The Northwest Passage has long been a fabled route to Asia. Now, with the disappearance of more Arctic ice in the past few summers, the route can be taken by intrepid mariners. And any mariners who make the passage in a 17-foot boat are intrepid, indeed. Two sailors who are attempting this route this summer in an open Norseboat are British Royal Marines, Kevin Oliver and Tony Lancashire. In addition to the adventure of the passage, Oliver and Lancashire are taking the trip to promote the a charity called Toe in the Water. This organization seeks to inspire and assist injured service men and women.
The boat Oliver and Lancashire will be using is a 17-foot Norseboat, designed and built by Kevin Jeffrey of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Jeffrey designed Norseboats with just this sort of adventure in mind. He wanted to build a shallow draft pocket cruiser that could be sailed or rowed. The boats have long seats that can be used for bunks and it has considerable storage space. Jeffrey modified Oliver’s and Lancashire’s boat, named Arctic Mariner, by adding additional fiberglass for ice protection and scuppers for fast bailing should the boat capsize.