Explorer's record-making attempt put on ice

Adrian Flanagan has today announced that he will have to wait until next summer to attempt the final phase of his quest to sail the first single-handed ‘vertical’ circumnavigation via the polar regions.

Flanagan put into Nome on Alaska’s west coast last month to make repairs to his engine before transiting Russia’s artic coast. After a tussle with Russian authorities, he was allowed to attempt the transit – which has only ever been sailed by five fully crewed yachts – without an ice-pilot, interpreter or escort.

Flanagan praised the authorities decision as showing ‘courage, vision and imagination.’ But huge delays to the scheduled journey mean that it is now too late in the year to make the attempt, as new ice is growing along the route. Flanagan said his decision was hard, but the right one to make: sometimes it is harder to make the decision not to press on. I have to be pragmatic. There is little merit in taking unnecessary risks.’

The explorer now intends to return in June 2007, giving him ample time to make preparations for another attempt.