Northwest Passage


For immediate release.



Dave and Marie Ungless are preparing their sailing yacht for the Arctic’s infamous Northwest Passage

March 2014: The ambition of husband and wife crew Dave and Marie Ungless is to one day complete their sailing circumnavigation of the world west to east against the traditional winds and currents. Their adventure so far has included wild and remote locations such as Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Borneo, Indonesia, the North and South Pacific and New Zealand. Now it’s time to prepare for their ultimate challenge and head north to Alaska and then through the Northwest Passage back to the UK.

Experienced sea going sailors with over sixty thousand nautical miles, Dave and Marie have spent the last two years preparing their sailing boat “Sänna” for full circumnavigation eastwards; an unusual and difficult task for a sailing boat against the prevailing winds and currents.

Sänna is a German designed sailing yacht. Produced by the well renowned Bavaria production yard, Sänna is a limited edition yacht built to the original owner’s specification in 1999. She is not a standard production boat and has been constructed to the European Class A and CAT1 blue water ocean cruising application. She was purchased by Dave Ungless in March 2003.  Since, Sänna has undergone a refit and various modifications, which include the installation of solar panels, wind generation and a watermaker to provide ‘green’ self sufficiency during her voyage. Electronics and rigging were also extensively modified.

The couple intend to return from the North Pacific to the UK by negotiating the normally ice filled route. The Passage has been ice free for some years but it is not yet consistent enough to be reliable.

Dave Ungless said, “We are currently docked in Hawaii and plan to depart this coming May or June when the North Pacific winter has subsided. We’ll then head north for either the Aleutian Islands or British Columbia in Canada before moving up to Alaska.”

Dave continued, “It’s a challenging opportunity for small sailing yachts like Sänna. This is only possible due to the receding ice pack caused by global warming. Sänna’s aim is to provide pilotage information specifically for sailing vessels.”


For further information and to follow this journey, please contact:

Dave Ungless: or

Karen Randall, Sixothree Marketing:


The Northwest Passage:  The Northwest Passage is the sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America amidst the Canadian Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The various islands of the archipelago are separated from one another and the Canadian mainland by a series of Arctic waterways collectively known as the Northwest Passage.

Sänna Specification:  Length: 15 metres (49.9ft). Beam: 4.35 metres (14.3ft). Draft: 2.3 metres (7.5ft). Gross registered tonnage: (GRT) 19 tonnes. Hull construction: GRP sandwich. Hull configuration: fin keel with spade rudder. Propulsion: Volvo Penta 112HP TAMD22P Engine. Mast and Rigging: In mast furling main, cutter rigged with furling gib and furling stay sail. Sail storage: Storm sail, try-sail, genoa head sail, spinnaker sail. Spare main sail. Electronics: Raymarine radar, instruments, navigation and autopilot. Digital Yachts Class B (receive & transmit) AIS. Communications: VHF, Icom SSB, Iridium Satellite phone. Emergency: EPIRB, SART, Dan-buoy and flares.

About the Crew

Skipper Dave Ungless:  With over forty thousand miles of ocean sailing, including cold weather voyaging in the northern Baltic and Gulf of Finland, Dave is a qualified Yachtmaster and holds numerous other RYA sailing and navigation qualifications.

His previous extensive experience under sail involves crewing on the round the world Challenger Yachts and owners’ yachts on the north west coast of Scotland and south coast of England. Having been skipper and owner of the sailing vessel Sänna since 2003, Dave spent a number of years in Croatia and Turkey refitting the boat for extended ocean cruising before embarking on the circumnavigating cruise now underway.

Dave’s non sailing experience includes mountaineering and skiing in Scandinavia, Scotland, northern Russia, the Alps and Iceland. In between Dave has owned and sold two successful UK and Finland based business.

First Mate and skipper’s wife Marie Ungless:  Marie’s sailing experience extends to nearly thirty thousand sea miles over a number of the of the world’s oceans. She is RYA qualified to Skipper level and, like Dave, holds numerous other RYA sailing and navigation qualifications. Marie describes herself as being highly practical, skilled in first aid and cool under pressure during challenging conditions.

Joining Dave onboard Sänna in 2005 whilst in the Mediterranean, Marie’s previous water experience includes dinghy sailing, canoeing and advance level scuba diving. She played a large part in the refitting of Sänna in Turkey and Thailand and considers her culinary skills in feeding a hungry crew under any prevailing sea conditions her prime excellence. Marie takes on the key responsibility of teacher when her son Henry spends extended time onboard.

Marie is a skilled skier and climber having travelled extensively in the Alps, Iceland and SE Asia. Her experience as an outward bound Guide leader leading Scouts and Guides in endurance environments serves her well in addition to her jungle survival training in Borneo.

For more information, please visit


  1. Shirley Cole

    Good luck to you both in your next adventure, I shall follow your journey with baited breath and heart felt trepidation . Good sailing


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