A good friend of mine wants to sail around the Arctic Ocean by way of the North East Passage (North of Russia) and North West Passage (North of Canada), then home via Greenland.

This takes a very special kind of boat, and so he asked me to survey a couple of options. One was a 67 foot Challenger steel yacht: ideal for beating to windward in the open ocean, or sailing down through the Southern Ocean. 55 tons of tough metal that bashes through waves rather than rides over them.

But the other boat got my vote. It is an aluminium yacht, only 15 tons. It has a lifting keel so that it can creep inshore, along the Arctic shores in shallow water. The icebergs tend to go aground in about 3 meters of depth, so that there is often a clear lead near the shore. She also has a cut-away bow so that she can slide up over thin ice and crush down through it.

This boat would ride over her troubles rather than trying to batter through them. She has also done the route before. So let’s hope she gets through next year. I hope to be aboard, as I need to sail in the Arctic Ocean as one of my Seven Seas

Seven Seas, Seven Summits has been upgraded and will be back soon, just in time to think about crossing the Pacific Ocean. Watch this space!