Polar adventurer on way to Greenland

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Former Island Games captain Raoul Surcouf and his expedition partner, Richard Spink, are on their way to Greenland aboard a small sailing yacht.

They are trying to become the first people to complete a carbon neutral crossing of the Greenland ice cap. That means they will travel from England to the Arctic, across the ice and back using just the elements and muscle power.

Jess Tombs, who is based at the team’s UK headquarters, said that they had been frustrated by bad weather and winds trying to push them in the wrong direction.

Jess said that they a school of porpoises has visited them and that they were in good spirits.

• Raoul will be keeping in touch with Islanders via his daily blog. The first postings are published here:

Wed 22 April

Position: 50° 23.095 N, 007° 58.006 W

Health: All fine

Weather: Fair

Distance: 152 nautical miles

Blog from onboard Fleur: We’re all doing well. Cruising along nicely at 6 knots and with a southerly wind heading straight to Greenland.

However the seas are roughening and we’re starting to feel queasy! Should be passing Southern Ireland early tomorrow morning. A group of porpoises visited Fleur – an amazing sight. We have been trying to keep up the exercise onboard with press-ups and sit-ups but with the boat pitching around on the waves it is proving challenging!

Thu 23 April

Position: 50° 09.265 N, 005° 03.953 W

Health: All fine

Weather: Wind and rain

Distance: ??

Blog from onboard Fleur: Squalls, poor mileage. Woke to the sound of several seabirds which stayed with the boat for an hour or so. We were down to 3knots later which was torture as we are making little headway. All are a little unsettled with the constant slow roll of fleur in light winds.

Relief this afternoon on Richard and Raoul’s watch as the weather changed and heavy squalks set in. We were flying along at 7 knots for an hour but soon lost the wind but not the heavy rain. Made a few sail changes to aide our progress. Press ups and sit ups today to try and maintain fitness. Ben cooked a great spag boll later. Thanks Maggie for the wonderful cake, still a bit left.

Fri 24 April

Position: 51° 46.860 N, 12° 12.700 W

Health: Good but spirits moderate!

Weather: Persisting north easterly winds

Distance: ??

Blog from onboard Fleur: We’re currently 60 to 70 miles off the west coast of Ireland. It has been a poor day weather wise with north easterly winds persisting and pushing us off course. This means we have had the worst day distance wise which is extremely frustrating. However there has been some sunshine and we have been able to dry off some kit and spend sometime chatting together on the deck.

Last night was eventful with bizarre winds swinging from north to south every 10 minutes or so. We all got a bit confused and Rich even fell out of this cot banging his back. The cot has now been repaired and we’re all back to normal!

We’re hoping for a better day tomorrow weather wise. We need some easterly winds so we can gain some speed. This will no doubt help to lift our spirits.

Sat 25 April

Position: 51° 31.300 N, 14° 54.720 W

Health: All fine

Weather: Good winds

Distance: 500 nautical miles covered so far

Blog from Jess, UK base: I got a message on my phone today from the team onboard Fleur. Amazing how during the one minute I leave my phone to go and do something in another room they call me. I must remember to keep it in my pocket at all times!

They have been calling me every third day with the blog and sending it to me via email on the other days but it seems there is a technical hitch and the email is no longer sending through the sat phone. Hopefully that problem can be resolved soon.

Consequently I received a very broken up message and couldn’t hear much of what was being said. I did catch that they had an awful night’s sleep and that they’re trying to get further north but that Fleur won’t point into the wind so they have been struggling along at 4 knots. It is not very pleasant onboard. I’m hoping things will improve for them tomorrow.

Sun 26 April

Position: 52° 07.900 N, 16° 22.520 W

Health: All fine

Weather: Poor

Distance: Not many miles!

Blog from onboard Fleur: The wind is persisting in blowing in the wrong direction for us. At 6am this morning the weather was fair and we were sailing along at 5 knots but by the evening is had worsened and we’re now only going 3 knots! We’re still struggling to head in the right direction and it is extremely frustrating. We’re all starting to feel really down in the dumps about now and have crossed our fingers and toes for better weather tomorrow!

Mon 27 April

Position: 50° 55.46 N, 17° 43.78 W

Health: All well

Weather: Still poor with a north easterly wind

Distance: Not many miles!

Blog from onboard Fleur: Things still haven’t improved with the weather and although we’re all fine we’re really praying for some better weather tomorrow! It has been quite choppy at sea but Fleur remains in good shape. Raoul is having a caffeine withdrawal from lack of coffee but otherwise we’re all fine! The email is still not working properly but we’re managing to speak to Jess at base via the sat phone.

• For more information about the trip: Click here

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