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Sailing the Northwest Passage by catamaran

It's been called "the Arctic Grail." For centuries, European explorers were obsessed with the quest for a route around North America to the Orient. Norway's Roald Amundsen finally conquered the Northwest Passage in 1906. But long Arctic winters meant the route couldn't be exploited commercially. Global warming could change all that by melting the ice and making the passage a key shipping route. But as this happens, the controversial question of sovereignty becomes increasingly important. Does the Northwest Passage belong to Canada or the world?

media clip
"I think it's important to emphasize that you and Mike Beedell did something that has never been done before," says panellist Pierre Berton in this 1988 Front Page Challenge clip. He's talking to Canada's Jeffrey MacInnis, one of two men who navigated the Northwest Passage on a catamaran - the first craft to cross "by wind power alone." The journey was quite gruelling. But when asked why he persevered, MacInnis responds with a smile: "Once you dream it, you have to do it."
• MacInnis and Beedell began their journey among ice floes in the summer of 1986.
• It took them a total of 100 days, over the course of three summers, to complete. They spent the winters in between in Southern Ontario.
• They achieved their goal in August 1988.
• This clip mentions that MacInnis's father had previously been a guest on Front Page Challenge. Jeffrey's father, Dr. Joseph MacInnis, is a renowned physician/scientist, ocean explorer and author. He is well known for his underwater investigations of the Titanic wreckage.
Medium: Television
Program: Front Page Challenge
Broadcast Date: Nov. 2, 1988
Guest(s): Jeffrey MacInnis
Host: Fred Davis
Panellist: Pierre Berton, Allan Fotheringham, Betty Kennedy, Knowlton Nash
Duration: 10:58
Writer: Warner Troyer c/o Writers Guild of Canada, 416-979-7907 Ex. 5236.

Last updated: August 21, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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