In 2022 the NWP team will attempt to row the Northwest Passage, the arctic route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, considered the Last Great First.
This expedition is only possible because the regions climate is changing and the sea ice is retreating each year gradually opening the route from July to September.
The expedition will take the 3,700km route from Baffin Island, Canada, to Point Barrow, Alaska and is expected to take over two months .
The plan is to take two Ice Class Expedition boats, with a crew of eight per boat.
Each will be 44ft (13.4 metres) in length, self righting, fast and functional, based on carbon Kevlar shell which gives strength to take on the ice and insulates to keep the crew warm. Low boat weight will enable the crew to haul them over land and ice should the need arise. They will be equipped with the latest navigation and communication equipment.
The boats will be self sufficient carrying over 100 days worth of food and water. It is not our intention to stop.
The NWP Team is international and diverse, and led by multiple world ocean rowing record holder Leven Brown, of Jedburgh, Scotland.
The team includes adventurers, ocean rowers, mountain climbers with careers in business and medicine. It has over 100,000 miles of ocean rowing experience, and crew members who have traversed the poles and been part of an amazing range of endurance expeditions.
Team members are based in Barbados, England, Ireland, South Africa, Scotland, USA and Hong Kong.
Each boat will have an experienced skipper capable of acting independently, and a crew of eight.
Weather, and in particular ice conditions, will determine the departure date and the time the expedition will take. Returning ice, at the start of the regions winter, could well end the expedition prematurely
Conditions will be tough; the temperature will average -5C during almost constant daylight. Winds predominately northerly, with a risk of rough water, 50ft waves & early returning ice.
Wildlife will be encountered, including Polar Bears, the region’s top land predator. The crew will be taking the necessary precautions.
Our plan is to have the expedition filmed along the lines of three 40 minute films documenting the expedition, the challenges the team faced and the environment and wildlife encountered.
The films will include first hand accounts of the expedition from the team taken before and after the event , training sequences, team profiles and logistical preparations.
The team has produced its own pilot video, led by George Hopkins, filmed by EMMY award winning cameraman Michael Pitts with sound edited by Matt Coster.
Networks interested include the BBC, Netflix Discovery and National Geographical. Heads of terms have been signed with film producers ITN Productions
The team are based across the globe and are responsible for their own personal physical training.
Each crew member will be rowing up to 12 hours per day so the focus is on endurance and core strength.
Many of the crew are experienced ocean rowers and all take part in a wide range of physical endurance activities.
The plan is for two boats to be available for crew training during the summer of 2021, one in the UK and one in the USA.
In the UK, a training row is planned from Newcastle upon Tyne to the Orkney Islands in the summer of 2021.
We are aiming at having a zero environmental impact on the arctic and are engaged in conversations with the local Intuit communities to ensure we pass through the land with their blessing.
We will adopt an unbiased approach to documenting the facts about the Arctic environment and climate and will be collecting meaningful data for climate scientists at New York University and Big Blue Ocean Cleanup.
Throughout expedition journey we will be supporting Big Blue Ocean Cleanup, the ocean conservation organisation based in the UK and Canada. They are focused on cleaning our oceans through coastal cleaning, education, technology development and scientific research.
The search for the Northwest Passage began in the 15th century, as Europeans sought a route to Asia for trade. Over the next centuries, some of the western world’s best explorers attempted the route: Sir Francis Drake, Martin Frobisher, Captain Cook, Sir John Franklin and John Ross. All foiled by the brutal conditions and the enveloping ice.
The area was eventually mapped by the likes of the Hudson Bay Company and the existence of a route began to fall into doubt after so many failed attempts to locate it. Then, in the 1860s, the Orcadian John Rae, hiking overland, finally found a sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It was fitting that Rae would find it, as so many employees and explorers of the Hudson Bay Company also hailed from his home islands. It was not until Roald Amundsen set out in 1903 that the route was finally navigated in a journey that took 3 years, due to the continually freezing ice.
In 2022 the NWP Expedition will attempt to be the first to row the passage in one season.