Not getting caught in the pack-ice!
Thanks for your comments which are very helpful. I''ve had a reply from a guy on another BB who met some Russians in Cape Town in 1996. He believes that they successfully did the trip the other way, as it were, sailing up from Australia and into the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait and then west along the Siberian Coast. They apparently made it all the way into the Baltic and back to St Petersburg in one season! I don''t especially fancy over-wintering on the Siberian coast, but an Alaskan port might be more tolerable. Just for info, the rest of the intended route is down the whole of the western seaboard of the Americas and round the Horn the ''usual''(!) way and then back to the UK. Thanks again for your interest.