The Two Poles Circumnavigation with sailing ships will begin in Omsk (an administrative center in western Siberia) on July 1st this year. The crew will be mainly made up of sailors who participated in the last circumnavigation, Siberia-2000.
The regional administration reported on Wednesday that initial estimates have put the cost of the project at $2 million. More than half of this figure could be spent on building new yachts.
In the first polar summer, the crews intend to cross the northern sea route (from the ice-free port of Murmansk on the Bering Sea) to the east to the Bering Strait that separates the Russian peninsula of Chukotka from America's Alaska. The sailors will then follow the US coast to the Drake Strait and voyage round Antarctica at the best time of year and again head through the Drake Strait in the direction Africa-Australia-Japan to the Bering Strait.
With the onset of the second polar summer, the project participants are intending to cross the northwestern passage and return to the expedition's original departure point.
No one has ever managed to do this before in the entire history of sailing. Many sailors have attempted to make it round Antarctica and yachting races are even held there. However, so far not one yacht has made it all the way around. Last year, three sailing ships concluded a years-long circumnavigation around the "perimeter of the Arctic Ocean" One of the participants in this experiment was the Russian Nikolai Litau on the yacht, the Apostol Andrei.