“In 2009 Theobald, sailor, writer, and documentarian, completed the treacherous Northwest Passage on his trawler, Bagan. From the beginning, the trip was deeply personal and Theobald writes movingly of bringing together his adult stepchildren and son to join him and a few others as they sail from Newport, Rhode Island, to Seattle. The 8,500-mile trip takes them past icebergs, polar bears, and whales and into history as they revisit the last known locations of the doomed Franklin Expedition of 1845. There are the requisite number of mishaps and harrowing storm-filled moments, but Theobald focuses much of his narrative on the crew’s struggle to coalesce in tight quarters. Revealing just how tenuous relationships can be in such situations, he inadvertently reveals far more about the tenseness of similar nineteenth-century voyages than he likely intended. Some restraint on these tedious aspects of the trip would have been appreciated, however, as the bickering often overshadows far more exciting moments in what is undeniably a thrilling voyage.”
“When filmmaker Sprague Theobald set forth to transit the legendary Northwest Passage for a documentary on the changing Arctic, the stakes–and risks–were raised exponentially, for the crewmembers aboard his 57-foot yacht included his children, with whom he shared a difficult, if loving past. By turns wracked with self-doubt and stunned by the epic beauty of his surroundings, on multiple levels Theobald’s journey was a venture into the unknown. What ultimately transpired lifts The Other Side of the Ice well beyond your standard adventure narrative, though it is certainly a gripping one. For the course Theobald charted led him not only to the ice, but straight to the human heart.”
—Herb McCormick, Senior Editor Cruising World Magazine
“Here Theobald chronicles his 8,500-mile journey from Newport, RI, through the Passage to Seattle on his 57-foot Nordhavn trawler, with a crew of five (including his son, stepson and stepdaughter), as he pushes his finances, his crew, his boat and his emotions to, and beyond, the limits. At one point, trapped in ice that threatens to crush the hull, Theobald asks himself, “Have I brought my family together only to lead them to their deaths?” Ultimately, Theobald and crew triumph over the ice, the isolation, Arctic storms, polar bears, and stress-induced personality conflicts. When they finally step off the boat in Seattle and this first-person, page-turning adventure story comes to an end, you want to raise a cheer for their survival-at-sea, and as a family.
—Peter A. Janssen, former editorial director of Motor Boating and Yachting magazines.