Monaro Marine Ltd.
Breaks Ice in Resolute

view of icebergsA very special delivery took place a few seasons ago, but little was told about it until now. A new Monaro 27 Hardtop was wheeled out of the shop at Richmond, BC and hauled off by road all the way to Hay River on the southern shores of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. There it was launched and prepared for delivery – to its owner at Resolute in the deep Arctic. A crew was hired to run it from Hay River to its future home base. Cruising a short way along the lake they entered the McKenzie for its long winding trip of over 1000 kilometers down to Tuktoyaktuk and the Beaufort Sea. They stopped along the way at places such as historic Fort Simpson, Wrigley, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Fort Mcpherson and Inuvik. From Tuktoyaktuk they went east via the southern Arctic route through the Amundsen Gulf, Coronation Gulf and Queen Maud Gulf where they encountered a fair share of pack ice. So much so that at one point the boat was squeezed and lifted stern first out of the water. The crew, using a little ingenuity, got the boat back into the water with only minor damage. The hull was scratched and one of the trim tabs was broken. This left them with about 75 miles to go to Resolute.

Despite the broken trim tab and concern about the scratched hull, the crew continued up the northbound passages via King William Island and the Boothia Peninsula to cross Barrow Strait and reach Resolute on Cornwallis Island. At one point, delays, detours and long hours of idling the crew boat found themselves low on fuel and through constant single side band communication with the owner in Resolute had fuel dropped to them by helicopter. They had passed over the very passage where the Erebus and Terror of the Franklin Expedition were reported lost in the late 1800s while seeking the northwest passage.

It was a big event when they arrived at Resolute. They were met with a warm reception and the entire settlement turning out to greet the new Monaro and its crew. They had also been given a warm welcoming reception at Hay River where the owner is well known to the community – no doubt much interest was shown in the Monaro at all the stops along the way.

Asked what a boat owner does with a fine cruising boat in a place like Resolute, builder Dan Parker says "Fishing, of course. Oh, and the owner’s wife spends a lot of time boating while he is busy. She takes the children and they cruise the local waters to within a radius of up to about 200 miles, taking into consideration the cruising range. It’s a short season, but the days are long." And the 27 gets lots of use. There are numerous anchorages along the coast with spectacular scenery, very different from that which we are accustomed to farther south.

The Monaro 27 (Arctic, is what we should call the model) is powered by a pair of Volvo AD31 four-cylinder turbo diesel engines that push the boat to 40 miles per hour, cruising at about 30. Now here’sboat something interesting to add: the engines are often left running days on end due to the cold weather and the potential for difficult starts. The boat is out in all conditions including snow and ice. It is well equipped with electronics including radar.

It’s a good hull, having pushed aside lots of ice during its few seasons. The owner runs at 25mph in one inch thick ice and has been known to slide over top of thick layers on the surface, breaking it with the bow at very slow speeds. Inspected by the builder, Parker says "The hull is still looking quite good despite this kind of use during those seasons."

Here’s how to haul a boat at Resolute: At first there was no trailer. So the owner home built a sled that he hauls behind a loader (tractor) and he launches and retrieves on the pebbly beach. There are no ramps. No pavement, at Resolute. Just large pebbles, and an enthusiastic boat owner.