A couple of French explorers attempt the North-West Passage under sail

Main photo by Hortense Hébrard: ‘Babouche’ sails in the Alps

“Doctor Livingstone, I presume.” The famous greeting by Stanley upon meeting the famous explorer in Africa, could have been heard again in Nome Alaska on Sunday.

Alpha-Global expedition skipper, Adrian Flanagan is working flat out on his steel-hulled yacht Barrabus in preparation for completing his trip back to the UK via the north coast of Russia. He wrote the following entry in his weblog today:

“My routine of work, work, worry, work, more worry and on and on was interrupted (pleasantly) on Sunday when a tapping at the bow caught my attention. Up on the harbour wall were a couple of guys. It turned out they were French – Sebastian and Eric, who had just sailed in on a small, Kevlar catamaran – “Babouche” – so called because its shape is reminiscent of a Moroccan slipper. The boat’s odd appearance is by design.

“It is supposed to be able to meet low pack ice at speed, climb up onto the ice and continue sailing on top of the pack. They are going to try the North West Passage. If you thought (or indeed think) I was crazy, these guys – all lantern-jawed, tousled-haired, broken-nosed Gallic confidence – have no engine, no radar (neither have I at the moment until I figure out how my new one works) and only two handheld GPS units for navigation.

“Over a ‘Vietnamese’ coffee at the Nugget Inn this morning, we all agreed to meet up at the Paris Boat show in December.”

Click here for the latest from Adrian Flanagan on the Alpha-Global expedition: www.agx.firetrench.com

Click here for the latest on the Babouche North-west passage expedition: www.babouche-expe.eu