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23 Jul, 2009 16:58

To the Arctic Circle on catamarans!

Eight brave souls have set out on a two-week Arctic Circle adventure from Murmansk to Archangelsk. Such expeditions are not unheard-of now, but the men took it up a notch and chose somewhat unusual vessels for the trip.

These courageous men have plans that go far beyond the next two weeks, when they will set sail in their inflatable catamarans in the Arctic Circle. The aim of the trip is to explore the possibility of going through the first segment of a much-longer journey: the Northern Sea route from the Kola Peninsula to Chukotka. That expedition is already scheduled for 2010, and participants plan to complete it non-stop.

The idea to go through the North Sea route was born under the stars on the Equator in the Seychelles, when the explorers crossed the Indian Ocean in the very same inflatable sailing catamarans. It was then that they understood that this craft is perfect for maneuvering through reefs, sandbanks and other difficult coastal sections, due to the vessel's low draft.

To date no one has attempted to sail such a course on an inflatable catamaran, but the voyagers have a humanitarian mission as well.

“The goal of the expedition is to stir up in people the faith in something that’s real,” said traveler Aleksandr Kravtsov. “In this huge territory called Russia, there are great people, incredible scenery, pure untouched land, virgin nature. It’s vital for us to see it with our own eyes and honestly tell the story and share the trophies we find there with other people.”

The expedition is set to last from July 23 until August 8. The date was not picked at random: it is during this time that the water in the Arctic is not entirely covered by ice. Indeed, the polar bears will certainly be in for a big surprise when they see eight Russian daredevils sailing along in small inflatable catamarans.