Polar Route Sailor arrives in Port Nome

9 months and 10 days after starting his attempt to sail round the world via the polar regions, Adrian Flanagan has arrived in Nome, Alaska. Here, his 38-foot aluminum sloop,Barrabas, will be lifted out of the water and her prop shaft assessed for damage. Adrian first realised that the aft cutless bearing holding his propeller shaft firm had gone two weeks ago. As this effectively prevents the use of his engine, he feared that his attempt at transiting the Arctic this summer might have to be postponed, as: ‘the Arctic phase cannot be countenanced without the engine’. Adrian has high hopes that the problem can be fixed in Nome, allowing him to continue his journey and to transit the Northern Sea Route later this month. In the extract below the sailor describes the journey into port:

‘After closing with the mountainous Alaskan coast, I made it to within a couple of miles of Nome and into very shallow water. Unable to manoeuvre into port without the use of the engine, Juliana III, a local fishing boat came out and towed me into the harbour. It was a busy day for the crew of Juliana III, breaking away from a rescue of another fishing boat which was shipping water 20 miles to the east of Nome.

Nome is a real melting pot of old and new, an ethnic jamboree of Inuit and Caucasian, Chinese and African, of systems and styles both ancient and modern. But despite its complexities and contradictions (new $300,000 homes surrounded by shacks – brand new cars parked in lots with rusting carcasses as near neighbours) Nome cannot shake off the reek of the frontier, the gleam of the goldrush.

As with my previous experience of the US, the people are very friendly and interested in the Alpha Global Expedition. I have been here but scant hours and already have been taken for a meal (Chinese) and had offers to freely use a private house’s bathroom for showers and washing and drying machine as well as several offers of vehicles (plus driver) for collecting, carrying and it seems any other use I can think of.

I had some concerns as to how the boat might be lifted out of the water and if accomplished whether there would be facilities to test the propeller shaft for true alignment and appropriate repair. These aspects have been more or less resolved and Barrabas should be feeling air on her keel within 48 hours.’