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,



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by Fred Byrne

31st July 2013, at 15:14:15

I really hope you have a very successful voyage. Does anyone know if the Northwest Passage is open at the moment? I have a feeling this may be the last passage for some time as the temperature is lower than normal north of 80N. Sailing ships passed through it in the 1920's and considering the difficulties of astro-navigation at such high latitudes it must have been really hairy!

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by Douglas Pohl

26th July 2013, at 21:39:54

Richard, 135 vessels have made 185 transits in the 107 year history of the NW Passage. Lets get your facts strait before the Media publishes it... Have a great trip - Rev Shepton is a great man - you are in for the adventure of a lifetime. Please post pictures and your reflections - the Arctic is mystical - READ ARCTIC DREAMS by Lopez before you get there... he knows the Arctic better than anyone! Smooth Seas!

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by Don Prescott

25th July 2013, at 19:31:09


Tell me who made you believe that?
One the few remaining eco warriors left on the island, given that most were at Balcombe, blowing bubbles, playing pan pipes and breaking the law by blocking the highway and getting away with it?

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by Mike Crowe

25th July 2013, at 17:18:21

""" the slowest ice melt for 90 years, """

I was made to believe that with 'global warming' the ice caps were vanishing faster than the speed of sound.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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