Thursday, November 18, 2010

Graeme Kendall sets a new World Record - Solo Northwest Passage

Update 26/08/2005
"It is with a heavy heart that I have made the decision not to proceed further towards the North west passage. The conditions are now too dangerous and I can't go against mother nature and commonsense. The advice I have recieved from the Canadian Coast guard and the ice experts in the Arctic, and from fellow sailor Skip Novak on Pelagic is that the conditions in the passage are not favourable for this season. The passage is not expected to open and a retreat would be dangerous. My plan is now to head south out of the ice bergs and make for Nuuk, the capital of Greenland which is also known as Godthab meaning Good Hope. The last land I saw had the same name some 8250 nautical miles ago. After 4 months at sea and over 18000nm under the boat it is dissappointing to have to change direction but there is an old fishermans saying that - a decision made early is better than one made too late. I will continue these reports and would like to thank all those who have supported me and I hope that you will all continue to support the Variety childrens charity.
With respect, Graeme Kendall, 70north , The Arctic Circle.

When the wind fades away and the fish stay at bay,
When the the rain you need never comes.
And the clouds obscure the sun and the sea turns grey.
You wished you'd sailed around the world on another day.

Kiwi Yachtsman to Attempt World Sailing First Again

During his successful single handed 28,000 mile circumnavigation, Graeme sailed 32 of the worlds seaways and oceans, east to west, a course never before sailed solo


Christchurch yachtsman Graeme Kendall is setting out to achieve one of the last major world sailing records by sailing solo non stop around the world via the Arctic Northwest Passage. Kendall launched his specially constructed yacht, Astral Express, in Auckland on Saturday, the 26th of February.
The voyage will begin in Auckland in late April. Kendall plans travel to North Cape then head westward to pass north of Australia and round the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, north across the Atlantic to the northern coast of Canada and Alaska through the Northwest Passage. Then south across the Pacific Ocean, and returning to Auckland. It is estimated the trip will take 150 to 180 days and cover 28,000 (40,000km) nautical miles, unaided with no stopovers, but relying on the latest technology available.
The Northwest Passage has only recently become a navigable reality with the aid of satellite technology, which has given sailors the ability to monitor ice flows, and therefore a safe passage, during the months of August and September. With recent navigation of the Northwest Passage by private yachts and given similar warm Arctic conditions this milestone should be achievable.
This is one of the last major world sailing records to be challenged, and would be a great achievement for New Zealand and those involved.
The voyage is being funded entirely by Christchurch based Kendall, who has secured 0900 CHILD, which will be sign-written along the side of the boat to raise money for charity. Primarily he will be raising money for Variety – The Children’s Charity, 20% of money raised will also be split between Cholmondeley Home, Christchurch and The Christchurch Bone Marrow Trust.
Graeme Kendall says he aims to raise $25 for each Kilometer sailed through the 0900 number.
This will be an extraordinary solo round the world yacht trip. Not only will Graeme achieve a notable yachting first, he will also, potentially, raise a great deal of money for some very worthy charities.

Congratulations to New Zealand sailor Graeme Kendall. Sailing his Elliott 1250, Astral Express, Kendall has successfully transited the Northwest Passage, solo. His is the first successful solo crossing and he now holds the world record for the fastest solo voyage through the Passage. He entered Lancaster Sound on August 27th & exited Barrow Point on September 9 non-stop in a record 12 days. Kendall, who made an unsuccessful attempt in 2005 returned this year to re join his yacht and has finally achieved his dream. His passage is part of a circumnavigation of the world to include the Northwest Passage. Kendall is now making his way back to Auckland.

