you probably already have), and I have one as well, I'd like to have you join in, leave a word or two and take a look at our daily position (via a SPOT satellite beacon ... the link is on the blog. -Russ Roberts
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:34 pm

Re: Northwest Passage 2009

Postby rapidanva » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:12 am

I typed the wrong address for my blog in the prior post. Thanks for the "head's up" Blake! Here's the correct one:
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:34 pm

Re: Bagan enters Northwest Passage

Postby Blake » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:05 pm

Bagan_1st_Polar_Bear.jpg (76.2 KiB) Viewed 47740 times

The Nordhavn 57 Bagan has entered Lancaster Sound, officially starting the Northwest Passage. Here's owner Sprague Theobald writing in his blog:
During our first day traveling into The Passage we 1.) Were escorted by six Orca, 2.) Watched four polar bear on shore (above photo) and at 5:00 a.m. local have just dropped the hook on the south coast of Devon Island in Blanley Bay at the foot of an amazingly active and vocal glacier. The temps are in the high 30s, the wind and seas are flat and I’m heading to bed.

No word yet on the whereabouts of singlehander David Scott Cowper and Polar Bound, the other trawler yacht attempting the Passage this summer.

lancaster_sound,_nunavut,_canada.png (56.68 KiB) Viewed 47745 times

Meanwhile, four sailboats are on the move:

Fiona, a Westsail 42, is on the approach to Lancaster Sound after departing Upernavik,, Greenland, a few days ago.

Capn' Lem, a Corsair, is stuck in Cartwright, Labrador, waiting for a replacement autopilot to arrive. Singlehander Tommy Cook won't proceed without it.

In the west, Ocean Watch, a 63-foot steel cutter, has reached Tuktoyaktuk in Canada's Northwest Territories as has Baloum Gwen, a French boat, and Silent Sound, a 40-foot Canadian sailboat.

The condition of the ice across the Arctic is not clear. A report published in today's Montreal Gazette indicates ice pockets remain across the Passage, perhaps indicating that this summer will not be as ice-free as 2007 and 2008.

In other news, a commercial vessel for the first time is attempting the Northeast Passage across the top of Russia.

Blake August
Northwest Passage Dreamer
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:21 pm

Re: Northwest Passage 2009

Postby Carlo » Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:14 pm


thank you for the update

Carlo, The Netherlands
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:08 pm

Trimaran Cap'n Lem aborts solo attempt

Postby Blake » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:17 pm

Then there were six.

Tommy Cook, who was planning to attempt a solo transit of the Northwest Passage this summer, has decided to postpone the voyage until 2010.

He and his 31-foot Corsair folding trimaran were only as far as Labrador when he made the decision to abort. Here's how he explains it on his blog:
I would not trade one minute of meeting or talking to any of the wonderful people I’ve met on this voyage. I would not drop out a single anchorage from the list of where I’ve spent the night or miss even one of the little towns where I‘ve felt so welcome. But the apprehension over my time /distance ratio is taking its toll. My dreams of hundred mile days are not happening.

Yes, the goal is to transit the Northwest Passage. Yes, the goal is to do it solo. But I ask myself, what’s the hurry? Answer, there is none. I’m not in a race. I’m not a record breaker looking for a slot in a record book. Yes, I’ve scared myself a time or two, but in hind sight they were the results of hurry and lack of forethought. Plus many fears are the results of fatigue. After all, this is not a walk through a park. This is hard core coastal sailing, alone.

You see, everything is so ready! And that makes it hard to step back and reevaluate the timing. Hard, but not impossible. Having said that, I want to report that I have turned toward Goose Bay to find a suitable location to store the CAP’N LEM until next June at which time I want to continue on north with a greater time and safety margin and a fresher outlook. I’ve bitten off an incredible chunk of life here, and I just need to cut it into bits I can eat.

Six crews are still in the hunt: two trawler yachts and a Westsail are approaching the Arctic from the Atlantic, three sailboats coming from the Pacific are already east of Tuk in the NWT.

Blake August
Northwest Passage Dreamer
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:21 pm

Re: Northwest Passage 2009

Postby Cambridge Bay » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:14 pm

Greetings from the Arctic Coast Visitor Centre in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut!
We are looking forward to meeting all of our Northwest Passage visitors.
Please make contact with us before or when you arrive: email:, phone: 867-983-2224.
Our Visitor Centre hours are Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We are open Saturdays from 1:00 - 4:00. We can open for you after hours. Call Vicki at 983-5050 after hours if you need assistance. Cell phone service now works in Cambridge Bay. We have showers available, maps, pamphlets, a place to warm up, free coffee, internet access, northern-themed movies, bicycles to rent, and friendly information counsellors to connect you with whatever services or supplies you need while in Cambridge Bay, such as food, laundry, gas, or whatever.

Happy sailing!
Vicki, Mason and Melynda
Cambridge Bay
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:57 pm

Crew wanted for Northwest Passage transit

Postby Blake » Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:17 pm

Here's an opportunity of a lifetime:

Fiona, the Westsail motorsailer that has just begun an attempt on the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic, is looking for crew:
Fiona arrived Resolute on 4 Aug, position 74 41N, 94 53W. The ice in the south part of the NW Passage is still very thick and the local experts are not sure if, or when, it might break up. We will wait here for a week or so for developments. Russ is signing off in early Sept, of couse I am not yet sure where, depends on the Passage opening or not. But I will need a replacement crew. Anyone interested in details please contact Eric via email.

More on Fiona and the email address to reach the skipper you'll find here:

Blake August
Northwest Passage Dreamer
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:21 pm


Return to Passagemaking Under Power (tm)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest