A sail boat frozen in ice off the shores of Wolfe Island is owned by Kingston resident Jeff Campbell.
He says he is testing the hull of his concrete sail boat to see if it could handle the Northwest passage.
On the Facebook page Memories of Wolfe Island some island residents are concerned about potential environmental damage from fuel or motor oil if the boat is damaged in the ice.
Campbell says he has a water pump that would give him time to remove engine fluids.
“We’ve got to get the oil out of the engine and pump out the fuel tank. Right now there’s only a quarter tank of diesel fuel in the tank so it wouldn’t be that difficult to get the stuff out.”
Retired Coast Guard Captain Patrick Toomey thinks it’s low risk that the boat would be carried out of the bay when the ice breaks up in the spring. “Apparently it’s in very shallow water, so that will melt out first and he will be afloat before that big piece leaves … most likely.”
Toomey has given Campbell advice about the potential voyage, a run Toomey has done about 15 times in his career with the Coast Guard and as an ice pilot.
Toomey says there are few options for food and fuel when you are that far north.
“You have to pre-arrange it. They have a sea lift every year which brings the fuel up for 12 months and they don’t really count on passing traffic.”
The Northwest passage is only fully open for a couple of weeks a year. Even then, Toomey says getting through isn’t a guarantee. Campbell will need a back up plan, he says. “You have to think about wintering over.”
Campbell says that even with such challenges to consider, he’s not deterred.
At least not yet.
“If it works let’s do it. If it doesn’t, it was a great idea and I’m not going to be a fool to try to do something that’s beyond my
Campbell estimates it will take at least a year to plan his trip through the Northwest passage.