– It was supposed to happen in 2010, it went wrong. Then in 2018 there was no way, one day I woke up and said: I’m going to make the Northwest Passage.
Beto Pandiani, aka Betão, 64, has been sailing for 40 years.
Sailor will sail the Arctic Ocean to warn of the melting ice
– For me, sailing is many things: it is playing chess with the wind, going far with little and training the senses to perceive changes before they happen. It’s more or less like taking a vacation from the world, in a way it’s the feeling of an astronaut – says Betão.
And, at 64, this sea “astronaut” will embark on the greatest adventure of his life. He will cross the Arctic on this small catamaran, which is assembled in the United States.
– Our idea is to leave Alaska, through the Bering Strait, turn around, pass next to Canada, through islands, channels that have a lot of ice and find the passage through the strait until we reach the open sea. One hundred days of travel, about 5 thousand km.
The Northwest Passage is a path in northern Canada between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In winter, it is one of the frozenest places on the planet. But in the summer, due to global warming, it became more and more navigable.
Beto Pandini during one of his travels around the world – Photo: Disclosure
Concrete will be joined by the French Igor Belly, who lives in Argentina. On this adventure they will face a cold of about two degrees, the discomfort of a small boat and the risk of running into polar bears.
– A boat without an engine, an open boat, if it snows it will snow, if it rains it will rain, if it is cold it will be cold. It has an advantage because we will have light for 60 days, this is very positive because in a place where there are ice and polar bears, it is good to have a vision of what is approaching you – says Betão.
The presence of these gigantic – and almost always hungry – inhabitants, who hunt right in the summer, is a real danger. And, therefore, unlike their previous expeditions, Concrete and Igor will have this rigid protection on the boat, called Igloo, where they will sleep.
– The polar bear is definitely a threat. This time we go to sleep in turns, we have to watch, watch out because of the bear … It’s really a theft.
The mission of the Polar Route project is environmental. The idea is to make a documentary on the planet’s climate change.
– It can be a very inspiring movie for people to start thinking about their habits. Responsible consumption of water, how much you buy, how you eat, how you dispose of garbage, all of this is linked to the climate. Before Covid we thought that an event that happened on the other side of the world would remain there, now we realize that a Chinese sneeze, we get sick. So the Arctic, if he sneezes, we will stay too-explains Betão.
– Showing a passage that hitherto did not exist for navigation is clear evidence of global warming. This passage to circumnavigate the Arctic did not happen – says Lars Grael, sailor with two Olympic bronze medals.
Beto Pandiani during an interview with Iate Clube Santo Amaro, in SP – Photo: Marcel Merguizo
British scientist Peter Wadhams, an expert on Arctic polar ice, has a caveat.
– What is happening right now is very dramatic and inexplicable. We hit 30 degrees in early spring in part of the Arctic and also in the south of the planet. The biggest danger in the Arctic right now is the accelerated way that melting is happening, much faster than in the past. Only a quarter of the ice remains in the winter compared to 30 years ago. And this is accelerating – reveals Peter Wadhams.
Some items will be essential on this crossing. The boat is technological, but almost devoid of comfort.
– No bathrooms, no kitchen, no bedroom, nothing. Nature is where operation number 2 takes place. The cooking is very simple, a climber’s stove and we heat the water and pour it into a package of very light, dehydrated food, which can be kept for 8 years. More chestnuts, almonds, walnuts and regular dehydrated foods. Soups, hot stuff, we need to eat 6,000 calories a day, which is a lot – says Betão.
To drink manually desalinated sea water with your own equipment.
– You must have great physical, emotional and even spiritual stamina – completes Lars Grael.
Concrete has been training this resistance since 1994, when he made his first expedition, between Miami, in the United States, and Ilhabela, on the coast of Sao Paulo. In almost 30 years he has traveled more than 60 thousand kilometers, in seven expeditions around the planet.
Beto Pandiani on one of his travels around the world – Photo: Disclosure
Before exploring the world by catamaran, however, Beto Pandiani was a successful businessman in the São Paulo nightlife. And one of the partners of one of the most iconic concert halls in Brazil: Aeroanta, an extraordinary stage in the career of important names in Brazilian music.
– Place for a thousand people, bands, garage, stage, good food and flirtation. It has been a bang, and it has not been a 1 year bang, it has been 6 years, all the bands from the 80s and 90s have gone through Aeroanta.
– I remember playing there at the beginning of Titãs, at the beginning of her solo career, and I attended memorable concerts, the first time I saw the Marisa Monte concert and she suddenly invited me to sing. It was also the first time we sang together live, it was a surprise, we didn’t agree on anything. I remember that Aeroanta promoted “jam sessions” with musicians from the Paulista scene – recalls the singer, musician and composer Arnaldo Antunes.
– There was the first concert of Marisa Monte, there was the first concert of Ed Motta, there was the first concert of Skank. Caetano and Gil performed there, Jorge Ben himself, Lulu …
– We felt within the history of rock, Aeroanta is one of the most important houses I’ve ever had for Rock’n’roll – says singer, musician and composer Kiko Zambianchi.
Daniela Mercury, Cassia Eller … Cazuza’s last show in Sao Paulo was there, on the occasion of the launch of “Ideologia”. In 1994, the band Raimundos broke into the national scene after releasing their first album in the concert hall.
The show was sold out, it was wonderful. He has empowered the Raimundos, he even showed the Raimundos face. The temple of rock in São Paulo was definitely Aeroanta – says Digão, guitarist and singer of the band.
– And I remember a lot the figure of Beão there, very kind, affable, always, who receives guests – completes Arnaldo Antunes.
– Besides being a guy who participated in the history of rock in São Paulo, he is also an adventurer. He teaches us life lessons, he is very handsome – adds Kiko Zambianchi.
The new Concrete adventure will start in a few days.
The launch of the polar route project took place in an unusual setting: for the first time a catamaran sailed on the Pinheiros River, in the heart of São Paulo. But it is 250 km away, in the heavenly Ilhabela, that Concrete sets sail and takes off.
The expedition boat will be 8 meters in total and, in order not to depend only on the wind, it has a pedal system. Because this too will be a journey against time.
– We cannot finish the journey after September 15, there is no way, because the weather changes completely, the ice closes, it begins to have periods of low light – says Betão.
So it will be Concrete and Igor’s first time on a pedal boat. It is that at this moment there is hardly any wind there.
– A paired pedal system on the top of the boat that converts into a pedal boat. He is able to walk at about 6 km / h, in a whole day you can walk 70, 80 km, and it is a good result.
For this, the physical preparation includes a lot of gym and several hours a week on the bike. Having everything so well planned, Concrete makes something extraordinary seem not that difficult. For this wind passenger, no distance is too far.
– We can go much further than we imagine with much less than we think. He has become a mantra. The travel slogan is this: travel light, travel far.
– I am sure this will be another very successful trip, and very important because it will draw the attention of all of us to what is happening to our planet, global warming, melting ice, climate change we are experiencing. So, congratulations on this project, I’ll be here cheering, following – says Robert Scheidt, two-time Olympic sailor champion.
As Kiko Zambianchi sings, “my path is every morning, don’t try to know where I am, my destiny belongs to nobody, I don’t leave my steps on the ground …”
Beto Pandiani before training in Ilhabela, SP – Photo: Marcel Merguizo