Kyloe sponsor the Northwest Passage Expedition

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We've joined the adventure of the ‘Last Great First'

July 29, 2021
In 2022 an international team of adventurers and ocean rowers will attempt to row the Northwest Passage, the 3,700km arctic route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans considered the Last Great First.

Drawing attention to the changing environment, this expedition is only possible because the sea ice is retreating each year gradually opening the route from July to September. During the journey the team will be collecting meaningful data for climate scientists at New York University and Big Blue Ocean Cleanup.

We are delighted to share that Kyloe are sponsoring this expedition, and we look forward to supporting and following the teams’ journey along the way!

The history behind the Northwest Passage: an Orkney connection

We’re proud to have our HQ in Orkney, and the expedition has it’s Orkney roots too…

The search for the Northwest Passage began in the 15th century, as Europeans sought a route to Asia for trade.

Over centuries, some of the world’s best explorers attempted the route. Every one of them was foiled by the brutal conditions and the enveloping ice. The area was eventually mapped by the likes of the Hudson Bay Company and the existence of a route began to fall into doubt after so many failed attempts to locate it.

In the 1860s, the Orcadian John Rae, hiking overland, finally found a sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the 1860s. It was not until Roald Amundsen set out in 1903 that the route was finally navigated in a journey that took 3 years, due to the continually freezing ice.

In 2022 the NWP Expedition plans on being the first to row the passage.

Drawing attention to the changing climate

As well as a feat of human endurance, the expedition will highlight the worlds changing environment in one of its most fragile regions, the arctic ocean.

This expedition is only possible because the regions climate is changing, which causes the sea ice to retreat each year, gradually opening the route from July to September.

At Kyloe, one of our core values is ‘responsibility’; we focus on the long term and consider the wider impact, taking social and environmental responsibility for our actions. It’s because of this that the expedition is particularly close to our hearts.

This journey provides the opportunity to draw attention to the changing environment, collecting meaningful data for climate scientists at New York University and Big Blue Ocean Cleanup.

Supporting local: Orcadian team member Davie Flett

Kyloe proudly support local businesses and individuals where possible.

"Not only does the Northwest Passage Expedition route have the Orkney connection, where our HQ is based, but local Orcadian Davie Flett, is in the team of selected rowers.

We first found out about the expedition through Jamie Thompson (Product Delivery Manager, Kyloe) who rows in the Orkney Rowing Club with Davie. With the Orkney connection and the environmental aspect, we were delighted at the opportunity to be involved, Lauren Miller (Marketing Manager, Kyloe) said.

The expedition will consist of three 9m boats designed and developed by Ruairi Grimes of Aston Martin and Leven Brown. Three members per boat will row at a time whilst the remaining sleep, in a 2-hour rotation nonstop.

The boat still has modifications to be added before the artic expedition, including solar panels, and nets to protect them from polar bears.

“We will add nets on the side of the boat to protect us from potential polar bears. Polar bears can swim faster than we can row, and will hunt humans for food. It is a concern but you try not to think about it.” Davie shared.

Just the beginning

On the 25th of July, one of the two boats taking part in the expedition arrived in Orkney at 3.30am, after a practice row from Newcastle to Orkney. This journey took 6 days - minor in comparison to the expedition which is expected to take around 60 days.

As they finally set foot on dry land, their leader, Leven Brown shared his delight at the success of the training exercise. “I’m feeling a little unsteady in the legs – the land is rocking backwards and forwards at the moment – but I’m really impressed by the row”.

Crew member Phil Kite shared his highlight: "It has to be our encounter with a whale that followed us for over half an hour and eventually breached 15 ft from the boat giving us the eye. It was an amazing experience and is why it is so important we support The Big Blue Ocean Cleanup so these beautiful giants of the sea can continue to survive.”

Learn more

We look forward to sharing more of the teams’ journey over the next year. Stay tuned for updates on our social media @kyloepartners.

Find out more about The Northwest Passage Expedition here.

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