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But how about sailing to Norway and back in May?
Starting in the Norwegian Fjords this is a fantastic opportunity to explore the Shetland Isles and Faroes while sailing to Iceland in the Viking Race, on a luxury 55ft Ketch.
Sail through and to some extremely dramatic landscapes. This is a hands on sailing trip on a comfy yacht. Hands on in the sense that you will be involved in all aspects of sailing the boat from Norway to Iceland. Comfy in the sense that you will have your own double cabin, there are some hydraulic and electric winches and a steering position both on deck in the cockpit and inside in the wheel house.
Whilst the trip is technically a Race, we will not be saving on weight by insisting you bring minimal gear and there will be no need to sit out on the windward rail. Unless of course you want to!
You will likely see a huge amount of wildlife. At this time of year we would hope to see Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, White Beaked Dolphins, Puffins, Razor Bills, Arctic Terns, Golden Plovers, Common Snipes and many many other marine birds.
The dates of the trip are 25th June to 15th July.
Join the yacht in Bergen in Norway on Monday 25th June and depart in Reykjavik in Iceland on 15th July, 21 days later.
Joining the Yacht in Norway’s picturesque and culturally rich port of Bergen you will spend a couple of days familiarising yourself with the yacht before starting the first leg of the adventure –
Leg 1 - a race from Bergen to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. Starts on 27th June. This is approximately 200nm and will take a day and a half or so. Expect a warm welcome in Lerwick and a chance to look around before leg 2 starts.
Leg 2 - a race from Lerwick to Torshavn in the Danish archipelago that is the Faroe Islands. Starts on 1st July. This is approximately 225nm and will take again a day and a half or so. Another warm welcome and some time to explore before leg 3 starts.
Leg 3 – a race from Torshavn to Reykjavik in Iceland. Starts on 6th July. This is approximately 50onm and will take three to four days leaving plenty of time to have a good knees up upon arrival and then explore for a few days.
The boat is a brand new steel Bruce Roberts 55. She is very comfy. She has a high latitude specified ketch rig with hydraulic headsails and an electric mainsheet winch. She has been built with exactly these sort of waters in mind and to provide an exclusive and luxurious experience.
She has heating, hot water, a water maker and an internal and external steering position.
Displacing 37 tonnes she is a solid boat. She is ‘coded’ to category zero meaning her structure, the safety equipment on board and the experience and qualifications of the skipper and mate meet the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency international standards to sail anywhere in the world.
There are two helming positions, one in the cockpit and one in the coach house. She has a fully batterned main and mizzen.
The yacht is laid out with 3 luxury double cabins, 2 single bunks (often left empty) and 3 heads/showers.
There will be a skipper and a mate on board.
Two ensuite double cabins are available.
After acclimatising in Norway's Bergen your first destination is Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. It is the Shetland's only town and Britain’s most northerly.
Lerwick is the Capital of the Shetlands. The town was founded in the 17th century as a market place for the Dutch Herring Fleet. She has a chequered past that includes being demolished twice in its early years for it’s illegal status and alleged immorality.
Now a days you can expect a warm welcome. The old waterfront, a natural harbour, is packed with visiting boats, historic vessels and working fishing boats. The islands are known for their knitwear, made from Shetland wool, which is naturally soft and warm. There is also a brewery, which is nestled into the heathery hillside.
If you want to take in the scenery and search for wildlife ashore, there are many trips, tours or trails available. You should see plenty of wildlife from the boat!
The Faroe Islands have three things in plenty: vast areas of unspoilt mountainous terrain perfect for hiking; vertical sea cliffs teeming with birdlife ideal for ornithologists; and picturesque villages of wooden houses topped with turf roofs waiting to be discovered.
The Faroes rise dramatically out of the ocean with near vertical cliffs. The climate is very changeable and a beautiful clear sky, could become fog in a matter of seconds. It is a self-governing archipelago that make up part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It comprises of 18 rocky volcanic islands. It is frequented by a great number of seabirds. National Geographic rated the Faroe Islands as the top destination in the world, ahead of the Azores, Lofoten and exotic islands such as Bermuda and Hawaii.
Torshavn is the capital of the Faroe Islands and is right on the water. You will see hundreds of boats moored, and the large container ships, which come bearing all the supplies for the islands. The old town is just inland from the harbour and here you will find endless narrow lanes, lined with turf-roofed houses. There is are a collection of locally-owned stores and a tourist office on Niels Finsens gota, which is the ‘high street’. There are some pew-ends in the Historical Museum from the 1400s, which are beautiful medieval works of art and are greatly treasured.
Reykjavik is a vibrant city full or art, music, history and culture.
You can expect a fantastic welcome and there should be time to explore some of Iceland’s well known attractions.
Wildlife in the waters you will sail through abounds in what are rich feeding grounds particularly around Iceland. You will more than likely spot dolphins and whales and plenty of ocean seabirds.
In the city, the imposing expressionist Hallgrimskirkja church can almost always be seen and from the viewing platform at the top, 75m from the ground, you will get an amazing view of the city. Near to the church is the ‘Neighbourhood of the Gods’ where all the residential streets are named after those from Nordic religion such as Odin, Thor, Loki and Freya. Many of the houses are very colourful, there is a lot of street art as well as sculpture and art galleries. The local cuisine is outstanding and there are lots of amazing restaurants to choose from.
You could also take in a whale or puffin watching tour with the opportunity to see minke or humpback whales and have a look at the striking lighthouse at Grotta. You may of course see such whales and the lighthouse from the boat!
Offshore experience would be beneficial but not strictly necessary. You need to have done some sailing before. You will need to be healthy and reasonably fit. You will be expected to help with all the cooking and cleaning throughout the trip and take part in all aspects of keeping a watch and sailing the boat.
You should get some exciting sailing in a part of the world that whilst not too far from land is still pretty remote and unfrequented, plus lots of exploring.
The area abounds with wildlife so you should see plenty of sea birds and if you are lucky whales.
The trip will not be as cold as you might expect. The weather can be fickle, like it is in Scotland but crystal clear and sunny days are not uncommon. It will be the height of summer so whilst chilly at night you may be in shorts and t-shirt when on land. Expect lots of daylight when on night watch.
In Iceland you can expect to see patches of snow, waterfalls, glaciers, wildflower meadows, maybe the odd Arctic fox cub.
There are 3 double cabins, two of which are available.
The price is £6930 which works out at £3465 per person with two sharing a cabin.
Included in the price is all food on board, mooring fees, fuel, gas.
You will need to purchase you own insurance which will cost around £45 from someone like Topsail Insurance.
A deposit of £2500 will secure your cabin. Use discount code VIKING2018 to pay just this amount. The balance will then become due on 6th April.
But how about sailing to Norway and back in May?