Adrian Flanagan wrestles with ear defenders as he makes his way into the Chukchi Sea 26/7/07

Adrian Flanagan, the adventurer who’s aiming to make first ever single-handed transit of the Arctic Ocean along Russia’s Northern Sea Route has now cleared the Bering Strait.

Flanagan restarted his global challenge last Sunday (22 July) from Provideniya see previous news story here , and at 2332 last night was at a position of 67.43 N 174.29 W. However, the last few days have been tough due mainly to lack of sleep but apparently he managed to slot in four hours last night, commenting: “I woke at 0600 (local time) to find the wind had built to 15 knots from the SSW. This put it just behind my port beam, Barrabas’s fastest point of sail. Off went the engine, out came the sails and suddenly we were cruising at 6.5 knots and mercifully silent bar the natural lilting slap of sea on hull.

“For the technically orientated – my fuel consumption since leaving Provideniya is coming in at just over 2 ltrs/hr at 1,750rpm against my factored 3.0 ltrs/hr. Average speed is 4.5 knots against the factored 3.0.

“Winds have been generally favourable and at every opportunity I have used the wind to increase boat speed over the ground (SOG). In other words, we are going further faster on less fuel than anticipated. This effectively increases my fuel reserve and is thus a lesser worry than it might be.”

Flanagan’s main concern right now is his lack of ear defenders. He says that din of the engine is hellish in the confined space down below. The sensation is like pressing your face against the engine of a London taxi with the bonnet up and the driver pressing the gas. “The net result,” added Flanagan, “is I think I’ve damaged my hearing.”

“?My answer has been to fashion makeshift ear-defenders. Two (new) washing-up sponges held in place with a skiing headband and then firmly locked down over my ears with Velcro strapping over the headband.

“I’ll probably find the Russians have being trying desperately to raise me over the radio and I never even heard them. Next thing I know, some patrol boat will come alongside and board Barrabas to find an English guy with two washing-up sponges clamped to the sides of his head. If they thought I was crazy for wanting to sail the NSR single-handed, they’ll know it for sure then?”