Adrian Flanagan reports on laying up Alaskan style

After 9 long months, Adrian Flanagan’s record-making bid to circumnavigate the globe via the polar regions has been put on ice. Here, he reports on laying up Barrabas during his final week in Alaska:

‘Facilities for storage of keel boats do not exist here in Nome, so improvisation is required. The personnel at Crowley Marine Services have been truly outstanding in the help they have provided and in particular, Rick Kostiew. Rick and I have figured a way to store Barrabas through the long cold winter when wind chill temperatures will plunge to 50 below.

Using a back-hoe, Rick has excavated a trench, 25 feet in length, 3 feet wide and six feet deep. With four tractor tyres positioned two either side of the trench, Barrabas will be hoisted from the water and lowered so that her keel, skeg and rudder are in the trench whilst the boat’s undersides rest on the tyres.

The boom, spinnaker pole and headsail furling gear have been taken off and are stored in the Crowley warehouse. The mast was lifted off on Wednesday but being too heavy to carry into the warehouse, our original plan, I spent a full day securing all lines and standing rigging, then wrapped the entire mast in shrink wrap and finally sheathed the rig in tarpaulin, lashed and then taped down. The only problem is that in removing the mast I had to cut through the radar cable. My worry now is finding a splice kit for the fourteen separate wires and the coaxial core.

The boat, now bereft of sails, rig and deck gear is due to be lifted on Sunday. Other tasks include un-wiring and dis-assembling the wind generator and solar panel array. The self-steering has been taken off and all fuel (110 x 5 gallon jerry cans) has been taken off and stored.

Delicate items such as spare GPS units, instruments and other electronics have been packed into two boxes which will be stored in the Crowley office.

Because of a rash of storms and heavy rain during the past week, schedules for numerous fuel and supply barges have been set back which means I am having to work round a very busy shipping itinerary. Notwithstanding any of that, I am confident that Barrabas will be safe and secure during her hibernation. Just before I leave, Rick will spot weld stainless steel plates over the companionway to secure the boat.

The kindness I have been shown by many people is really remarkable, many of them telling me they will keep an eye on Barrabas while I am in the UK.’

Adrian will return to attempt to complete his voyage when conditions allow next Easter.