Into the unknown

By Martin Neville

Thursday, July 25, 2013

 

Into the unknown

Richard Nicolson, from the Isle of Wight, who will be attempting to traverse the Northwest Passage.

A LIFELONG ambition to traverse the infamous Northwest Passage through the frozen Arctic Ocean is to be attempted by an Island adventurer.

More people have climbed Everest or rounded Cape Horn than navigated the treacherous, icebound seas which link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

But next month Richard Nicolson, 46, of Cowes, will fly to Nome, Alaska, to join a self-funded team of five, led by experienced ice sailor Bob Shepton, 78, on a perilous expedition to survey and video the Arctic seabed.

Richard, who has raced and cruised in all corners of the world, said: "When my parents brought me up, they never questioned my desire to push myself or my occasional mad adventures.

"The Arctic Ocean is one of the last truly unexplored, rarely crossed and still unknown areas of the world.

"Only 160 expeditions have traversed the Northwest Passage. The main risk this year has been the slowest ice melt for 90 years, which means our window is tight before the autumn brings cold weather and the ice back."

Home for Richard, a father-of-two, and the all-British team will be a 33-foot Westerly, Dodo’s Delight, which stands to become the first glass-fibre and production boat to make the voyage.

"If the ice permits,we will also traverse the Prince of Wales Channel and Melville Strait — this would be a first for a glass-fibre boat," added Richard, who juggles a successful career in project management and leadership with semi-professional sailing.

The trip will raise funds for The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, which takes young people sailing to help them regain their confidence on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illness.

Follow Richard on his adventures, which start next month, here on the County Press website, www.iwcp.co.uk

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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