China's Guo Chuan passes a finish buoy on his boat in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, April 5, 2013. Guo sailed back home on Friday morning to become the first Chinese to successfully circumnavigate the globe singlehanded. Aboard his Class40 yacht, 48-year-old Guo travelled about 21,600 nautical miles in 138 days before he returned to his hometown of Qingdao, where he set off on November 18 last year. (Xinhua/Li Ziheng)
Guo Chuan, who was the first sailor from China to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation of the globe, told a press confrence on Thursday that he will charge on the first world record of multiple-person non-stop navigation through the Northeast Passage of the Arctic Ocean.
On April 5 of 2013, Guo Chuan returned to the northeastern port city of Qingdao, his home town, becoming the first sailor from China to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation of the globe after a gruelling 138-day, 21,600-nautical-mile voyage.
Now the skipper sets his eyes on another record. Guo and other 4 top sailors from Russia, France, Britain and Norway respectively, will set sail in early September of this year aboard the super Trimaran IDEC named "Qingdao.China" from the Murmansk port (68"58' N and 33"05' E) in northern Russia. They will go through the Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea in the south of the Arctic Ocean through the Northeast Passage without any stop or extra-supply, and finally reach the destination, namely Provideniya (64"25' N and 173"13' W) on the Bering Strait of Russia.
The first world record on this route will be then created. This navigation covers 3,300 nautical miles (6112 km) all within the Russian territory and will last for about 15 days.
"Even five years ago, this navigation is regarded as a big risk as the route is full of ice. But due to global warming, we have a chance now." said Guo. But they still might meet unexpected difficulties.
Last September, Guo Chuan and his team submitted the application to the World Speed Sailing Record Committee (WSSRC) of the International Sailing Federation for this world record challenge, and soon they received the written approval. They will set the first world record of multiple-person non-stop navigation through the Northeast Passage of the Arctic Ocean once the navigation is completed.
After that, 50-year-old Guo will sail the trimaran southwards through the Bering Strait, and is expected to return to Qingdao in late September or early October this year.
Then Guo will set sail on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. In late October, they will commence another voyage with the slogan of "Sailing with Blue Dream, Sailing on Silk Road" . The fleet plans to berth at 3 domestic cities, namely, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, and 6 international cities, including Singapore, Colombo (Sri Lanka), Mumbai (India), Alexandria (Egypt), Southampton (Britain) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands).
The navigation aims to promote Qingdao as the Sailing City of China and enhance sports, culture and tourism exchanges with the countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road. The whole navigation is expected to last for 60 days."
In the coming weeks, Guo Chuan will be training in France where he will do some adjustment and maintenance work, and warm up with the rest of the crew. Considering the possible risks posed by unknown environment and complex ice conditions on the Northeast Route, a support group including experts in technology, meteorology and ice conditions as well as logistical support will be in place and work out sailing plans and contingency plans for the Arctic navigation.