Belzebub II breaks record in NW Passage
Congratulations to the crew of Belzebub II, a 1976 Hallberg-Rassy Monsun 31, who have made it through the most northerly route possible in the Northwest Passage! Canadian Nicolas Peissel and Swede Edvin Buregren, with another American crew member, made it through the M’Clure Strait, never previously negotiated by a sailing boat.
No easy task; charts are notoriously inaccurate and the waters narrow in this area, and by Wednesday 29th August the crew of the Belzebub II had been awake for 48 hours navigating the dangerous waters. There were times when the M’Clure Strait was 40-50% filled with ice.
“Throughout this whole 48 hours, we were never clear if the ice was going to push up against the land and trap us for the winter,” Peissel told CBC News in Canada. “Everyone on board is ecstatic, but also very tired.”
Belzebub II stayed in the Parry Channel as they headed from east to west, making it the most northerly route completed by a sailing boat.
“This is unheard of. The bodies of water that we’re sailing through right now should be packed with thick ice,” Peissel added, as they head off to the Bering Sea at the height of the storm season. Part of the group’s mission is to raise awareness about climate change and the melting Arctic sea ice. Safe sailing!