Thursday, October 14, 2010

More famous boats in Kodiak

Last Spring we talked about a French group that got an old tug, replaced the engines with efficient new ones and even put a sail to help them save gas. They started in the Spring of 2009, sailed north around France, Scandanavia, turned East around Russia along the Northeast Passage and eventually made it to Alaska and Kodiak in May 2010.

Well, in September a Canadian group decided to get an 37 foot inflatable Zodiac, left New Brunswick and came across the broken ice of the Artic while Summer lasted. Their goal: 8,000 mile trip by turning West north of Canada, along the Northwest Passage, rounding Alaska and then going south to the west coast of Canada.These 2 guys were not into gas savings.

Here I take the liberty to paraphrase an article by Sam Friedman in the Kodiak Daily Mirror newspaper.

Their goal was to make it as quick as possible. And so they got three engines with 300 horsepowers each! With special "bladders" they can carry 1,000 gallons of gas and travel 1,000 miles between fill-ups. Is that 1 mile per gallon? Not bad for a boat that can reach 70 mph! (Much better than the tug's 8 gallons per mile, but without the comforts of home)

And travel quick is what they needed to do. Without a galley, a bunk, or head (eg toilet), they didn't want to stay out there too long.

Here's a picture of the "cabin": vinyl; and the size for 2 to sit in. Imagine living off granola bars and sleeping while sitting up.

Good thing one of these guys owns a company that makes special seats for boats that go out in rough seas: shock absorbers on the stem and special straps to keep them on the seat. Instead of riding out the storm they push through it.

Storms in the Bering Sea can alter anyone's plans. Riding through, strapped to their seats, caused 25Gs of acceleration as they rode those waves. That's twice the accelaration a fighter pilot experiences. So, it was down to 15 knots progress in seas in which fishing boats make absolutely no progeress, they just ride the troughs. Two and a half days and they make it form Barrow to False Pass!

So, once they got to False Pass they decide to spend a night on land and sleep in a cabin overnight. But that is not too restful either. A bear wakes them up, tearing down the wall of their cabin. So its back to the "safety" of their boat.

Last I hear, they were in our marina, seriously thinking of putting their boat on a barge and getting on a plane back to Canada.

1,500 miles short of their goal. But alive.

I think sometimes we do get some peculiar people here.

(P.S. Maybe, for comparison, next time we'll show you the largest ice breaker in the USCG fleet).

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