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On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula

By Svetlana Skarbo, Anna Liesowska
07 October 2020

99 year old sailing ship successfully passes the most challenging part of its Arctic odyssey…. and there is NO ice.

Aurora Borealis over the 99 year old STS Sedov on the Northern Sea Route. Picture: STS Sedov

The magnificent sailing ship has been ‘on the road’ since 18 August when it left the port of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, moving up along its easternmost edge to voyage the Northern Sea Route off the country’s Arctic coastline. 

The barque called at three major ports of the Kamchatka peninsula and Chukotka, before heading towards the most challenging part of the Northern Sea Route, the Vilkitsky Strait, as described by the ship’s captain Mikhail Novikov. 

It was successfully passed on 26 and 27 September, of which the captain wrote: ‘We are proceeding in the Vilkitsky Strait under power. Ship's speed is 5 knots.

'The weather is cloudy, it is raining and snowing from time to time. The temperature is 1-2 degrees Celsius. North wind is 5 m/s.

'Over the past day, 109.9 miles have been sailed under power. In the evening, the crew and cadets were shown all the videos mailed from the ship and broadcast on TV. The videos unleashed a storm of applause of the crew and cadets.’ 

On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula


On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula


On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula


On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula


On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula
This is the first such voyage of a sailing ship along the Northern Sea route. Pictures: STS Sedov, The Siberian Times


The barque has been making from 80 to 160 nautical miles a day, making quite an astonishing progress along the overall distance of the journey of 8.305 nautical miles. 

Some 600 miles of their voyage has been under sail. 

Depending on the further route, STS Sedov has a bit more than 3.200 nautical mile left till it reaches the home port of Kaliningrad. 

The barque’s crew and cadets enjoyed magnificent Aurora Borealis as the ship was going along the Northern Sea Route - but encountered no major ice fields.

Ivan Fedyushin, 2nd officer at STS Sedov, said: “Passing through the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea we did not encounter even remnants of ice fields.

‘Favourable weather allowed us to set sail…for two days we were under sail only, 140 years after The Vega Expedition.

'Based on all this, we can say that global climate changes make sea routes in polar waters more accessible for all types of ships.'

It means that STS Sedov easily passed three Arctic seas exactly 142 years after the famous Vega Expedition was stuck in pack ice for 11 months.

On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula


On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula

On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula
Depending on the further route, STS Sedov has a bit more than 3.200 nautical mile left till it reaches the home port of Kaliningrad. Pictures: STS Sedov


The Vega Expedition was the first to navigate the route, known as the Northeast Passage, and on an historic voyage, was also the first to sail around Eurasia. 

The steamship SS Vega under the leadership of Swedish Finnish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiold  became stuck in pack ice on 28 September 1878, some 1.5 km from the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula.

While this is a week or so later than now, the vessel for a month or so had only a narrow strip of ice-free water to navigate in stark contrast to the description by Fedyushin.

The 99-year-old German built barque  STS Sedov is aiming to highlight how the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic Ocean is now open as a viable route.  

This is the first such voyage along the Northern Sea route. 

The barque has been making from 80 to 160 nautical miles a day, making quite an astonishing progress along the overall distance of the journey of 8.305 nautical miles. Some 600 miles of their voyage has been under sail. Pictures: STS Sedov

On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula


On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula


On top of the world: STS Sedov reaches port of Sabetta at tip of Yamal peninsula

Comments (1)

Sealboat are very beautiful, élégant boats....dream boats.
Jocelyne, FRANJOU
07/10/2020 14:34
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