What would be your ultimate sailing dream? Sarah Norbury has inspiration for sailing bucket list adventures
More and more sailors are seeking high latitude adventures. Some are keen skiers looking for new off-piste challenges, others are drawn to the incredible scenery and wildlife of the polar regions.
The best-known are Skip Novak’s Pelagic Australis trips to the Antarctic. Next winter you could set off on a month-long expedition on a yacht specially adapted for icy waters, departing from the southern tip of Chile, passing Cape Horn and crossing the Drake Passage to the Antarctic peninsula. The yacht is a mobile base camp from which you can explore the mountainous Antarctic coast, skiing, sea-kayaking and wildlife-watching and ice-climbing, snowshoeing and mountaineering.
For a trip to such a remote and hostile environment, it’s vital to have confidence in the team leaders. Skip Novak and his crew come highly recommended. As well as adventurers they take teams of scientists to the polar region. Dr Paul Mayewski, Professor of Climate Change at the University of Maine, has travelled with Pelagic three times. He says: “Skip and crew are the real deal! They are not just highly experienced at sea, but also on land and ice. They seamlessly provide a highly enjoyable and safety conscious expedition that instills confidence in all on board.”
Very few people get to sail round Cape Horn and opportunities to become a Cape Horner are rare, but one exciting option lets you tick off the Cape of Good Hope as well, sailing aboard the tall ship Europa.
The Cape to Cape voyage offered by Another World Adventures starts in Ushuaia, Argentina and ends 52 days later in Cape Town calling at various points in Antarctica. There is the chance to spot icebergs as well as penguins, rare seabirds, elephant seals and minke and humpback whales, and visit the most remote inhabited island in the world, Tristan de Cunha.
For many combining skiing and sailing makes for a dream holiday. Do it in style by chartering Firebird, a luxurious Oyster 885 RS, on an off-piste adventure in Norway’s Lyngen Alps. As well as spectacular skiing and the chance of seeing the Northern Lights, you can go whale-watching and dog-sledding.
Next spring she’ll also be cruising Svalbard, the final frontier before the north pole where there are more polar bears than people. With a professional captain, cook/yoga instructor, first mate/ski guide and stewardess, up to six guests can relax after hiking and skiing with food and drink to rival the best Alpine chalets. All yours for €42,500 per week.
If that’s a little over budget, Kraken offers individual berths on winter trips to the Lofoten islands in north Norway from €1,750 for a week, with superb off-piste skiing led by an experienced guide.
Will Ellison, 30, from London is a dinghy and offshore sailor and keen skier. In April he travelled to Norway’s Lofoten Islands with Kraken Travel.
“I love sailing and I love skiing, so why not do both together? Throw in the fact that the Lofoten Islands are north of the Arctic Circle in one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth, and I couldn’t say no.
“Living on a boat doesn’t seem the practical way to go skiing. Two sets of kit to deal with, storing skis and boots, nine people on board so very little room (and you can’t just ‘pop’ out on deck for more space when it’s a sub-zero blizzard). So there are lots of challenges.
“The reward is an epic adventure and the advantages of being on a boat outweigh any minor inconvenience. I’ll never forget sailing into Trollfjord – absolutely stunning and completely cut off from civilisation.
“This is not a normal skiing holiday. You use touring skis with special lifting bindings. You spend the majority of your time climbing, which is tough but manageable. You then get perfect off-piste downhill skiing back to the boat. The reward for climbing from the shore to the peak is like nothing else I’ve experienced.”