Fine Tolerance and the North West Passage. Newsletter No 16



Fine Tolerance and the North West Passage.
Newsletter no 4
Pond Inlet.

We are now in Pond Inlet having arrived here two days ago but due to bad weather unable to land after organizing some fuel in the first hours of our arrival.

Tonight we will be departing for Greenland as new ice will start to form around here and we have no wish to be caught again in these latitudes. On our trip here from Fort Ross we passed quite a few icebergs that were higher than our mast and we expect to see many more like this which makes us, when travelling at night, a little edgy to say the least. We did reach 73 degrees 52 minutes north and are now south bound, and thankful for it. The temperatures here are now all below freezing.

Fine Tolerance did sustain quite a bit of damage coming through the last 60 miles of ice and it is only due to the help, so freely given by the Canadian Coast
Guard, that we still have her. The prop which had had all it's blades shorn off was replaced with a spare that we carry and the rudder stock which had been bent was straightened. Unfortunately it was not until we had replaced everything and were putting back on the quadrant that it was noted that the solid 38mm stainless steel rudder stock had also twisted 25 degrees. We still have steerage but will have to get this repaired as soon as we come across       facilities that will allow us to do so. No so easy to repair is the hull which suffered quite a beating. From being a very fair steel hull it has now taken on the look of a starving racehorse. This has been caused by the ice hitting the sides and pushing in the steel plating between each frame. In places even the stringers are showing through. There have been times in the past where I have
felt that we over built Fine Tolerance and that we could have done with less weight. Not so now and we do not regret one iota making her as strong as she is. We also have no rails or lifelines forward of 3 meters aft of the bow along with no pulpit now at all. The overbuilt bowsprit was a saving grace and       although twisted and flattened, it, and the Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breaker 'Sir Winfred Laurier' and crew, were the hero's of the week.

The internet facility we did have aboard Fine Tolerance last year which       operated through the Iridium Satellite network is now no longer operating due to us not receiving a new sims card before departing Cambridge Bay. When we       do get out of here we will be able to tell you all the full story. Until then please forgive us for not personally replying to all your emails. We will get to them as soon as we can.

Of the other small boats this year only 'Idlewild', the Canadian powerboat and Fine Tolerance passed through the North West Passage.

Yours  Phil and Liz