Eric invited for a talk at GXSA, not far from London.
While France, Léonie and Aurore were promoting Ecotroll at Grand Pavois (boat show in La Rochelle), last week, I was on board the trimaran Northern Passage, in Canadian Arctic. Few days before, Børge Ousland called me to reinforce the crew of the Norwegian sail boat for one of the most exciting part of her journey: from Cambridge Bay to Pond Inlet, the heart of the North-West passage (look at the pictures)! Then Trygve replaced me in Pond Inlet to cross the Atlantic, so they are still four on board the trimaran, who could become soon the first yacht to sail around the Arctic in a single season (blog). Unless the Russians on board Peter 1st manage to catch up with Norwegians! It took us 17 months, on board Vagabond, to sail both passages (2002-2003)... What a difference to sail this year through a landscape with almost no ice, where we struggled for days to avoid wintering. The Norwegian trimaran's performance will allow more focus on the disappearing multiyear ice, which doesn't mean that navigation is safe in the Arctic: a cruise ship and a tanker went aground last summer in Canadian archipelago, because of poor charts (both boats are just back sailing). To the pack ice retreat, we need to add the coming oil rush in Greenland. For sure, it will increase sea traffic in this part of the Arctic. To better understand and witness all these changes, Vagabond will set sail from Brest in about seven months for another long polar stay, supporting the scientific community. To be continued!
Ecotroll arrived yesterday in Brest. The sea was not so smooth in Saint George's Channel, but the English Channel was much more welcoming: a lot of dolphins were showing us the route, jumping joyfully! More liveliness came when we crossed Ouessant shipping lane, with non stop traffic of various cargo ships. Approaching Brittany, Ecotroll was going up to 12 knots in Four Channel! We had to wait then for the current to change direction before going through the Goulet de Brest, so we dropped anchor in front of Plougonvelin to celebrate Alain's birthday and the end of our journey! Ecotroll is now moored to Vagabond at Moulin Blanc Port. Léonie was very moved, when recognizing again our faithful red hull. If her sister Aurore (9 months) spent more than half of her life on board Ecotroll, Léonie (3 years and half) mainly lived on board Vagabond, in Svalbard.
Ecotroll will sail from Brest tomorrow, to La Rochelle, with Alain and Marc, joined by Christophe and Nicolas. End of the five months journey for four of us, time to go back to school for Léonie (a little bit late!), while I'm getting ready to go to the North-West Passage for a few weeks...
Congratulations to Børge Ousland and to Thorleif Thorleifsson: they just sailed through the North-East Passage on board a trimaran, first part of their journey around the Arctic they want to finish before winter... Read their blog.
The competition is friendly with the Russian yacht Peter 1st, also trying to become the first yacht to sail around the Arctic within one season.
Ecotroll is finding her way between Scottish Islands, playing with her various power modes: kite, electric engines, diesel engines. Sun and wind are with us, many dolphins, seals, birds... and warm temperatures are nicely surprising us! Since our stop at Strendur's shipyard (Faroe Islands), where the team Nannidiesel / Technodrive / Flexball has been efficient, the ECOlogical TROLLer is heading South in very fine conditions. A short stop in Brest is planned by the end of next week, before sailing to La Rochelle for the Grand Pavois boat show (15th-20th September).