OCC Barton Cup - 2011
(s/v Imvubu) was the worthy winner of this award for his incredibly fast 24-day voyage through the North West Passage. Ralf is to be congratulated on his achievement as are his crew, who were both novices – further credit to Ralf for looking after them so well. They were blessed with ideal conditions, but even had it been a different story, at 54ft and built of steel, the South African Imvubu and her South African crew could doubtless have handled it.
Ralf lives in South Africa and completing a circumnavigation to return home via the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. As he says: "Our transit through the North West Passage was an exercise in logistics. We had planned and prepared for the worst and were rewarded with the best in terms of weather and ice conditions. Of course luck is always welcome and we sure had our fair share, but technology played a great part. We only departed Newfoundland once the ice reports showed the passage opening. We then relied on our 3000nm fuel range to get us north quickly without any thought to conserving fuel. Once en-route we relied on our satcom, daily Canadian Ice Maps and Radar to keep us clear of the major iceberg concentrations. Failure in any one of these technological marvels could have changed our experience dramatically.
We completed the North West Passage Transit from Arctic Circle to Arctic Circle, 2940 nm in 24 days inc 5 days at anchor, an average speed 155nm per day, using approx 2500L of diesel.