First Solo Vertical Circumnavigation
Adrian Flanagan has just completed a boyhood dream to circumnavigate the Globe
– vertically through the icebound North East Passage!
His efforts aboard the 38ft stainless steel sloop
‘Barrabas’, is not recognised as a record by the World Sailing Speed Record
Council because he was forced to break the voyage twice along the way, but
there is no doubt that this was a voyage of epic proportions.
After leaving the Hamble
River in 2005, the
British yachtsman’s trials and tribulations began when he was washed overboard,
only days after setting off. Having not attached a safety line, Adrian feared the worst,
thinking "with absolute certainty" that all was lost, only to be
washed back on deck again by another wave!
Further ahead, he encountered pirates off the coast of Brazil, who
tracked him for two days “I armed my weapon. I had a pump-action shotgun on
board specifically for that purpose. I stayed awake for 48 hours.”
His next challenge was to round Cape Horn west against the
prevailing winds and currents, dislocating both of his wrists whilst navigating
the heavy weather, in the process becoming only the 14th sailor to do so,
before heading northwards up the Pacific Ocean to the Bearing Sea.
He reached the Russian Arctic in July 2007, and was then
stopped by Russian military bureaucracy from traversing the 2000 mile Northern Sea Route
and NW passage. It was only the intervention of Chelsea FC owner Roman
Abramovich that got Flanagan the permission he needed to continue and he was
escorted through the impenetrable ice by a Russian icebreaker convoy. “That was
the crowning achievement of the voyage, not just for me but for everyone
involved." Flanagan said at the finish last week.
After another stop, wintering in Norway, during which he
returned home, Flanagan resumed his voyage earlier this year and returned to
the Royal Southern Yacht Club on the Hamble on 21 May after a remarkable 405
days on the water. He advised all other adventurers “To live but not to dream
is pointless, but to dream and not to live it is worse.”
‘Barabbas’ is now up for sale for £130,000 as Adrian looks to fill the
large financial hole that the trip has left.
Speaking a week after arriving back on shore, Adrian said that his immediate plans are to finish the
‘Over the Top’ manuscript and to promote the expedition at the upcoming London and Southampton
Boat shows. Further on from that, he aims to teach his two sons, aged 6 and 9
to sail. He also hopes to attempt a Transatlantic crossing with his eldest son
Ben in a couple of years.
Regardless of whether he gets his name in the record books,
Adrian has undoubtedly realised a boyhood dream and shown that ambitions can be
achieved, “Whatever else I do, I will always have this, others have sailed
parts of it, but I am the first to put them together in one route, it is unique.”