Without whom…………


Rick Kostiew (left), with Adrian in Nome, Alaska

The person who points up an expedition is the one who is best known, best remembered. That’s fair because the person at the front is taking the big personal risks, but its only part of the story. Behind that person there is almost always a group of people without whom the expedition would not have succeeded.

One of the remarkable things about the Alpha Global Expedition is that it has no large support team, lavishly funded by major corporations. Adrian has taken the hazardous risks at sea, Louise has taught herself expedition management and co-ordinated all of the efforts that have helped Adrian sail on towards his goal, and then there is a group of people who have volunteered to provide vital assistance at critical stages, selflessly, motivated by a desire to help an ordinary man achieve something truly extraordinary. It is perhaps the most moving aspect of this great endeavour.

Today, is an opportunity to recognize Rick Kostiew. At Honolulu, at Nome, and at Provideniya, Adrian met complete strangers who became friends and who contributed generously of their time and skills to help him on his way.

When he arrived in Nome in 2006, Adrian was trying to beat the clock. He knew that every day lost repairing the cutless bearing was potentially a day closer to failure. As it turned out, the combination of ice conditions and the acquisition of the necessary Russian permissions required him to make the decision to suspend the voyage in the interests of safety. That decision was all the harder because the help of all those he met in Nome had made it possible to effect repairs in record time. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the NSR iced up early at a point that Adrian would have reached had he left Nome immediately repairs were completed. That could so easily have resulted in Barrabas being trapped in the ice and crushed.

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Part-buried, Barrabas survived the Arctic winter without damage

Crowley Marine Services had been a huge help and particularly Rick Kostiew. Barrabas, as a keel boat, was unlike the vessels normally using the Port of Nome and she could not be left in the water through the Arctic winter. Adrian and Rick devised a solution that worked completely. A special trench was dug and lined with old tyres, so that Barrabas could sit hull down against the cruel winds of winter.

Through the winter Rick and his colleagues kept an eye on Barrabas until Adrian could return this summer.

When Adrian returned, Rick’s unstinting support ensured that Barrabas was prepared for the final challenge, the Northern Sea Route.

Adrian and Rick had hoped to say their farewells as Barrabas pulled away from the quay on her great adventure. This was not to be. Rick had to leave for Anchorage to be with his wife who had undergone major back surgery before Adrian could set sail.

Rick Kostiew is one of the small band of people to whom Adrian owes a real debt and who offered friendship that he so greatfully accepted.