Adrian Flanagan will not transit Russia's Arctic coast

Yachtsman Adrian Flanagan will wait until next summer to finish his round-the-world voyage via the polar regions.

Flanagan, 45, of Ludgershall near Oxford, put into Nome on Alaska’s west coast last month to make repairs to the engine of his 38ft stainless steel sloop Barrabas. The final phase of his ‘vertical’ circumnavigation was to be a transit of Russia’s Arctic coast. He had gained permission from Russian authorities to make the attempt without an ice-pilot, interpreter or escort. However, the delay has made this impossible as new ice is growing along the route.

‘My intention is to return in June 2007, in good time to make preparations,’ Flanagan said. ‘Sometimes it is harder to make the decision not to press on. I have to be pragmatic. There is little merit in taking unnecessary risks.’

The Russian Arctic has never before been sailed single-handed. Only five fully crewed yachts have made the passage.

Flanagan set sail from Hamble Point Marina on 28 October last year. During his voyage, he became only the 15th sailor to make a single-handed westabout rounding of Cape Horn against prevailing winds and currents, and also recorded the first single-handed, non-stop and unassisted passage between the UK and Hawaii.

Flanagan was inspired to make his circumnavigation after reading accounts of the epic voyages of Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Chay Blyth while still a schoolboy. However, it has not been without suffering, as he dislocated both wrists and was washed overboard without being attached to his lifeline. ‘I was certain that was the end,’ Flanagan said. ‘A wave placed me back on the boat. If miracles do happen, then that wave certainly qualifies.’