It's smooth sailing in the Arctic nowadays. Even in recent years, the ice was apt to claim adventurers who dared navigate the Northwest Passage. This year the passage has no ice. And with global warming claiming some 38,000 square miles of ice a year, the Journal reports, the Arctic could be open to commercial and recreational sailing by 2020.
Until this summer, the few ships that made it through the Arctic passage were ice cutters or commercial ships with tough hulls, but now yachts are making the cut, too. "I feel like a bit of a fraud, really," said one adventurer, who made the trip in his leisure boat. "It's all been quite comfortable,"