Ella Hibbert’s circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle gets closer with expedition start date in sight
18 April 2024

A once unthinkable passage is becoming a reality for 27-year old sailor Ella Hibbert. In her Bruce Roberts 38 Yeva, she will attempt the first solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle. Estimating the expedition to take between five to six months, the route starts at a point west of Norway, sailing in a clockwise direction to Iceland, Greenland, the North West Passage, Alaska, Russia, and Northern Norway – before heading back to her home base at Gosport.

It was her concern about global warming and melting sea ice that inspired Ella to even consider this record-breaking attempt. With temperatures 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the Greenland ice sheet is said to be losing an average of 30 million tonnes of ice an hour. “This isn’t a record attempt,” says Ella, “it’s a wake-up call. Higher temperatures and loss of ice fields has an inestimable effect on coastlines, wildlife and communities.”  

Ella says that climate change has made this once unthinkable passage possible, and by undertaking her expedition, she hopes to raise awareness of the decline of ice. She is also aware that by undertaking her sailing voyage, she must not contribute either to any damage within the fragile Arctic ecosystem.

In order to help protect the environment, Hibbert has fitted out Yeva with a Wavestream System I.  This in-line bilge filter will ensure that no pollution is pumped overboard. Its unique filter cartridge captures trace oils and particles such as microfibres and microplastics as well as many other waste products which often end up in bilges.  

Ella says, “The system was easy to fit and considering how much refit and preparation work we have dong with Yeva, I’m really pleased to know that any tiny particles of oil, dirt, plastics and even microfibres that get washed down into the bilges will be picked up by the Wavestream filter and only absolutely clean and clear water will be pumped overboard.”  

During April and May, Ella will be undertaking test sails onboard Yeva before her planned departure in June.  The steel-hulled ketch has been fitted out with new foam insulation and at least two or three spares of everything, including replacement filters. Solar and wind power will top up batteries alongside the engine.  With stops planned roughly every fortnight, at which she will not disembark but will resupply with food and fuel, she will undertake the journey entirely alone.  

If all goes to plan, Ella will return to the Solent in October. “Once I’ve completed the challenge the aim is to auction Yeva and its equipment, with all proceeds donated to Polar Bears International and Ocean Conservancy environmental charities,” she says.

Paul Gullett, MD of Wave International says: “We’re delighted to be supporting Ella in her expedition.  Her enthusiasm and determination is outstanding, and we will be following her expedition every step of the way.  We’re delighted she is adopting every measure she can to prevent ocean pollution with Wavestream filter technology.”  

Wave International products are available worldwide through its international network of dealers.  For more details visit www.waveinternational.co.uk