Explorer Hempleman-Adams to circumnavigate North Pole

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Media captionThe boat circumnavigating the North Pole

The British explorer David Hempleman-Adams has set off on an expedition to circumnavigate the North Pole in a single season.

A seven-person crew on the Aluminium-hulled yacht Northabout left Bristol harbour just after 16:00 BST.

If successful they will become the first British team to complete the challenge, which only recently became possible due to retreating sea ice.

The yacht is due to finish the journey in October.

'Massive problems'

Mr Hempleman-Adams, from Wiltshire, has already reached the poles a record 20 times, and was the first person to conquer both the North and South Poles and the highest peaks on all seven continents.

He said his latest polar expedition would highlight changes in the Arctic due to climate change.

"I've seen massive changes since 1982 when I first went there. There's a lot less pack ice," he said.

"If we get around, it will show we've got massive problems because normally it would take three years to get around the north east and the north west.

"To do it in one season indicates what state our planet is in."

'Make my day'

The 14,000 mile long (22,500km) route will take the vessel through the Northeast and Northwest passages and along the west coast of Greenland.

The youngest crew member, 14-year-old Ben Edwards from Cambridge, said if successful he will become the youngest person to have sailed around the North Pole "by about 20 years".

He added he was most looking forward to seeing a polar bear.

"That will definitely make my day," he said.

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