Swiss watch brand Favre-Leuba is helping to sponsor an expedition to the North Pole to reach the furthest North ever sailed. After delays due to weather and low water levels, British explorer Pen Hadow and his team left Nome, Alaska at 22:00 local time on August 14, 2017 and began their journey.
The expedition team will not see land again for six weeks. They will cover about 3,500 miles by the time they return to harbor at Nome in mid-September.
The team is sailing in two 50-foot yachts, Bagheera and Snow Dragon II, which have been specially built to sail in waters with sea ice. The four skippers, two on each boat, are exceptionally experienced in polar seas, and with navigation and safety procedures in sea ice.
The rapidly changing environment has led to many changes in nature, and with vast swathes of the polar ice cap now receding, it is believed commercial shipping directly through the North Pole will now be possible, cutting shipping times considerably.
The Arctic Mission team led by Pen Hadow aims to sail in the still largely unexplored Arctic Ocean conquering all the physical, mental and emotional frontiers this journey will pose. Favre-Leuba understands this spirit and supports the team on this journey by being their companion through it all.
Aims of the mission include:
- Recording as many forms of marine life as possible including polar bear, whale, seal, birds, sharks and other fish, crustaceans, drifting animals (zooplankton), drifting plants (phytoplankton).
- Studying the different aspects of the Arctic ocean such as its sea-ice cover, temperature, salinity, currents and nutrients, while collecting samples of the air, sea ice, and water to check for pollution.
The team behind the Arctic Mission believe the expedition may yet prove to be one of the most significant voyages of the 21st century.