Whisky Focus - Old Pulteney Ice Boat is Unveiled Ahead of Record Breaking Arctic Adventure

The Old Pulteney Ice Boat Is Unveiled

8th December 2010

The Old Pulteney ‘Ice Boat’ is Unveiled Ahead of Record Breaking Arctic Adventure.

Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky and explorer Jock Wishart, yesterday unveiled a specially designed ‘ice boat’ which will be rowed in a pioneering arctic expedition – The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole. The bespoke boat has been constructed to withstand some of the harshest conditions on earth and enable Jock and his crew to conquer one of the world’s last true firsts – the first ever attempt to row to a pole, possibly the greatest ocean row ever.

The vessel and some of its crew were revealed for the first time today at the Natural History Museum’s outdoor ice rink in central London, where the boats unique arctic attributes were put to the test.

In July/August 2011, internationally acclaimed adventurer and sportsman Jock Wishart will lead a six strong team on the pioneering Row to the Pole expedition. In the bespoke ice boat, they will set off from Canada on a 450 mile route across the arctic on a voyage to the magnetic North Pole which if successful, will make history. The challenge is of global significance as both a pioneering maritime adventure and an environmental expedition and has only now become possible due to the increase in seasonal sea ice melt and its deterioration because of climate changes. The final leg of the journey is only navigable for a few weeks of the year before refreezing and Jock and his crew will be working with scientific research partners to deliver environmental data and insight from the journey.

The unique rowing boat, known as "The Old Pulteney", was designed by yacht designer Peter Bosgraaf from Amsterdam in collaboration with Devon-based Hugh Welbourne and Roger Daynes, a leading British sledge designer. This vessel is the first rowing boat in the world to have a "cathedral hull" with sledge runners fitted underneath. This unique feature, combined with attachment points for harnesses, will enable the crew to drag the boat over the ice to" leads" they could row on to complete the final leg of their journey. This gruelling feat was last attempted by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1916 who was forced to drag his boats to safety over the ice during his Imperial Trans Antarctic expedition.

The vessel, which was built in Christchurch, Dorset by Rossiter Yachts, is sheathed in carbon fibre and kevlar to withstand extreme arctic conditions yet remain light enough for the crew to pull. With a planned weight of 900 kilos, its 9.2 m by 1.82 m dimensions were dictated by the size of the plane in Canada which will fly the boat in from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay, Canada (the starting off point for the expedition),on the final stage of its journey from the UK. The Old Pulteney has been constructed to accommodate six crew and their equipment during the four to six week voyage. The colouring of the boat incorporates Old Pulteney whisky’s dark blue in its top sides to help absorb heat during the expedition and its golden underside was selected for visibility should it capsize.

To reach the magnetic North Pole, Jock, who is a descendant of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns, will row for hours on end in challenging weather and subzero temperatures with little chance for rest or shelter. Joining him will be 36 years old Billy Gammon a British born ex advertising executive who took part in the Indian Ocean race in 2009, South African born Rob Sleep who worked for ten years on a variety of yachts circumnavigating the world and has walked to the Pole on several occasions,36 year old climber, rower and "super yacht" captain Mark Delstanche, a Row to the Pole cameraman and the winner of Old Pulteney’s international competition Pole Position, who will be announced at the London Boat Show in January.

Margaret Mary Clarke, Brand Manager, Old Pulteney says: "We are delighted to unveil such a truly magnificent boat. The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole has been planned for three years and we are confident that the crew will be toasting their success next Summer in the Pole with a dram of Old Pulteney.”

Old Pulteney’s partnership with Jock is rooted in the whisky’s renowned maritime heritage and history of supporting sailing and seafaring adventure. The whisky is distilled in the historic harbour town of Wick, the most northerly distillery on the UK mainland and the windswept and rugged landscape that surrounds it has given the malt its legacy as the Maritime Malt

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