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Displaying items by tag: Northabout

Northabout, the 47-foot Westport expedition yacht of Jarlath Cunnane from Mayo, which with a crew, many of them Galway Hooker sailors, completed an Arctic circumnavigation of the world with a transit of the Northeast Passage north of Russia, has been back to Ireland after being sold to France.

Crewed “exclusively by women,” the yacht put into Dun Laoghaire this week en route to Greenland on another expedition.

Northabout expedition leader Marta Goumes aboard Northabout with Jarltah Cunnan'es book about his polar voyageNorthabout expedition leader Marta Goumes aboard Northabout with Jarltah Cunnan'es book about his polar voyage 

The leader of this expedition, from France, is Marta Goumes, who learned her sailing in West Cork – at the former Glenans base in Baltimore. It Is amazing how the Irish marine sphere, boats, places and people, resonates around the world…

From Northabout, Marta told me how her group were taking the former West of Ireland yacht back to cold weather regions…..

More on the Podcast here

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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A group of Irish polar circumnavigators held a silent vigil today outside the Russian Embassy in Dublin in protest over the imprisonment of Russian historian Yuri Dmitriev.

As Afloat reported earlier this week, the crew of yacht Northabout, which successfully transited the North-West and North-East passages, met Dmitriev on their navigation of the White Sea/Baltic canal in 2012.

Dmitriev, a Gulag researcher, historian and human rights activist, has dedicated most of his life to documenting burial sites of those who died during Soviet-era repression.

Grandfathers for Human Rights - the polar sailor protest at the Russian Embassy in Dublin Photo: Gary FinneganGrandfathers for Human Rights - the polar sailor protest at the Russian Embassy in Dublin Photo: Gary Finnegan

Northabout skipper Jarlath Cunnane, Colm Brogan and and pilot on the White Sea Canal in 2012Northabout skipper Jarlath Cunnane, Colm Brogan and and pilot on the White Sea Canal in 2012

Last December, a Russian court added two more years to a 13-year jail sentence imposed on Dmitriev after he was found guilty of sexually abusing his adopted daughter – a charge he has denied.

Supporters of Dmitriev say the charges were fabricated to punish him for uncovering mass graves of Stalin's gulags.

Dmitriev worked with prominent rights group Memorial on documenting Soviet-era repression.

Historian and human rights activist Yuri Dmitriev and his daughter on board Northabout in 2012Historian and human rights activist Yuri Dmitriev and his daughter on board Northabout in 2012

During the 1937-1938 Great Terror, at least 700,000 people were executed according to officials. Dmitriev located a mass grave containing thousands of bodies of people held in the Gulags, the Soviet prison camp network.

Mass graves shown to the crew of Northabout during their 2012 transit of the White Sea canalMass graves shown to the crew of Northabout during their 2012 transit of the White Sea canal

The crew of Northabout include sailor and boatbuilder Jarlath Cunnane, Dr Michael Brogan, Paddy Barry, Gary Finnegan, Colm Brogan and Kevin Cronin.

They held their one-hour vigil outside the Russian embassy in Dublin on Wednesday, February 9th, and were supported by Irish members of the human rights group PEN-International.

Dr Michael Brogan (from left), historian Yuri Dmitriev and Colm Brogan during Northabout's transit of the White Sea canal in 2012.jpgDr Michael Brogan (from left), historian Yuri Dmitriev and Colm Brogan during Northabout's transit of the White Sea canal in 2012

They said they met up with Yuri Dmitriev in the city of Petrozavodsk, on the shores of Lake Onega, during their White Sea canal voyage.

“He took us to Sandarmokh forest and other burial sites around the area, where we met relatives of some of the victims,” they said.

“Dmitriev is trying to ensure that Russia remembers its past, and the importance of truth to prevent new atrocities,” they said.

“He has paid a high price for highlighting Stalin’s reign of terror, which Mr Putin wants to whitewash from Russian history,” they said.

A memorial to those who died at Sandarmokh forest on the White Sea canal routeA memorial to those who died at Sandarmokh forest on the White Sea canal route

The group has also criticised a Russian Supreme Court decision to close Memorial, the country's most prominent human rights group, which chronicled Stalin-era purges.

“This same court has refused to review Dmitriev's case which, at close to 66 years of age amounts almost to a death sentence,” they said.

“While the present administration is once again setting out to erase the memory of the victims as if they never existed, the future looks grim for anyone who might speak up for the truth of Russia's dark history,” they said.

Thousands of workers are believed to have died during the construction of the 227 km-long White Sea Canal, which was built in 20 months between November 1931 and July 1933.

The sailors recall that Dmitriev examined the records of one field hospital alone along the canal route, and documented the deaths of 10,000 prisoners working on the eighth lock in the winter of 1932.

Published in Cruising
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The crew of Jarlath Cunnane’s expedition yacht Northabout which sailed expeditions to the Northwest and Northeast Passages is to protest outside the Russian Embassy in Dublin on Wednesday at 2 pm for one hour to highlight the plight of a jailed Russian researcher, historian and human rights activist, Yuri Dmitriev, who met them in the city of Petrozavodsk, on the shores of Lake Onega. He has been jailed by the Russian Government because his research work is ensuring that the history of Soviet terror is known and remembered, according to Dr Michael Brogan, a leading Galway Hooker owner and sailor and who was on the Northabout crew.

The Northabout crew, under the banner “Grandfathers for Human Rights and friends of Russian Political prisoner Yuri Dmitriev,” will hold the silent vigil, he told Afloat, “because he has paid a high price for highlighting Stalin’s reign of terror, which Mr Putin wants to whitewash from Russian history.”

“In 2012, Irish Sailing Vessel, Northabout sailed to Russia from Westport to navigate the White Sea/ Baltic Canal.Constructed largely on Stalin’s instigation, the Canal is 227 kilometres long and includes nineteen locks and fifteen dams; all built in twenty months (November 1931 - July 1933). An endless supply of slave labour was available and the number of workers who died will never be known.

“Yuri Dmitriev, Gulag researcher, historian and human rights activist spent thirty years ensuring that the history of Soviet terror is known and remembered. He has dedicated most of his life to documenting the burial sites (with dates, names and each victim’s story), which included the mass graves at Sandarmokh, Krasny Bor and the Solovetsky Islands. He has also published books of remembrance with details of thousands of victims. (From the records of one field hospital alone, he documented the deaths of 10,000 prisoners working on the eighth lock in the winter of 1932.)

“The Crew of Northabout met up with Yuri Dmitriev in the city of Petrozavodsk, on the shores of Lake Onega. He took us to Sandarmokh forest and other burial sites around the area, where we met relatives of some of the victims. Dmitriev is trying to ensure that Russia remembers its past, and the importance of truth to prevent new atrocities.

He has paid a high price for highlighting Stalin’s reign of terror, which Mr. Putin wants to whitewash from Russian history. Yuri was arrested on trumped-up charges in 2016 and was sentenced firstly to three and a half years which - on appeal - was increased to thirteen years. This last sentence was appealed by the prosecutor and on Monday, December 27th, his sentence was further increased to fifteen years. Twenty-four hours after Dmitriev's verdict, Russia's Supreme Court shut down Memorial; the country's most prominent human rights group, which chronicled Stalin-era purges. This same Court has refused to review Dmitriev's case which, at close to 66 years of age amounts almost to a death sentence.

“The present administration is once again setting out to erase the memory of the victims as if they never existed, the future looks grim for anyone who might speak up for the truth of Russia's dark history.”

The crew of Northabout was: Jarlath Cunnane, Michael Brogan, Paddy Barry, Gary Finnegan, Colm Brogan, Kevin Cronin.

Published in Cruising
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Eight Irishmen and their 47-foot boat Northabout left Westport in June 2001 to sail the Northwest Passage north of Canada and Alaska. Nobody had ever sailed this in an East/West direction which is against the prevailing tides and winds. The crew endured hazards of ever-moving ice and navigation through narrow channels of open water.

They photographed the harshly beautiful landscape and superb wildlife on their way. The boat was designed specifically for polar exploration and built by Jarlath Cunnane of Mayo, and eventually she returned to Clew Bay after completing an Arctic circumnavigation of the world with a transit of the Northeast Passage north of Russia.

One of the crew was Gary Finnegan who has been a cameraman and filmmaker for over 30 years. As well as crewing on this journey Gary filmed the trip from start to finish.

Gary is coming to Sutton Dinghy Club on Thursday, March 14th at 7.30pm to show this great film and to answer any questions you have on the night.

Published in Cruising
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