Polish sailors with average age of 25 sail into record books

A group of Polish sailors has become the youngest crew to sail the Northwest Passage. The crew of yacht Stary, with an average age of 25, took six weeks to complete the sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Arctic archipelago of Canada. Accompanied by another yacht, Nekton, the two vessels also made it into the record books as the first Polish yachts to have conquered the legendary passage.

The Northwest Passage Jubilee Voyage started in Greenland on 15 August 2006 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Norwegian pioneer Roald Amundsen, the first person to sail the entire length of the Northwest Passage.

‘We navigated through ice, and by the time of the crossing were caught in a wind storm, whipping up high waves,’ said captain Slawek Skalmierski. ‘Our rudder line broke and the autopilot screw dismounted. Unable to make repairs in the gale, we had to steer manually. It was exhausting.’

The young crew also found time to climb Greenland mountains, paraglide over Arctic ice and visit a whale hunters’ village, before arriving in Nome, Alaska on 19 September. They are now continuing on their expedition to circumnavigate North America, through the Panama Canal, to Columbia, where they will explore the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria, the world’s highest seaside peaks. Find out more at www.amundsen.pl

Photo = Dominik Bac