Homemade boat nearly through NW Passage

Sept. 17, 2011 at 3:19 PM

YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- A Russian crew aboard a boat made with bamboo, rope and duct tape has nearly completed its journey through Canada's Northwest Passage, a crew member said.

The homemade boat, "Rus," which is about 25 feet long, was southwest of Victoria Island crossing from Nunavut into Northwest Territories waters, crew member Aleksey Skripov said by satellite phone, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The four sailors are making the journey as part of the Orion Expedition, a multiyear, round-the-world, trans-arctic trip.

Since leaving St. Petersburg, Russia, a few months ago, they have sailed through the Baltic and North seas and across the Atlantic Ocean, the CBC said.

A Mountie who saw the craft last month in Clyde River, Nunavut, said the boat looked like something out of "Gilligan's Island."

Olga Volynkina, the daughter of a crew member, said the crew is relying on a backup engine after the main engine failed recently.

The crew needs the main engine to cross the Bering Strait to get back to Russia, and the sailors hope to get the engine fixed next week in Barrow, Alaska, she said.

The journey is to end in Anadyr, in Russia's Chukotka region, in late October or early November.

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