Amundsen’s Schooner to Finally Sail Home

The Maud, a schooner sailed by legendary Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first to reach the South Pole and the man who made famous forays sailing into the Northwest Passage, is finally ready to sail home. Currently she is “resting,” partially submerged, in Nunavut’s Cambridge Bay in Canada, but a group in Norway has plans to retrieve the vessel from where she sank in 1930.

With an estimated cost of $5 to $6 million to raise the 300-ton vessel, the feat, now scheduled for next summer, will also be technically challenging.

“There is no bad luck,” Amundsen used to say, “only good preparations.”  Jan Wanggaard, manager of the Maud Returns Home Project and his team have completed plans to raise the Maud after spending several weeks in late August at the site conducting final research. “Of course, we’re expecting the unexpected as we try to raise the Maud. But I’m confident our plan will work.”

The Norwegians are hoping to make the Maud the centerpiece of a new museum built specifically for the ship. Mr. Wanggaard has taken small samples of wood to Norway so that experts can determine the best temperature and air-moisture conditions at which the ship must be kept to prevent future disintegration.

Named for Queen Maud of Norway, Norwegians believe the oak-hulled ship played a significant role in the building of the nation and its cultural history.

Launched in 1916, it was designed for Mr. Amundsen’s voyage to the North Pole. Mr. Amundsen made his name as the first explorer to reach the South Pole. Although the Maud did not reach the North Pole, it still made a famous foray into the Northwest Passage, and its crew collected scientific data and took meteorological, geophysical and oceanographic measurements.

“It holds a really special place in our hearts,” Mr. Wanggaard said. “But we know it also is important to the people in Cambridge Bay, who are used to seeing it every day.”

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