The reduction of ice in the Northwest Passage during the Arctic Summer has been discussed from the standpoint of oil exploration, economic development and voyagers making the once nearly impossible trip. Now, a sailboat race is slated to join the list of newfound Arctic activities. The Sailing the Arctic Race (STAR), called the first international yacht race at the roof of the world, is scheduled to start in July 2017 in New York, with calls at Halifax, N.S.; Nuuk, Greenland; Cambridge Bay, Canada; Toktoyaktuk, Canada; Dutch Harbor, Alaska and finishing in Victoria, B.C. In all the race course will cover 7,700 miles.
The race will be sailed in one design Star 46 boats built with volcanic fiber. From the STAR website: "Volcanic fiber, scientifically more well-known as basalt fiber, is a revolutionary new material in the sailing world. Extra strength without excess weight, durability without toxicity, and a low environmental impact in the manufacturing process are all factors that make volcanic fiber the ideal material for an Arctic ready race boat.
"FIPOFIX is an Austrian boat design company spearheading the development of volcanic fibre ocean sailing yachts. In early 2014 a prototype called the Open16 finished its singlehanded ‘proof of concept’ journey across the Atlantic non-stop from Europe to North America and back for a total trial distance of 10,000 nautical miles. The mini met some of the most challenging conditions the North Atlantic could throw at it, and kept skipper Harald Sedlacek safe for the entire duration of the journey."