Northwest Passage - Background
1. ROALD AMUNDSEN: First Navigation by Ship
1905: In mid August, Roald Amundsen sailed from Gjøahaven (today: Gjoa Haven, Nunavut) in the vessel Gjøa. On August 26 they encountered a ship bearing down on them from the west, and with that they were through the passage. From Amundsen's diary:
The North West Passage was done. My boyhood dream - at that moment it was accomplished. A strange feeling welled up in my throat; I was somewhat over-strained and worn - it was weakness in me - but I felt tears in my eyes. 'Vessel in sight' ... Vessel in sight.
2. ST. ROCH: First West-East Crossing
1940-1942: The St. Roch was given the task of demonstrating Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. It was ordered to sail from Vancouver to Halifax by way of the Northwest Passage.
The St. Roch left Vancouver in June 1940 and on October 11, 1942, it docked at Halifax - the first ship to travel from the Pacific to the Atlantic via the Northwest Passage. The journey had taken almost 28 months.
3. ST. ROCH: Northern Deep-Water Route (East-West) 
1944: The St. Roch was the first ship to travel the Northwest Passage through the northern, deep-water route and the first to sail the Passage in both directions.
1845-48: Although Sir John Franklin was on the right track, his ships, the "Terror" and the "Erebus", became frozen in the ice near King William Island. The ships disappeared and all 129 men were lost. MORE...
1819-20: Parry led a number of expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage, and he was almost successful. One of his expeditions qualified for the £5,000 prize offered by the Board of Longitude to the first vessel to cross the 110th meridian in high northern latitudes.
6. ROBERT McCLURE: Proved Route Existed 
1850-54: While his ship was trapped in the ice, McClure set off by sledge and discovered a passage between Banks Island and Victoria Island. Coming west to east, this linked up with Parry's previous postion coming east to west. McClure and his crew were awarded the £10,000 prize for finding the Passage.

1. Typical Northwest Passage Route (Black)
2. Roald Amunsden: First navigation by ship (White)
3. St Roch: First West-East crossing (Green)
4. St Roch: Northern deep water route
5. Franklin Expedition: Attempt (Dark Red)
6. Sir William Edward Parry: Attempt (Purple)
7. Robert McClure: Proved route existed (Orange)
- - - - -

week1 bkft food snack lunch dinner extras
sultana bran soup mac cheese beef curry jerky
FD apple le snak satay beef pp lamb fettucine cordial
FD porridge choco pp chick Rt chick jerky
FD muesli gingernut udon noodle Apricot chk tea bags
x gum baked beans tika chick cheese spread
Use mashed potato to instant noodle tuna fresh meal juice conc
thicken if too much water muesli bar salmon fresh meal loaf bread
is added to main meals fruit cake fresh meal hash potato skim milk
There are two servings of fruit fresh meal mash potato
potato a week -hash, mash fruit xx veges mixed

week 2 Scrambled egg gingernut mac cheese pp chk pasta full milk pwd
porridge digestive satay beef pp Baboyjie milo
cooked bkft cashew pp chick Rt lamb loaf bread
FD apple raisin nut Un Ben rice mexican chick prune
xx soup tuna Country beef milkshake
porridge use 120g or le snak salmon tika chick cordial
1/2 c with hot water to kitkat dol pasta teriaki beef juice conc
make, add honey, dates muesli bar dol mush sc hash potato jerky
x gum Can Irish stew mash potato jerky
x candy lollies xx vege jerky
x noodles xx vege jerky

week 3 Apricot FD soup mac cheese s/s lamb tea baga
Strawberry FD licoric satay beef pp Apricot chk jerky
cornflakes le snak pp chick Thai chicken jerky
FD muesli raisin nuts chili bean spag bol jerky
FD porridge muesli bar tuna tika chick juice conc
x gum salmon honey soy ck cordial
x gingernut pasta mea Satay beef PP skim milk
x bis choc chip dol pasta hash potato
x cashew dol tom sc mash potato
x kitkat xx vege
x noodles xx vege

week 4 lightntasty gingernut mac cheese Satay beef PP loaf bread
FD porridge wheaten choco satay beef pp pp lamb full milk pwd
Scrambled egg soup pp chick spag bol milo
FD apple noodles tuna Baboyjie juice conc
milkshake raisin nuts salmon tika chick jerky
x choco can steak oinon Thai chicken jerky
Use cheese sauce, gravy bar choc dol pasta honey soy ck jerky
to alter flavour of main cashew dol tom sc hash potato jerky
meals muesli bar pasta mea mash potato
x candy lollies xx vege....
repeat week1,2,3,4...

