Old Pulteney Boat Gets whisky Christening Ahead of Pioneering Adventure
Arctic and maritime adventurer Jock Wishart and his crew have today christened their specially designed rowing boat, The Old Pulteney ahead of its pioneering voyage into the unknown. The expedition team named the boat after their sponsors, Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky at a ceremony outside Boisdale’s at Canary Wharf, London.
Wishart will lead a six strong team on the Old Pulteney Row to the Pole expedition in a bespoke ice boat – today christened The Old Pulteney – which will set off from Canada’s Resolute Bay on the 1st of August on a 450 mile route across the arctic on a voyage to the magnetic North Pole which, if successful, will make history as a world first.
The Old Pulteney has been constructed to accommodate a six-strong crew and their equipment during the four to six week voyage. The crew comprise of five experienced oarsmen, and one carefully selected novice, David Mans. Mans, a 28 year old British Army Officer and Afghanistan veteran from Hampshire, beat stiff competition from hundreds of international entrants of the Old Pulteney Pole Position Competition earlier this year, offering one spirited person a once in a lifetime chance to be part of this extraordinary adventure.
Speaking at the ceremony, Jock Wishart told the audience: “It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century there are still parts of our oceans that have never been explored. This is truly a voyage into the unknown - within 60 nautical miles of the start of our voyage; we will be taking The Old Pulteney through waters that have never been navigated by any surface vessel.”
The challenge is of global significance as both a pioneering maritime adventure and an environmental expedition and has only now become possible due to the increase in seasonal sea ice melt and its deterioration because of climate changes. The final leg of the journey is only navigable for a few weeks of the year before refreezing, and Jock and his crew will be working with scientific research partners to deliver environmental data and insight from the journey.
David Mans, the crew’s oceanographer, said: “Last summer the ice melted to its third lowest extent. Already this year the ice is shrinking at a rate of 15,000 square kilometres a day and indicating that the conditions could well be right for us to make it all the way.”
Christening the boat at the launch, Senior Brand Manager for Old Pulteney, Margaret Mary Clarke commented: “Old Pulteney is a long standing supporter of maritime activity and we’ve been working with Jock and his team for over two years on building up to this day. It’s fantastic to christen the boat The Old Pulteney and we wish Jock and his crew the best of luck for the expedition.”
During their epic row, the crew will be sleeping on board their cramped boat and experiencing temperatures as low as minus 15 Centigrade and they will have to consume over 7,000 calories to survive.
“It’s daunting” comments oarsman Billy Gammon, “I’m taking time out from my job to do this, but I am sure there will be times it won’t seem like such a good idea!”
To help the crew navigate the journey safely and identify the route through the disintegrating ice, Jock Wishart will be studying detailed satellite photos taken by MDA Geospatial’s Radarsat 2: “The satellite images are our eye in the sky. Without them it would be much more difficult to navigate, especially in the later stages of the expedition when we expect the amount of ice surrounding us will be greatest.”