Kendall completes first solo of Northwest Passage

Home in New Zealand after an epic journey, Graeme Kendall returned to Auckland after 28,000 nm of solo sailing. Most notable about the Kiwi sailor’s circumnavigation was his history-making first solo voyage through the Arctic’s Northwest Passage and non-stop route from Nuuk, Greenland, to New Zealand.

Kendall’s voyage through the passage was the second stage of his journey following a first leg that covered nearly 18,000 nm of ocean over a period of four months.

His voyage through the Northwest Passage began in Lancaster Sound on August 27 ended 12 days later when he exited at Point Barrow, Alaska, on September 9. The trip covered 2,300 nm — a shortened version of the passage through Victoria Strait was feasible only because of the lack of ice and the accurate forecasting of ice movement thanks to GPS satellite technology. From Point Barrow Kendall headed south through the Bering Strait bound non-stop for his home in Auckland. On October 27, he was greeted by family, friends and supporters to celebrate his record-setting journey.

After Kendall’s 2005 effort to sail the passage was thwarted by ice he sold his 41-foot boat, Astral Express, in Nuuk with the understanding that if he ever wanted to try the passage again the new owner would make the boat available to him for a second try. The second time certainly proved to be the charm.