After eight days sailing on the treacherous waters of the Arctic Ocean, skipper Guo Chuan has less than 1000nm remaining onboard his 97-foot trimaran Qingdao China in order to set the World Record for a non-stop sail of the Northeast Passage from Europe to the Pacific via the Bering Strait.
Global media coverage has started to pick up on the impressive challenge undertaken by Guo and his international crew of four sailors and one media crew member from France, Germany and Russia.
German news stories have been extensive with some of the country’s largest national papers including Die Welt, Tagesspiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung highlighting the drama of the Arctic Ocean World Record Challenge and the adventure of the team’s German sailor Boris Herrmann. France’s L’Equipe newspaper has been following along.
Lingling Liu, Managing Director of Guo Chuan Racing has been receiving dozens of media inquiries from around the world. ‘Before that, all the French thought Guo was crazy. Guo is really doing something exceptional. Everybody thought it was impossible and suddenly people realize that it is possible and that somebody is doing it.”
Weather expert Christian Dumard of France added: “It was like the first race around the world or the first person to climb at the top of the Everest.”
Departing from Murmansk around noon on September three, Qingdao China crossed the start line at 13.41 UTC and started the attempt to set the first non-stop sailing world record across the Arctic Ocean’s Northeast Passage.
With strong winds during the first three days, Guo Chuan decided to pilot the trimaran to a more southerly route then originally planned. Qingdao China reached maximum speed of 37 knots on September four, and covered 466 miles during one 24-hour stretch of the Arctic Ocean World Record Challenge between September four at 11h04 and September five at 11h04 with an average speed of 19.43 knots.
Guo and his crew have become accustomed to seeing icebergs, especially when they sailed above the 75 degrees north latitude. They remain very careful and vigilant about this danger.
Benoit Cabaret, designer of the boat has been following Guo’s journey closely, “I am very happy to see that they went through the most difficult part of the course without any problem.”
And Guo Chuan is philosophical about the scene he has witnessed: ‘In view of sailing, I do not want to see any Arctic ice as it would be dangerous for the fragile hull. However, it is really sad to see such disappearance of icebergs caused by global warming. Though it makes the route navigable, I would like to see more ice deep in my heart.’
Qingdao China has now sailed through the Laptev Sea and will soon enter the East Siberian Sea and the Chukchi Sea, she will head south until reaching the finish line at Bering Strait.
Weather expert Dumard added that from the most recent weather forecast analysis, Qingdao China is expected to complete the voyage on September 14.
A world record is waiting!