Storm force winds further hamper Adrian Flanagan global expedition progress 5/9/07

Adrian Flanagan’s hopes of southerly winds to clear ice north-east from his position at Ostrov Preobrazheniya have been dashed. Instead a cyclone to the north is creating stormforce winds further hampering his progress on his vertical global record attempt.

Forty-six-year-old Flanagan reached Provideniya in Russia on Sunday 22 July but the ice on the north-eastern side of the Tyrmyr peninsular is now blocking the eastern approaches to Proliv Vil’kitskogo. Several days ago he was informed that southerly winds were expected between 3-8 September (see previous news story here) and that these winds could conceivably clear the ice north-east and thus create a window of opportunity. But instead there’s now a cyclone to the north creating further problems.

In his latest log from Russia, Flanagan said: “?We all know that weather forecasting is an inexact science at best. In the north Polar region there are numerous additional complicating factors which make forecasting more of a hit and miss exercise. AARI have informed us that stable southerly and south-westerly winds are predicted between 9th and 15th September. Again, if these winds prevail, there is a good chance that the Tyrmyr ice massif will shift to the north-east a sufficient distance to give me the prospect of an inshore route towards the Vilkitskiy Strait.

“The problems however, have been recently confounded by information from West Marine Operations HQ. None of the Russian icebreakers are equipped with cranes of sufficient tolerance to lift Barrabas. There is however, a commercial cargo vessel due to arrive in Tiksi on 11th September. She will load timber and depart for Murmansk on 15th September. I could hitch a ride with this ship and logistics and costs are being worked out.

“Tiksi is about 350 miles east of my position which means that if I choose this option, I would have to leave my anchorage here at Ostrov Preobrazheniya on 8th September, three days from now. If on the other hand, I wait here to see whether the southern winds materialise I will miss that ride. If the winds come, I will have a chance. If they don’t I will be stuck on the wrong side of the strait with new ice beginning to grow and no way through. If the winds come and I make a run for it, there is the attendant risk that a wind reversal will bring the Tyrmyr ice massif back landwards and I could find myself caught quite literally between a rock and a hard place.

“In such circumstances it is likely that Barrabas could be damaged beyond sailability. So, my choice is a tantamount to a drink from the devil’s chalice. Some may say that I could put into Tiksi, over-winter the boat and give it another go next season. Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor financial resources to entertain this option as realistic. It may even be that the cost of transporting the boat through the ice will prove prohibitive. So for the moment, I have a few days to remain here, gather information, watch the weather to the north and come to a decision.”