Publishers rarely get manuscripts of historical importance “over the transom,” especially ones done in calligraphy, with beautiful illustrations, about striking deeds of unusual adventure and courage. Arctic Odyssey is such a book.
In a time when corporate sponsorship and media hype dull our senses, we find it satisfying to know that three Canadian friends can each put $400 into a food kitty and sail off in a 27-foot homemade boat to do what most arctic explorers would consider unthinkable. Strong-willed Captain Winston Bushnell designed and built his steel sloop, Dove III, then set forth, not on a whim, but on a carefully-planned voyage through the famed Northwest Passage. This world circumnavigator brought his boat and crew through the icy waters, making them the fourth yacht in history to transit the Passage in a single season. Only 57 vessels have ever completed the Northwest Passage.
With this superior feat of seamanship and daring, Dove’s captain and crew-Bushnell, George Hone, and Len Sherman-have joined a select group of arctic yachtsmen led by Willy de Roos, who sailed in 1977 from a point on the Arctic Circle off Greenland to the Arctic Circle off Alaska, a distance of 4,000 nautical miles-the first single-season transit.
By chance, Dove III met up with The Croatian Tern, captained by Mladen Sutej, near the halfway point in the Northwest Passage. Sutej’s expedition was fully sponsored, with all the high tech gear imaginable, but ironically his passage ended about one week later than Dove, making Croatian Tern the fifth boat to complete the Northwest Passage in a single season. [See The Arctic to the Antarctic – Sailing the Edges of the World.]
About the author: Len Sherman was the third crew member on the epic Northwest Passage voyage of the Dove III, one of the first west-to-east single-year passages on record. A commercial artist, Len captures in wonderful pen and ink drawings and journal entries, the beauty and solitude of the far north, as well as its courageous, adventurous people.