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Going ‘against the floe’

This summer, British yacht race skipper Bob Beggs plans to take on one of the toughest sailing challenges left – the polar circumnavigation of the North American continent – sans engine.

In a project Beggs calls “Against the Floe,” he plans to sail the Northwest Passage from Atlantic to Pacific in Bristol Clipper, his 29-foot catamaran starting in June of this year, according to a press release. Having won the 2001 Times Clipper Race around the globe, Beggs says he is confident that his vessel will be seaworthy enough to travel against the prevailing currents of the 20,000-mile voyage that no one has attempted before without an engine.

Beggs and his two-man crew have a weather and ice window of less than 12 weeks to sail from Plymouth, England, to Greenland and then to take on the Northwest Passage, according to the press release. Beggs states that time is of the essence for the ice as well with the growing evidence of global warming.

“We are racing against climate change to complete what up to now has been the impossible voyage under sail, and to really raise awareness of how the polar ice is melting so quickly,” stated Beggs in the press release.

Beggs also hopes the journey will serve as a portal for teaching climate change and global warming in schools all over. For more information, visit

- Elizabeth Ellis