Best Use of Time

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As soon as Barrabas was lifted out of the water, the work began to replace the cutless bearing. Adrian is enjoying the Alaskan summer sun having withdrawn the prop and shaft. Refitting the shaft and new bearing went smoothly.

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It was just too good an opportunity to miss. Adrian is applying new anti-foul after the hull was completely cleaned of marine growth. In only a few weeks the harbour behind him will be frozen solid once more.

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Looking at Barrabas it is difficult to believe that this vessel has already travelled a longer distance than the circumference of the World. The new anti-foul, the gleaming white cheat line and the polished titanium stainless steel hull look as though the boat has just been built and is ready for its first experience of the sea. In the weeks that Adrian has been waiting for the paperwork to be completed by the Russians, he has put the time to good use making sure that everything is clean, tidy and fully tested. All he can do now is hope that the paperwork will be completed in time to allow him to make his ice transit. With each day that goes past that looks less likely and he may have to leave Barrabas in Nome for the Winter and return to complete his voyage next year.

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Frustration Rises

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Having arrived in Nome on August 9, Adrian feared for delays in the repairs but this turned out not to be the problem. The repairs were completed out without any problems and Barrabas could have been underway by August 18. Unfortunately the sailing had to be postponed because of paperwork from the Russian Government. Long running discussions had been taking place since six months before Adrian left the United Kingdom in October 2006. The Russians had never before permitted a lone yachtsman to use the Northern Sea Route. There was no precident and no paperwork. By August 14 it looked as though a new passport would have to be issued by the British Embassy in Washington and stamped with a tourist visa by the Russian Embassy before being flown out to Adrian in Nome to make the three day passage to a Russian port and sign in with the FSB Border Guards. Then the Russian Embassy discovered that they could not issue a tourist visa and a special visa would have to be issued in Moscow. In the meantime a key official in Russia had gone on holiday and a letter which he had issued had not arrived with other departments. All the time tension and frustration rose as the clock ticked and the time for the refreezing of the Artic seas neared.

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Barrabas is lifted and Adrian discovers electric clothing

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August 14 and Barrabas was lifted out of the water by crane without unstepping the mast. A difficult lift and a crane operator was flown in from Anchorage to perform the lift successfully. This greatly speeded the process of replacing the bearing and returning Barrabas to the sea. Once ashore, her hull was also cleaned and coated with industrial anti-foul formulated for the local waters. While this was happening smoothly, Adrian met another yachtsman and discovered electric clothing.

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Safe Haven

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August 6 and Adrian was firmly in the control of US Coast Guard and had been overflown by one of their patrol aircraft. He was expecting to arrive in Nome by August 11 but making good progress and an earlier arrival was possible. It was becoming increasingly important for him to reach Nome as soon as possible, complete repairs and testing and then set off for the Russian coast to make the NSR passage before the Arctic ice moved South again.

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A murderous storm

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August 2 2006, 60.05 N 179.31 W, and Adrina was reporting that he had successfully passed the Aleutian Islands having decided to take the course between Attu Island and Ostrov Medynn on the Russian side. After passing the Aleutians, he was hit by a murderous storm with 25 foot waves and 40 knot wind. The forces were too much for the steering and the cables parted forcing Adrian to use the emergency tiller with releaving tackle. Running under this emergency steering Barrabas weathered the storm and maintained heading for Nome.

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Barrabas injured by a Cutless

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July 18 and Adrian had to report a potentially show stopping problem. In preparation for approaching the Aleutian Islands, where fast currents run between the Islands, he decided to start his diesel and engage the propeller to make sure that everything was functional before he faced an emergency where he would need engine power. Almost immediately he realized that there was a problem with noise and vibration indicating a cutless bearing fault. The question first was – where to dock? He could find a port South of the Aleutians, take a chance on passing them under sail, then either head for a Russian or an Alaskan port.

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