Adrian Returns

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Adrian is due to arrive back in the United Kingdom before the end of September, flying in to Heathrow from Nome, Alaska, where Barrabas is now safely chocked up ashore to wait out the Arctic winter.

During his break in the UK, Adrian will be busy writing and has a growing number of speaking invitations. It will be a very hectic time because he will also been making arrangements to return to Nome next summer to complete his vertical circumnavigation.

Planning for next summer, Adrian has to arrive in Nome ahead of the first possible ice transit window to test and re-store Barrabas, ready for the attempt. He still hopes to make a transit of the Russian Northern Sea Route which will mean that he will have closed all lines of longitude during the circumnavigation, will be the first yachtsman to have made the East to West transit of the Russian NSR, and will be the first solo yachtsman to have made any transit or partial transit of the NSR.

To attempt the NSR, he will have to sail first the three days from Nome to Providenja for an inspection of Barrabas and her safety equipment. He will then sail through the Bering Straits and head West along the Northern coast of Russia to the Norwegian Sea. If the ice retreats far enough, the transit will take approximately twenty days to be followed by the journey around the top of Norway and down into the North Sea to return to Hamble Point.

Adrian will also be prepared to take the alternative route East through the Canadian North West Passage, into the Labrador Sea and across the Northern Atlantic back to the British Isles.

The final decision can only be taken next year when he is back aboard Barrabas and has full information on the conditions for either route.

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Ice Return Forces an Interlude for Alpha Global Expedition

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Time finally ran out for Alpha Global Expedition. The Arctic ice retreated early this year and has now returned early. This means that Barrabas will be stored safely ashore in Nome Alaska until next summer when Adrian will return and attempt to complete his vertical circumnavigation. Paperwork delays have proved to be a blessing in disguise because had Adrian left Nome on schedule after completing repairs he could have been trapped in the ice.

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AGX on Standby to Leave Nome

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Wind is lashing Nome and Adrian will be unable to leave before Sunday. The Russian permissions have been confirmed but it may be too late. Ice is reforming at two critical points on his route along the Russian Northern coasts. Final decision day is Sunday September 10. The ice transit now looks possible only with assistance from ice breakers

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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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