Urger Needs a Reboot - Here’s the post I did the day my season on the Urger ended. The boat seriously needs a reboot now, a rewind, since it will NOT been operating season of 2...
21 hours ago
|Expedition leader Tim Jarvis with Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest, |
and patron of the lifeboat voyage from Antarctica to South Georgia Island, at the grave of The Boss at Grytviken
|poem by Gary Snyder from Axe Handles (North Point Press, New York, 1983)|
In one of the most dramatic days of the Shackleton Epic expedition so far, two men are stranded on the plateau above Shackleton’s Gap, while four other members of the expedition crew and film crew have evacuated themselves from the mountain to escape the extreme weather conditions.
While their goal of re-enacting one of the greatest survival tales of all time lies just over the other side of the mountains, reaching the old whaling station at Stromness, South Georgia just as Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men did in 1916, the extreme conditions have put a halt to their plans – at least for the time being until the weather breaks.
For British/Australian expedition leader Tim Jarvis and mountaineer Barry ‘Baz’ Gray, Mother Nature has unleashed her full fury and stranded them on the plateau above the glacier at Shackleton’s Gap. Wearing only the traditional gear of early last century, for over 12 hours they have ‘hunkered down’ in a tent to ride out the ferocious storm which has seen wind gusts of 45knots that have knocked the expeditioners off their feet, ‘horizontal’ driving rain, sleet and snow, freezing temperatures and zero visibility.
In a courageous act to help their fellow adventurers survive, the expedition’s navigator, Australian Paul Larsen and British cameraman Joe French returned to the mountain today, braving the extreme conditions wearing modern climbing gear, to re-supply the two intrepid adventurers with food and other essential provisions.
When they returned to the support boat Australis, anchored in Possession Bay, after their brave 1.5 hour mission, they were cold, wet and relieved to have been able to re-provision the pair. Larsen, who safely navigated the James Caird replica, the 22.5’ Alexandra Shackleton across 800nm of the treacherous Southern Ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia less than a week ago, said that Tim and Barry intended to continue their crossing when the weather breaks.
“They are both experienced mountaineers and they’ve said they will continue with the expedition unsupported when there is a break in the weather, carrying a rucksack with the tent and provisions – which they must do for their own safety,” Larsen said. The provisions will last them until Monday.
In a radio sked with Australis, seasoned polar adventurer Jarvis said that both he and Royal Marines mountain leader,
Baz Gray were “doing OK” and would wait-out the conditions in order to complete the crossing and their goal of re-enacting Shackleton’s legendary expedition.
Yesterday, Larsen and fellow crew member Seb Coulthard along with experienced expedition cameramen Si Wegan and Joe French evacuated themselves from the mountain during the height of the extreme conditions.
“There was no point us risking our lives by staying exposed on the mountain in those conditions. We left the tent and sleeping bags for Tim and Barry so that they could continue on when the weather improves,” he said.
‘The double’ of successfully completing the boat journey and the mountain crossing in traditional gear as Shackleton did, has alluded many adventurers who have tried to emulate Shackleton’s feat. The success of the crossing now rests upon how long Jarvis and Gray are prepared to wait for the weather to come good.
Once underway in improved conditions, they could complete the crossing in as little as 24 hours, arriving at the old whaling station at Stromness.
|finishing at les Sables D'Olonne, France|
Wednesday, January 30 2013 Alex Thomson sailed into the legendary canal, the artery into the heart of Les Sables d’Olonne this morning at typically breakneck speed. With more than 30 kts of wind and mountainous seas Thomson was in no mood to hang around.Taking third place in the Vendée Globe, the solo non stop race around the world which has dominated his life for the last ten years and which he had twice failed to finish, Alex Thomson set a new non-stop round the world record for a solo British sailor, smashed the existing race record set by Michel Desjoyeaux in 2008-2009, and became only the third ever British skipper to finish on the podium.His result exorcised many of the ghosts of his past failures, most particularly abandoning his Open 60 in 2006 in the South Indian Ocean when his keel feel off during the Velux 5 Oceans, retiring from the last two Vendée Globes – the 2008-9 edition after just 24 hours – and retiring from the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre after hitting a floating object.After 80 days at sea Thomson finally enjoyed the traditional Vendée Globe welcome afforded by the thousands who lined the banks of the canal. Three times he has loved the rousing send off on start day, but at last this was the welcome back that he had craved since he first set out on his Open 60 ocean racing career back in 1999.In a warmly received press conference Thomson was thanked for his recent actions in moving to stand by friend and rival Jean-Pierre Dick, shepherding the French skipper who has lost his keel off Virbac-Paprec 3, through a night of brutal winds and big seas before heading north to the finish.He spoke of the vital repairs he had to make to his hydrogenerators which kept his hopes of finishing alive, of the pleasure in staying with the faster, newer generation of IMOCA Open 60’s, doggedly hanging on the leaders. And at the end of it all, having finally realised his long held ambition, he made his French hosts smile when he confirmed that he had arrived dreaming only of ‘the golden arches’ longing for a Big Mac and lots of mayonnaise!