Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Two Irish Ketches Push The Limits In The Arctic

14th July 2022
Nick Katz’s 19-ton steel ketch Teddy in a classic Greenland high summer setting
Nick Katz’s 19-ton steel ketch Teddy in a classic Greenland high summer setting

It is said that you have to be prepared to wait until the 15th July in the average season before you can contemplate a successful venture into the most heavily-iced parts of East Greenland. Whether or not global warming has moved this date significantly forward remains to be seen, but in line with the established experience, the Clifden-based naturopath, environmentalist and Arctic-sailing enthusiast Nick Katz and his crew with his hefty Danish-built steel ketch Teddy – usually a familiar sight at Clifden Quay in Connemara - have stationed themselves in Iceland after voyaging north from Ireland, and their passage toward East Greenland is now top of the agenda.

Nick Katz’s yellow-hulled steel ketch Teddy (centre) at Clifden Quay in Connemara. Photo: W M NixonNick Katz’s yellow-hulled steel ketch Teddy (centre) at Clifden Quay in Connemara Photo: WM Nixon

A many of many interests – Nick Katz of ClifdenA many of many interests – Nick Katz of Clifden

Meanwhile in the Northeast Atlantic, the long distance warming effects of the North Atlantic Drift - often described with some inaccuracy as the Gulf Stream – means that serious voyaging into High Latitudes can be undertaken much earlier, and it was in the first week of June that Dublin Bay Old Gaffers President Adrian “Stu” Spence departed north with his Voyager 47 El Paradiso.

“Everything rolls neatly away”. Adrian “Stu” Spence’s Vagabond 47 ketch El Paradiso in Poolbeg Y&BC marina in Dublin Port. Photo: W M Nixon“Everything rolls neatly away”. Adrian “Stu” Spence’s Vagabond 47 ketch El Paradiso in Poolbeg Y&BC marina in Dublin Port

His previous boat – also cruised to the Arctic - was the incredibly ancient 1873-vintage former Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter which came with - and kept - the name Madcap. Thus Skipper Spence is obviously averse to changing boat names, despite the fact that El Paradiso is just about the last thing anyone would think of in going to Svalbard/Spitzbergen and beyond, the main focus of the current Spence voyage.

Seafaring veterans: Joe Pennington of the Isle of Man, Dickie Gomes of Strangford Lough and DBOGA President Adrian “Stu” Spence in a serious discussion, probably about Manichaen philosophy…..Photo: W M NixonSeafaring veterans: Joe Pennington of the Isle of Man, Dickie Gomes of Strangford Lough and DBOGA President Adrian “Stu” Spence in a serious discussion, probably about Manichaen philosophy…..Photo: W M Nixon

After the challenges of Madcap’s utterly traditional rig, the ship’s company of El Paradiso – which includes serial High Latitude sailor and Blue Water Medallist Paddy Barry – find themselves dealing with the ultimate convenience setup in which everything – in theory at least – conveniently rolls away. The word is that going north via the Faroes, they’ve already experienced at least one exceptional storm. But the stories will be much longer and more varied than that when El Paradiso finally comes home.

“A man of the mountains and the sea” – Blue Water Medallist Paddy Barry is aboard El Paradiso for the voyage to the High Arctic.“A man of the mountains and the sea” – Blue Water Medallist Paddy Barry is aboard El Paradiso for the voyage to the High Arctic

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

Email The Author

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating