Peter and Mathilde repair the daggerboard in Ny Alesund.

Of belugas and daggerboards: a tale of (mis)adventures in Svalbard

12 Aug 2018, Longyearbyen.  We have seen many arctic animals on our expedition so far. Polar bears, reindeers, walruses… but ones whoe surprised us most were the belugas spotted at the Recherche Fjord. Their enchanting and distracting dance preluded Nanuq being stranded for 12 hours… with its daggerboard cut in two!

The daggerboard is not an essential part of the sailboat. However, in our case, it was set to play and important role in the search for the airship ITALIA.  Our team had spent 8 days in Iceland building an ad-hoc support for the daggerboard that would hold the multi-beamer, given us by Norwegian firm Norbit subsea. This instrument would be used to search for ITALIA, and fulfil geographical research during the crossing of Svalbard.

When we arrived in Longyearbyen, on 1 August 2018, we began to look for resin to repair the daggerboard. We needed nearly 5 kg of product and the local shops only sold packages of 25 grams! Luckily, help arrived from main-land Norway, and all material we needed was delivered on time to the boat, ahead of the departure on August 4. During our 2 day pit-stop in Ny Alesund, Peter Gallinelli and his co-skipper Mathilde Gallinelli-Gonzalez were offered the repair room of Italian research station Dirigibile Italia by CNR.

It took one night of intense work to smooth the 2 broken pieces and merge them together. The sun shining on the following day helped the resin to dry, and Nanuq set sail on August 6. It has been serving the ship well ever since, and is being used to great success to carry the multi-beamer for the upcoming survey of the seafloor.

Our thanks go out to everyone who helped us with the repairs!

The trouble-making belugas stayed with Nanuq for several hours while it was stranded.

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