Irish Northwest Passage Expedition 2001


Press Release


Naming Ceremony of the Expedition Vessel Northabout

Northabout  the 50ft sailing boat which was built in Knock, County Mayo under the supervision of expedition Skipper Jarlath Cunnane, and which is currently being fitted out at Rosmony Pier Westport, in preparation for the Arctic, will be officially named in a ceremony at Westport Quay Westport, County Mayo prior to its departure to the Arctic on Saturday the 23rd of June.  The ceremony is planned for 5 p.m.

The naming ceremony affords an opportunity for the media and public to meet the team alongside Northabout.  The grandson and great granson of Artic explorer, Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock, both named John McClintock from Red Halls, Country Antrim will officiate in the naming ceremony.


About the Northabout

Northabout was specially built for polar expeditions to a plan by French designer Gilbert Caroff.  The 50ft expedition sailing boats features include: a raised icebreaker bow, shallow draft design (displacement 4ft) with raised centreboard, ice protected rudder and propeller and a 92 HP Perkins diesel engine.  A sixty foot mast supports a cutter rig sail plan with roller furling on both head sails.  Northabout can accommodate eight crew plus their provisions for an extended voyage, and fuel for a range of 2,000 miles under power.


The Expedition

The expedition is organised and led by Paddy Barry who has acted as the project’s logistics and project manager, Jarlath Cunnane the skipper and Frank Nugent Irish polar historian.  These three were also the prime movers in the 1997 re-enactment of Shackletons’ Antarctic open boat journey and traverse of South Georgia.  The expedition aims to make a contemporary navigation of the elusive Northwest passage from Westport toVancouver, via Greenland, Baffin Bay, the Canadian - Alaskan Coast and Islands through the Bering Strait into the Pacific Ocean.  In the process the expedition will inform and re-awaken the Irish public to the achievements of nineteenth century Irish pioneer polar explorers.  They will pass many places named on the map in honour of Irishmen some of whom perished in search of the elusive passage.  Arctic charts record the voyages of Francis Crozier - County Down, Edward Sabine - Dublin, Leopold McClintock - Dundalk, Henry Kellett – Tipperary, and lastly Robert McClure – Wexford, who is renown as the first person to make and survive the frozen passage which he made partly by sledge in 1854 from west to east.


Expedition Departs June 23rd from Westport Quay after naming ceremony.

Northabout’s on the first leg to Illilusat/Uppernavik in West Greenland, will depart Westport Quay on Saturday 23rd of June.  Pat Redmond, Harry Connolly, Cathal De Barra and Eoin Coyle will crew this leg with Jarlath Cunnane Skipper, Paddy Barry and Gearoid O’Riain. At Illilusat on the 20th of July a crew change will take place when Frank Nugent, Terry Irvine, Kevin Cronin, Mick Brogan and Filmaker John Murray of Crossing the Line Films will join to sail as far north and west as is navigable in the short Arctic season before the seas re-freeze in September.


Further Information: see or ring Frank Nugent at 0862480979


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