The Northwest Passage season is concluded

The Northwest Passage season is concluded

The Northwest Passage crossings season is over and three OCC vessels made successful transits.

By Victor Wejer - 07/11/2017

From Victor Wejer, winner of the OCC Award of Merit:

Well, the Northwest Passage crossings season is over and all sail boats that made the start accomplished their own tasks. There have been many complaints as the Arctic was not so easy for them and few enjoyed the adventure of difficulty and the unknown. The season's ending after the official conclusion was as difficult as ever mainly due to mixed storms of the Labrador Sea and West Atlantic. Merging and overlapping lows were adding to difficulties of guess work and the influence of those hurricanes to say the least.

"Irene" with OCC members Peter and Ginger Niemann, had a hard time leaving Greenland, eventually reaching Nova Scotia on about 15 October with the engine needing service. After an unsuccessful search for a mechanic in Cape Breton, they managed to sail to Halifax where the engine was fixed.

See part of their mail to me:
"Yes, we are new members of OCC. We joined very shortly before leaving Seattle for the NWP, having just met Gavin and George McLaren on the “Margaret Wroughton”. Looking forward to joining club activities! "

Next on the OCC list is Roger Wallis, well known Polar sailor from Australia. This year was his 4th crossing of NWP. He made it to Norway with no sweat on a 75 ft. "Abel Tasman" schooner.

He wrote to me:
"What great news, an Award of Merit from the Ocean Cruising Club…..congratulations, well done & about time!!! I know a little bit about how much effort you put in to help sailors like myself. That is so good & well deserved, I’m proud to say I know you. I’m actually an OCC member myself."

Charlie Simon, an OCC member who sailed his Taswell 58 "Celebrate", was one of the best fighters of difficult ice this year. His many attempts to prevail against heavy ice eventually were crowned on 27 August when he reached James Ross Str. westbound being invited by near ice free seas. He didn't hesitate and pushed forward and now he is at San Diego making Gulf of Alaska in single stint and cruising the famous Inside Passage as if it was his home. Good show to follow.

The best crossing goes to "Nehaj" an 11·9 m cutter (GER) sailed by Susanne Huber-Curphey (East 6). She was the recipient of the 2008 CCA Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship. She is the first female to make the NWP single handed and she did it with great style of ability and perseverance, beating many experienced crew who were way ahead. Also, she was proclaimed by many 2017 crews as a ‘sweetheart’ of the crossing providing all support and immense friendship to others despite her own resources being at their limits. Personally I found some ice tricks for her and she outfitted herself with many others in between having hundreds of emails & SMS'es exchanged despite her NWP communications failing many times.

If I was a member of the OCC, I would designate her for one of the OCC Awards. She should receive the 2017 Crown of the NWP.

Victor Wejer

Editor's note: It was fun to see OCC boats in the NWP on the Fleet Map this year.

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