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Arctic sailing race planned in Canada to highlight climate change

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Montreal (AFP)

A French sports group on Saturday announced its intention to launch a sailing race in the thawing Canadian Arctic to raise awareness of the global alert.

Kicking off in 2023, the North Pole Race will see ships sail from Quebec to Vancouver along the Northwest Passage, a sea route through the Arctic Ocean along North America’s North Course. North.

The crews will sail on special aluminum boats designed for polar waters, according to Hervé Favre, president of the French group OC Sport.

These ships will have to be “fast enough to make the crossing in two months, because the window is not large,” between the ice-free summer period and the return of winter precipitation, Favre said, according to an article published in the Montreal daily. The Press.

“The race to the North Pole will raise awareness among the world population about sustainable development and the importance of acting now to save our environment,” said the mayor of Quebec, Régis Labeaume, during the first report of the race last week.

The municipal government of Quebec said in a statement that the North Pole Race will bring together teams from 10 countries, including Canada, China, Russia, France and Denmark. Each team will be made up of a scientist, an experienced skipper and citizens of the country they represent.

This race “could not have existed without global warming, because the melting ice in the Northwest Passage makes it possible to travel this strategic nautical route”, according to a statement from Quebec City.

Crossing the Canadian archipelago, a vast network of isolated and inhospitable islands beyond the Arctic Circle, the Northwest Passage saves ships approximately 7,000 kilometers (4,300 miles) of distance between Europe and Asia. But the lack of infrastructure, the remoteness of emergency services and the limited mapping of the Arctic Ocean make navigation in these waters very perilous.

Favre, whose group also organizes the Route du Rhum single-handed transatlantic yacht race, said the North Pole Race was more likely to attract adventurers than professional racers.