Taking a break to talk about climate or weather or something. A friend of mine posted a link to an article reporting the first boat to sail the northwest passage. Thus proving how terribly global warming is, as Artic see ice is now at the lowest since records began (1979). The article that’s based on at least is sensible enough to say that “The international three-man crew — an American, Canadian and Swede — claim to have piloted the first sailboat to do so.” (emphasis mine). Which is really just as well, as the crew of the boat apparently haven’t mastered basic research. As a few minutes on the internet reveals that they were no more the first to sail the Northwest passage than Buzz Aldrin was the first man to walk on the moon – though they may well be the first to take that particular route through the passage. Stories about the northwest passage being passable for the first time are so terribly popular that clasicaly liberal put together a nice list of them when it came back round in 2007. Apparently that journey in 2007 was also “the first time the journey has been completed entirely by sail,”. mind you an expedition in 2009/10 sailed it without seeing any need to claim a first, before that Willy De Roos managed to sail it Solo in 1977. In fact it would seem it’s been quite busy at times.
Back to the current alarmist first time to sail it story, I’d note that they seem to report that the ice was closing behind them even as they went through. So it’s not clear if in fact the passage was fully clear at anyone time. I’d also observe that after the early expeditions people were looking for a commercial route, so once you were looking for routes for steamers or other powered boats why on earth would you even bother trying to do it by sail? The only reason to make such a journey by sail is because it’s a challenge, and one made increasingly easy with satellite mapping, GPS, radar and all that sort of modern malarky. I await reports of global warming being proven by some one failing to get to the north pole by penny farthing (after all there’s no longer enough ice to drive there).