Update 19/11/2010
Global warming. No I am not an expert but I sure do get a lot of questions. My view; all pollution is bad and I did notice more of it in the northern hemisphere where most of the worlds population lives. The Arctic appears to have less ice each season at the moment, but this is probably cyclic and might not be the case in a few years time. I have been lucky to use the mostly ice free waters to sail the north west passage in 2010 as did amunsden in 1903. Maybe the Antarctic is not any warmer than usual at present, perhaps this is why scientists etc are using the phrase' climate change' instead of 'global warming' as the changes seem to be isolated and more prominent in the Northern hemisphere. The dynamics between the earth and the sun are so enormous that it must be very difficult to prove a greenhouse effect... especially over such a short period of time like the last few decades.
Update 08/11/2010
Referring to my log book, I recorded a total distance from Lancaster Sound to Barrow Point of 1,782 miles at an average speed of 146 miles per day. The slowest being 106 through Queen Maude Gulf and the fastest 185 in the Beaufort Sea. I estimated the short cut via Victoria Strait saved about 140 miles and more than a days sailing. my average speed for the whole 68 day 10,000 mile voyage from Nuuk to Auckland was 148 miles per day which is similar to my average speed on the outward journey . In 2005 this part of the voyage took 125 days and covered 18,300 miles. Sailing the north west passage from east to west proved favourable for me with currents generally in the right direction and winds more so. The only downside was having to push current and often unfavourable & sometimes gail force winds through Bering Strait & Bering Sea. The lows that come through this area in early October are intense & relentless. 

Email from Peter Semotuik:
 (Peter has monitored all vessels through the North West Passage for the past 30 years)
Dear Graeme -

Congratulations on accomplishing a non-stop, single handed sail from Nuuk, Greenland to Auckland, New Zealand; through the Northwest Passage.

I have checked my records for solo Northwest Passage attempts; there weren't many.

You are the first to have made it through solo non-stop, and in record time by sailing it in one season (2010).

There were two previous solo attempts, one was done in one season, by a motor vessel that had made stops, and the other was by a sail boat that took three seasons, and most likely used the engine. 

Peter Semotiuk
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut 

Email from Nuuk Transport, Greenland:
"To Graeme

Very big congratulations from all of us at Nuuk Transport office. We have followed your trip every day with excitement and prayed for your safe homecoming to New Zealand.

What a journey, and what a performance.

You truly earned a medal for your great achievement, since you are one of the last pioneers. Your name should rank among Robert Scott, Roald Amundsen, Thomas Cook and Niel Armstrong.


Inussiarnersumik inuulluaqusilluta/Med venlig hilsen

Fridrikur Blahamar Hansen

Update 29/10/2010
"Getting over the festivities of arriving and such a warm welcome it was. Took Edward, family and friends for an afternoon sail on Waitemata Harbour yesterday afternoon. Washed the salt off the boat, put water in the tank and away we went for a few hours. So pleased that the boat was in such good shape to be able to take it out for a sail the following day.
So special to have Edward and his family come over and see them again on my arrival, and a fond farewell at the airport this morniing. It has been decided to now sell the boat and I am going to spend the next few weeks getting the boat serviced. Any enquiries please feel free to get in touch.
Great to have feet on dry land and have fresh food that I don't have to cook myself! Still a bit wobbly (I don't think it's the alcohol!) but starting to re-adjust.

I'll be looking to keep updating this site on a weekly basis with further info on my journey.

Cheers, GK
Email: | Phone: +64 21 440 424

Curriculam Vitae – Graeme Kendall

Sailing record - As Captain
  • Lyttelton to Fiji return
  • Lyttelton to Hawaii via Cooks, Society and Marquesas Islands
  • Hawaii to Lyttelton via Fiji two handed
  • Picton to Lyttelton and races, solo
  • Picton to Sydney
  • Lyttelton to Melbourne
  • Around Tahiti race
  • Melbourne - Osaka two handed race
  • Lyttelton Chatham Island return
  • Circumnavigation of South Island
  • Extensive sailing about cook strait and French Polynesia
  • Dozens of coastal trips to Marlborough Sounds and Auckland
Sailing Record - As Crew
  • Kenwood cup yacht race series Hawaii
  • Whitbread Round the World Yacht race
  • Bluff to Lyttelton with Sir Peter Blake
  • Many delivery trips
On yachts of his own, has cruised and raced over 100,000 miles during the past 35 years to become a competent seaman, navigator and cook. With the necessary experience and temperament to make a successful attempt on this record.
Being a fit sailor, has in the past nine months, helped deliver yachts from Tonga to New Zealand, Sydney to Brisbane and Auckland to Picton. 

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