On sailing a Folksong – Mike Burns and ‘Fram’


Mike has kindly written the following about Fram:


“I thought I might just add to this email the raison d’etre for my boat being called Fram

so Episode 1

Back in around 1965 at the age of approx 23 I signed on as a marine geophysicist with the British Antarctic Survey. I had some Scottish rock & snow climbing experience but only a couple of races sailed as crew on an Enterprise at Kippford in Scotland. I had however as a Grammar School pupil in Sunderland attended the local Cathedral at some memoration ceremony to RF Scott

Three years under canvas as a dog driving scientist down south was certainly “justifiable training for the youth of GB” as once stated by Fuchs the then Director of BAS.

I completed my polar exploration stint & returned to UK, Birmingham University, to work on & eventually publish my scientific findings.

No chance of a PhD but I did get a Polar Medal and eventually a mountain named after me. (This turned out to be more of a ridge than a mountain) very aptly named “Burns Bluff”

The thought of what to do next was challenging, so I married, we canoed in two slalom canoes around north cape in northern Norway on our honeymoon and then thought that the next best thing to dog sledging would be sailing a boat travelling at around 4/5 mph with every day changing plans as to the destination according to weather etc.

Having read much of Antarctic history I grew to favour the Norwegian approach as opposed to that of Scott, It did not take long to find that Nansen had a much more erudite approach to travel and hence the Norwegian word forward or “Fram” was obvious. Nansen’s nautical travails were also far more challenging than those of Scott

In addition as a tight fisted half Scotsman four letters certainly fitted the frugality constraints which resulted in “FRAM”

perhaps Episode 2 might follow in a day or a week or perhaps a month or so as to how I found the boat in Doncaster !”


I look forward to Episode 2 Mike. By the way, what were you studying?

And is Fram still for sale?


Boat names can be tricky. I called briefly into Plymouth Yacht Haven the other day, and, as I passed a very large yacht,  a young woman looked down and asked if I had a green and a red mistress too. There were several answers to that – all of which came too late!