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Item #: PL3583-338
UNDER SAIL IN THE FROZEN NORTH Worsley, F.A. 1927 1st UK ed Hardcover Very Good
By Worsley, Commander F.A.
Price: $75.00

List Price: $250.00
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London, Stanley Paul & Co., 1927, 1st UK edition. 295 pp, 32 b/w photos, large foldout map in back. Navy cloth hardcover with gilt titles and cover design. Cover has some spots and wear and front hinge is cracked at title page. Very Good condition overall

Preface by Grettir Algarsson. Originally the plan was to fly to the North Pole and sledge and ski back. That fell through. The Algarsson North Polar Expedition, went ahead with certain mapping and scientific objectives, among them a search for Gillis Land, northeast of Spitzbergen, which had not been sighted since 1707, as well as sounding the continental shelf between Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land.

Along the northern coast of Spitzbergen, a previously uncharted harbour was found, which Algarsson named after Worsley. The ship then sailed north, still seeking Gillis Land, but became trapped in the ice. Worsley took the opportunity to create an ice dock to facilitate repairs to the rudder, which had become damaged. After two weeks beset in the ice, he used the engine to break free but the last blade of the propeller was lost in the process. was now effectively without an engine, a prospect that did not daunt Worsley as he sailed for Franz Josef Land. 

He described it as "sail's last unaided battle with the polar pack [pack ice]". In August he landed on Cape Bartens, one of the southern islands of Franz Josef Land, and planted a Union Jack. Together with the ship's engineer who was from Dunedin, he claimed to be the first New Zealander to set foot on Franz Josef Land.The expedition, which had been renamed the British Arctic Expedition with the consensus of the participants, made several attempts to find a way northwards through the pack ice, Worsley harbouring hopes of being the first sailing ship to sail through the island group to Gillis Land and then back to Spitzbergen, but was unsuccessful. 

In one attempt, the Island nearly collided with a large iceberg, but Worsley ordered a rowboat to take to the water and the ship was towed out of harm's way.

Finally, on 14 September, what was thought to be Gillis Land was spotted several miles away. The Island was unable to sail close enough to confirm the sighting, but Worsley noted that it was to the west of its charted position. If it was Gillis Land, it was the first sighting of the island for 200 years (Gillis Land no longer appears on modern charts).

The ship then sailed to North East Land (Spitsbergen) circumnavigating it and while doing so reaching the expedition's farthest north, 81°15′N. Worsley ensured the New Zealand flag was flown at the spot. The expedition then set sail for Spitzbergen, reaching the island's Green Harbour in mid-October. The ship's engine could not be repaired before Green Harbour was closed for winter and Worsley accepted a tow to Tromsø, the conclusion of which marked the end of the expedition. He later wrote a book of the voyage, Under Sail in the Frozen North, which was also published in 1927.



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