Briton Adrian Flanagan resumes his Alpha Global Expedition sailing solo through the north east passage

On June 25th, British yachtsman Adrian Flanagan resumes his quest to sail the first ever single- handed ‘vertical’ circumnavigation of the globe. Flanagan, 46, set sail on the Alpha Global Expedition on 28th October 2005 and covered 26,000 miles going west around Cape Horn to Nome, Alaska where his 40ft stainless steel sloop, ‘Barrabas’ has spent the Arctic winter. Flanagan’s route will take him along Russia’s Northern Sea Route. Success will see ‘Barrabas’ become the first British flagged yacht to sail Russia’s Arctic coast and Flanagan, the first sailor to achieve this feat single-handed. The distance from Nome Alaska to the UK is 4,800 miles, the first 2,000 miles of which will be through ice-strewn waters. The Russian government has granted Flanagan special permission to make the attempt. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who achieved the first single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation in 1969, has described Flanagan’s Alpha Global Expedition as, ‘A serious challenge’.

Expedition Manager and Flanagan’s ex-wife, Louise says, ‘The Alpha Global Expedition Arctic Phase is the greatest challenge of the voyage. The Russian Government has shown vision and imagination in granting Adrian unprecedented access to their territorial waters’.

Flanagan will be assisted by Canadian firm MDA which operates 2 space satellites, Radarsat I & II. Images of the ice edge will be taken relative to Flanagan’s position and the data fed to the expedition base. Routing directions will then be communicated to Flanagan on board ‘Barrabas’.

The navigable window in the high Arctic is very short and if Flanagan clears the ice fields he should be mooring up at The Royal Southern Yacht Club in the Hamble River in early September.