A 100-year-old sailing ship is about to embark on an historic Arctic voyage

It would be the first such ship to sail the entire Northern Sea Route.

The Sedov sails in Arctic waters. (sts-sedov.info via The Independent Barents Observer)

It will be a voyage quite out of the ordinary for the crew that sets out from Vladivostok on August 18 with course for the North. Never before has a sailing ship of this proportion made it across the Arctic route that connects the Asian and European parts of Russia.

The sailing on the Northern Sea Route follows a grand voyage that has taken the Sedov more than 25,000 nautical miles across world seas since November 1, 2019.

“Following a detailed study of possible alternatives for the bark’s continued sailing, we consider it relevant to propose that the Sedov completes its expedition with a voyage across the Northern Sea Route from the east to west,” said Ilya Shestyakov, the head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Fishery, which operated the ship. “We believe that such a voyage will have a great symbolic and practical effect.”

The ship is expected to reach reach its home port of Kaliningrad on November 15 this year. On its Arctic expedition, the vessel is due to visit the ports of Pevek, Sabetta and Murmansk. It is also expected to make a halt in the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya.

Careful safety preparations have been made both for the ship and its crew. The ship’s route across the Arctic will proceed in ice-free waters and assistance from special vessels will be available if needed, according to the agency.

Until year 2017, the Sedov was based in Murmansk and the ship has made several voyages in Arctic waters. But is has never made it across the whole Northern Sea Route.

The Sedov is one of the world’s biggest sailing ships in operation. It is almost 118 meters long and is manned by a crew of about 220 people.

The Arctic voyage takes place only few months before the ship turns 100 years. The bark was launched in 1921 in Kiel, Germany. It sailed under the named Magdalene Vinnen II and Kommodore Johnsen before it in 1945 was taken over by Soviet authorities and renamed Sedov after Russian Arctic explorer Georgy Sedov.