Millennium Project- A Two-Month Voyage

Canadian man plans to duplicate historic sail through Northwest Passage

A new millennium project is gearing up to set sail and make history. A Canadian man plans to sail through the Northwest Passage from Canada’s west to east coasts. RCMP Cpl. Ken Burton hopes to complete the identical route taken in the 1940’s by the man who was the first to ever accomplish the trip.

Back in the 1940’s RCMP sergeant Henry Larsen became the first to sail from Canada’s east to West Coast, it was a voyage that took 28 months. Ken Burton plans to take the exact same route, but he expects his tripl to take just two months.

This summer, as a millennium project, RCMP Cpl. Ken Burton hopes to complete the identical route taken in that historic vcyage in 1940, but Burton will add on several stops along the way. The voyage will include stops in a number of Arctic comminutes, it will also include a side trip up the St. Lawrence River for two-day stopovers at both Prescott and Toronto in September before continuing the circumnavigation of North America.

The two men may be making the same trip, but in much different vessels. Cpl. Burton's vessel is a sleek 20-metre, aluminum catamaran called the Nadon. The boat is a decommissioned police patrol boat that was built in 1989 and used along the west coat of Vancouver Island for such duties as policing the Canada Shipping Act, fish and game regulations and watching for illegal immigration and the importing of drugs.

Sgt. Larsen’s trip in 1940 was made in a 31.8-metre schooner made of Douglas fir. That first voyage had a crew of eight the millennium voyage will take just a four-man crew.

Burton’s millennium voyage is being called the ''St. Roch II Voyage of Rediscovery.'' It is a joint undertaking of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The St. Roch was the name of Larsen’s vessel and it is now a museum piece at the Maritime Museum. The St. Roch was also the first ship to sail around North America. Part of the funding will also come from the Millennium Bureau of Canada.

Pack ice, hostile winds and regular police duties slowed the first expedition in 1940. On this millennium voyage the crew is hoping they won’t encounter any ice at all and if they do they’ll have some help. The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, the Simon Fraser, will be along to clear a path.

The Simon Fraser has another purpose also, it will carry scientists who will be undertaking the first full continental baseline study, examining everything from the water's salinity to temperatures to coastal erosion and fish and mammal stocks as part of a broader, three-ocean North American program.

If the Nadon accomplishes the circumnavigation as expected, she will be the smallest vessel to have sailed around the continent.

DATE: 1/13/2000

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