A Real Nome from Home


Nome is still enjoying the last of the summer sun before the long Arctic winter sets in. This frontier settlement nestles close against rising ground, giving some protection from the bitter storms of winter.

Adrian Flanagan reported on the winterizing of Barrabas on September 17. Since then the photographs have arrived.

Having to winter over during the vertical circumnavigation was always one of Adrian’s concerns because the Alaskan and Russian coastlines have few harbours and these are mainly used by fishing boats and supply vessels with limited experience of keel boats. This is the case in Nome where the port freezes each winter but the vessels that may be forced to winter there are bilge keeled fishing boats.

Adrian was lucky to receive skilled and enthusiastic help in Nome that provided an innovative solution to safely storing a keel boat like Barrabas through what would be very low temperatures and storms with very high wind speeds.

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The solution was to level a section of land and then construct a recessed berth to take Barrabas’ keel.

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The bulldozer created a pit that was carefully calculated to take the supported shape of Barrabas’ underwater sections.

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Adrian provides an indication of scale and view behind him shows a typical Alaskan port and settlement on low buildings clad in timber or metal sheets.

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The trench has been lined with old tyres, positioned to spread the hull weight and protect it from heavy ice formation. As can be seen, all external gear has been removed to protect it and to reduce windage. The Arctic storms that sweep Nome during the bitter winters does not make it practical to protect a vessel in the way possible in the much more friendly British winters.

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The stripped Barrabas could almost be sailing across the dockland. As can be seen here, she is presenting a very low profile to the Arctic winds and positioned to present her head to the prevailing winds. She has been stropped ready for lifting out and back into the water next summer.

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A last look out of the cockpit that has become a home to Adrian during the months of sailing since he left the United Kingdom in October 2005. This image shows that the polycarbonate screening he fitted last summer has stood up well to the extremes of temperature and the effects of breaking seas during the voyage.


Soon the ice and snow will lock in the town of Nome. Barrabas will be held in the icy prison until the thaw brings life back to this northern settlement.