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French Arctic adventurers end their mission due to bad weather

Sébastien Roubinet and Vincent Berthet in their catamaran 'Baboushka'
Sébastien Roubinet and Vincent Berthet in their catamaran 'Baboushka' S.Roubinet

Two French men, Sébastien Roubinet and Vincent Berthet , who set out on a trek to the North Pole in July in a wind catamaran, announced today that they are blocked in the Arctic. A Russian ice-breaker has been dispatched to help them.


 “Sébastien and Vincent set off their warning flares. They did everything they could, they believed in themselves right up until the last moment, but with the bad weather conditions now, and more expected to come, they were forced to abandon their mission” said a press release posted on the Facebook page The Artctic Track (La Voie du Pôleî!/Lavoiedupole)

“Ice began to build-up on the route to the Pole and Spitzberg, and the temperature plunged, and is expected to keep dropping in the next eight days” explained the press release. The blockade happened suddenly and was unexpected by venturesome duo.

Roubinet, 39 and Berthet, 32 set out to the Arctic at the beginning of July, just at the peak of the summer thaw.

They left from Alaska aboard an engine-powered vehicle nicknamed Babouchka (grandmother in Russian). Babouchka is half catamaran, half sail wagon, she’s able to move across the sea and ice.

The goal was to make it to Spitzberg in the Svalbard archipelago in Norway, via the North Pole and observe the state of melting ice that has gone on over the past years.

However, "Amira Makarov" , the Russian ice-breaker will come to the rescue after receiving their distress calls.

“The French travellers have enough food and fuel to last them ten days. That’s more than enough time for help to arrive”, confirmed an agent from the Russian Centre for maritime help.

Both men are experienced travelers. One man navigated the North-West passage between the Pacific and Atlantic in just a sail on a mini catamaran he had constructed himself, back in 2007.

The second adventurer, is a cameraman and explorer of the great North, had participated in a 1000 kilometre trip by kayak to the fjords and to the middle of the icebergs off the coast of Greenland last year. 


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