Given that I called her ex-husband a "moron-turned-yachtsman", her tone was quite cordial. I'd have forgiven her a few expletives, quite frankly. I guess she probably spent the better part of a day cutting and pasting the explanation to mail out to various bloggers who have ridiculed her husband, thanks to this (apparently) originally incorrect source. But it was personalized, so I know she read my original post (and, really, hits are hits).
Turns out, according to Ms. Flanagan (and the official expedition website here, with expedition news also here) that the voyage has nothing to do with global warming at all:
My ex-husband Adrian Flanagan sailed from Britain in October 2005 in a titanium steel sloop Barrabas at the start of an epic attempt to make the first vertical circumnavigation by sea in history, by any sailor, or crew, in any kind of boat.
But he ran into some technical trouble. What follows is her explanation; I'm not in any way qualified to comment on it. I'm the son of a sailor, yet a landlubber myself:
Failure of the prop shaft cutless bearing approaching the Aleutians - can only be replaced by taking the boat out of the water, or using a diver - required him to divert to Nome, Alaska for the failed bearing to be replaced. That, together with early reforming of ice in the Arctic, meant the boat had to be stored ashore in Nome for the Winter of 2006/7.
So now he's actually ahead of schedule, she says, and waiting for the ice to clear up so he can go on:
He arrived at his planned holding point half way along the NSR three weeks ahead of schedule. He has been holding, waiting for a promised brief window of opportunity to pass through the PVK Strait. He, the Russians, and everyone else with any knowledge knew this section of the route would be extremely difficult. MDA/KSAT are providing daily high definition satellite images and the Russian Arctic Research Institute AARI is providing expert interpretation, with the Russian Western Arctic Marine Operations HQ in Murmansk providing NSR support.
She says an accurate synopsis can be seen here.
One question: why is the boat named Barrabas? Was it due to be sunk, only to have another boat sunk in its place and it freed to make a vertical circumnavigation of the globe?
Anyways, I apologize for calling Adrian Flanagan names. That's the problem with blogging: you can mock somebody at the speed of light, but when you're wrong, all you've done is accelerate the speed at which you make yourself an ass.
Best of luck to Adrian, and I hope he succeeds in his goal of vertical circumnavigation.