AN ENVIRONMENTAL explorer has declared trials of his new sailing ship a success after a two-week expedition to the Arctic.

Jim and his wife Sam McNeil, of Global Warrior expeditions based in Princetown, are going back in time to the golden era of exploration when pioneers sailed through icy seas and hauled sledges across icy floes to tread where man had not been before.

Sam and Jim McNeill on Ocean Warrior
Sam and Jim McNeill of Global Warrior on board the Ocean Warrior expedition SV Linden. (Ocean Warrior )

Early next year however, in contrast to 100 years ago, an advanced form of the old wooden ships, called SV Linden, will chart the colder ocean waters for signs of climate change through sophisticated equipment and a team of research scientists working in an on-board laboratory and citizen scientists.

The point of the Ocean Warrior expedition will be to give real time, immediate, measurements of ice melt, of seawater temperature, depth, salinity and other parameters to scientific bodies - adding to the overal picture of global warming. The data will be passed on to NASA, for instance. The choice of a sailing ship is aimed at reducing the impact on the environment by diesel pollution.

This on-the-ground detail adds to that of longer term academic papers produced on man-made and other large-scale changes to the world which is affecting us all.

Ocean Warrior vessel SV Linden in the background as scientists test equipment in fjord
Ocean Warrior vessel SV Linden in the background as scientists test equipment in fjord (Global Warrior)

Jim said: “This was a foundation expedition to effectively trial the ship, its crew and for the research scientists to test some of their instruments and ensure the people and the equipment all worked practically and most productively. I’m pleased to say it was a big success and was a great experience, we saw amazing scenery and wildlife, including walrus, dolphins, seals, arctic foxes, reindeer and many seabirds.”

Jim has already led land expeditions to polar regions with ordinary people to do extraordinary things like survive in extreme conditions and he and Sam train these volunteers on Dartmoor. The pair gave lessons in climate change and related issues on board the ship. which sailed from ice-covered Svalbard in Norway.

Jim added: “It was also a time for me, as the overall leader to get to know people and get used to working as a member of the crew in terms of learning to carry out orders from the captain. Me and Sam both learned the ropes, literally, in how a three-masted schooner worked at sea. So, we pulled up sails and tied knots and climbed rigging.” The project will support work by partners, such as Plymouth University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Local companies who want to be associated with the work can contact or 01822 890338.