With summer fading fast, a sharp increase in drifting sea ice is threatening to scuttle the plans of dozens of sailors trying to traverse the Northwest Passage. Douglas Pohl of SailWorld.com reports that the route has become clogged at the eastern and western ends – unsettling news for more than 20 yachts and other vessels still in the area.
Many eyes are looking to the Canadian Coast Guard to see what happens next. Icebreaking for commercial shipping is one of the CCG’s primary missions, but it is uncertain if action will be taken to assist recreational boaters before the passage freezes over for the winter. If they fail to pick their way through the pack in time, the CCG could be called on for another mission: emergency rescue.