Papay Adventurers journey to the Arctic Circle with the support of Volvo Penta

In July a trio from Papa Westray in Scotland’s Orkney Islands journeyed to the Arctic Circle in a Volvo Penta-equipped rigid-hulled inflatable boat to benefit Woolverstone Wish.
Thrill-seekers Daniel Wakeham, Amanda Hourston and Daniel Elves recently returned to Scotland from a truly life-changing challenge. The British trio and their 7.5-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB) containing a Volvo Penta engine and sterndrive left Papa Westray – known locally as Papay – in Orkney on July 9 and set off for Norway and the Arctic Circle. The trip, organized to help raise money for Woolverstone Wish, took 29 days to complete, and saw the team journey over 2,100 miles.

Woolverstone Wish is a charitable organization that is currently raising funds to help refurbish the chemotherapy outpatient clinics in the Woolverstone Wing of Ipswich Hospital. In December 2013, Daniel Elves was diagnosed with testicular cancer; after receiving life-saving treatment and care at the Woolverstone Wing, he and his friends decided to raise money for the organization by embarking on their Papay Arctic Adventure.

So far, Wakeham, Hourston and Elves have raised over £3,000 via their JustGiving page, a considerable sum given that the trip was not initially undertaken for charity. “The support from our family and friends has been overwhelming,” Amanda notes. “Completing this adventure without them would have been extremely challenging. And raising so much money for a cause that is close to all of us just added to our experience.”

Volvo Penta’s Scottish dealer network
“We’d always dreamt of completing this journey,” Amanda continues. “When we finally purchased Quickstep, a commercial 7.5-meter Carson RIB, in September 2013, we realized we could turn our fantasy into a reality.”

When Wakeham, Hourston and Elves finally had a vessel capable of taking them on their journey from Orkney to the Arctic Circle, a major repowering operation was still needed to make Quickstep seaworthy.

The boat already contained a 2004 Volvo Penta 265 hp 5.7 GL-E and a 1989 Volvo Penta duoprop sterndrive. However Volvo Penta and its Scottish dealers – Mitchells Powersystems and Craigie Engineering – offered additional support by providing the team with a wiring loom, starter motor, sterndrive seals and other ignition parts.

“Many of Volvo Penta’s end users in Scotland come from remote or isolated locations, such as the Papay Adventurers who come from Orkney,” says Ruben Ramos, Volvo Penta dealer business manager. “By increasing our presence in the region, we are ensuring that customers receive the best possible care as quickly as possible, regardless of where they live or work.”

As their network of authorized dealers and centers continues to grow in the Scottish region, Volvo Penta’s trained ambassadors can help supply cover to all commercial, leisure and industrial segments. Michells Powersystems and Craigie Engineering join existing dealers Caley Marina, Fettes & Rankine, DDZ Marine, and HNP Engineering, helping to expand the region’s network and ensuring that Scottish customers receive 24/7 support and care.

Just 20 miles outland from the Norwegian coastal town of Harøysund, the Papay trio experienced a major problem with Quickstep – after five stationary hours trying to restart their RIB, and with weather conditions rapidly deteriorating, Wakeham, Hoursten and Elves decided to call for a tow to shore.”

“Michells Powersystems was a huge support while we were on our adventure; they were always available to offer help and guidance at any time of day,” says Amanda. “When we had a problem with the boat, Mitchells Powersystems was a lifesaver. They were able to source parts quickly and provided technical advice over the phone and via email. Without them we would have run into trouble several times.”

Life-changing challenges
Breathtaking views of Norway’s fjords and mountains, traveling alongside a dolphin pod of 60 and seeing twinkling lights on the Norwegian horizon after a long journey without visible human life made the expedition’s difficulties worthwhile.

“Arriving at the Arctic Circle was charged with emotion,” Amanda explains. “The goal that we had worked towards for so many months had been fulfilled. The journey meant something different to all of us, especially Daniel who battled and overcame a life-threatening illness to be there with us. For so many reasons it was truly overwhelming.”

“There are a few moments I could list as being life-changing – being diagnosed with cancer and receiving chemotherapy are definitely up there,” Daniel Elves explains. “But being part of a team that journeyed from Papay to beyond the Arctic Circle on a small RIB was an amazing adventure and a real tonic for my soul.”

Traveling over 2,100 miles on a RIB has its obvious challenges — not least being subjected to the vast, unpredictable and, at times, dangerous North Sea. Living and sleeping on a 7.5-meter RIB for one month also presented the team with some difficulties. Without a support craft on hand, the adventurers had to ensure that fuel, food, gear, supplies and emergency equipment were contained on board the Quickstep.

“We always knew that the limited space Quickstep offered would be a major challenge,” Amanda notes. “At the time it was extremely difficult to sleep, eat, work and rest in such a compact area. Without a support craft we were completely independent – we took full responsibility for our route and our safety. Looking back, being utterly self-reliant made us feel like true intrepid adventurers.”

“It’s an incredible achievement and something Volvo Penta is extremely proud to have helped facilitate,” Ruben adds. “I am delighted that our effective dealer network in Scotland provided the team with the necessary support and guidance they needed to ensure their dream became a reality, and that their passage from Orkney to Norway was a safe one.”

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