Follow the exciting blog of the 2009 Arctic Mariner Expedition in a Norseboat

Follow the exciting blog of the 2009 Arctic Mariner Expedition in a Norseboat

8th August, 2009

Two Royal Marines are currently navigating the ice-strewn central Northwest Passage in an open 17.5 foot Norseboat for charity.

Boating enthusiasts can follow their blog as they encounter whales, icebergs, polar bears and even mosquitos in their 24 hour-daylight voyage.

Kevin Oliver and Tony Lancashire with the benefit of lightweight materials, freeze-dried rations, and communications with the outside world, will be otherwise unsupported in making this journey.

The team are navigating the ice-strewn central Northwest Passage in a Norseboat powered only by oar and sail… to inspire, raise awareness and provide funding for using adventurous sailing in remote locations to rehabilitate those injured serving their country.

With extensive experience of the Arctic and small boats, they will rely on their initiative and determination to overcome the inevitable challenges caused by the cold, wind, waves and wildlife.  Emergency evacuation is possible as a last resort.

The Norseboat has three underfloor watertight compartments which will be used to stow water and food alongside bouyancy bags to provide guaranteed extra bouyancy.

It also has two underseat compartments for Kev and Tony’s “personal” gear, a large forward locker and a wet aft locker also containing the bilge. There are two watertight bags which are lashed under the bow for ready use items and can also act as a”grab bag” if they need to use the liferaft.  Download the complete equipment list and stowage plan.

Norseboat Limited of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, Canada have graciously given a 20% sponsorship to the expedition and made modifications to a standard NorseBoat 17.5 Sailing and Rowing Cruiser.

The NorseBoat 17.5 for the Arctic Mariner expedition is constructed of a fiberglass composite which has been reinforced for the ice and has extra buoyancy and stabilization features.  The NorseBoat 17.5 is stable, lightweight at 240kg, and capable of being rowed with its dual sliding seat rowing set-up or sailed with its robust, high performance rig.

The Northwest Passage was first successfully navigated by Roald Amundsen over three seasons, ending in 1906.

Over 100 years later, it remains a challenging proposition. Successful traverses demand skill, preparation, patience and luck.

Although currently much in the news, the Northwest Passage remains a true wilderness.

In the early 1800s, the Northwest Passage was probed from both East and West as far as the central ice-filled region between what is now Cambridge Bay and Resolute. This central region is steeped in history, particularly as it was the site of Captain John Franklin’s disastrous expedition of 1846-48 and the subsequent searches for it.

The two men will row, sail or haul their small craft 1700 miles along this historic route. Detailed study of recent ice charts has shown that the ice should progressively clear sufficiently to enable the passage. In seven weeks, they will pass the sites where Franklin’s men died, weakened through illness probably caused by lead contamination of their tinned food, as they struggled to find a way out of the passage.

You can follow their blog on or visit the Norseboats home profile page for more information on the boat itself.

Norseboats are now available in Australia!