So What’s the Difference Between a 55ft and 72ft Yacht Holiday?

At First Class Sailing we offer two types of adventure sailing holidays in Nordic waters:

One is on a 72ft Challenger yacht, with a steel hull, built for speed and crossing oceans with a crew of 16.

The other is on Santosa, a 55ft luxury yacht, built for comfort, safety and ease of use, in Arctic conditions. She also has a steel hull with a high-latitude rig suited for sailing into the Arctic, but on this yacht you’ll be travelling as guest crew.

Both adventures give you a wide variety of sailing, beautiful Nordic scenery, and a lung full of fresh air. However, there are some differences as we have listed below...

So how luxurious does it get on Santosa? Does an en-suite double cabin sound good to you? Or hydraulic headsails and an electric mainsheet winch? Or a helming position in the coach house to keep you warm if the Arctic temperatures close in? All your meals prepared for you?

You’ll also be there as Guest Crew, meaning you’ll still get to take part in plenty of good sailing on Santosa; building up your nautical miles. However, should you want to sit back and watch the Nordic waters roll by, you can.

Meanwhile, on a Challenger yacht you’ll be racing towards your destination in surroundings familiar to most sailors: feeling every wave, grinding winches, sleeping in your own bunk, cooking meals, standing a watch, grabbing some sleep when you can and getting a complete 24hr-a-day sailing experience.

Of course, we’ll suggest you experience both! But maybe the price or dates will be the items that tip your balance. The Challenger adventure is £1799 per person and sails 15th - 30th June, while a double cabin on Santosa varies from £3200 to £4200 (about £1800 p.p.), there are 11 legs available sailing between May and October.

Explore the Lofoten Islands on Santosa

The Lofoten Islands are off the North West coast of Norway, within the Arctic Circle, and is a great area to do some high latitude sailing. Each 11 day voyage starts and finishes in Bodo, so you'll spend the entire sailing holiday in the Arctic Circle.

Challenger Adventure to the Fjords and Back

This is a 16 day voyage on a 72ft steel yacht starting and finishing from Portsmouth. You’ll sail through one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, the Dover Straits, before heading up the North Sea to Norway where we will explore the outstanding natural beauty of the Norwegian Fjords. After 5 or 6 days of cruising you will sail back to Portsmouth. Sailing to Norway and back will log you about 1500 miles. Depart Portsmouth and sail to Norway on Saturday 15th June

On a Challenger, you’ll be part of a 16 strong crew, which includes a very experienced skipper and first mate, plus experienced watch leaders. On the voyage, you’ll get to know the crew as if they are part of your family and many long-term friendships have developed on these voyages, especially the longer Atlantic crossings.

There is great comradery on board and a certain amount of rivalry between the watches, but if you want a high-energy, demanding sail, that improves your skills in both sailing and communication then this is the yacht for you.

On Santosa, it’s a perfect voyage for couples, best buddies or maybe you just want the cabin to yourself. As Guest Crew it will be quite a different experience to Challenger, although you still have the chance to put your sailing skills into practice, but at your own speed.

There will be a skipper and first mate but as Guest Crew, you have the opportunity to take a break when you want to, find a place to sit and take in the amazing Nordic scenery. Though, if you’re a committed sailor it is unlikely you’ll want to sit still for too long.

All your meals will be prepared for you and with a really well appointed double cabin, en-suite bathroom, and a relaxed itinerary this feels like a luxury holiday adventure.

Have we mentioned the scenery? Both Santosa and the Challenger will be seeking out all the beautiful parts of the Nordic coastline, the fjords, the islands while you’ll be drawing in lungfuls of fresh air.

With plenty of opportunities to explore the fishing villages, harbours, forest, and glacial valleys, this holiday has everything you’d expect from a luxury package.

The Challenger adventure begins and ends with a North Sea crossing so the Mother Watch system rules the roost! The crew is split in two and while one watch sleeps the other sails the Challenger. There isn’t a moment during this part of the voyage when everyone is asleep.

It is a routine that most people quickly adapt to and enjoy, and once the rivalry has begun there is no stopping people wanting to pull the fastest watch, steering the most miles, or have a new experience to tell their waking rivals.

For the more adventurous, Santosa also has legs that involve sailing the North Sea, plus some Arctic sailing around the Faroes and then back down through the Irish Sea. Then there are intimate sailing legs around the Magnificent Lofoten Islands during June and July that will appeal to couples looking for a great holiday with sailing.

The challenging adventures happen on a Challenger yacht, made from steel and built to sail every ocean, you’re part of a 16-strong crew, all mucking in together and putting in some great miles across long stretches of water.

You’ll need to have at least passed RYA Competent Crew and may be taken the Day Skipper Theory course. Some sailing skills are essential, however, you will be with people who are not only skilled but able to impart their knowledge in a friendly way.

But you’re not on the Bounty! This is just a crew with a purpose and ‘fun’ is one of the requisites.

On Santosa, you’ll be there as a couple. One partner could have plenty of experience, while the other a little weekend knowledge. Either way, the skipper and first mate are there to make it as easy as possible for you.

As with a Challenger, these yacht leaders have the skills to sail and teach, so whatever level you are on you’ll be in safe hands and allowed to do as much or as little as you want on your luxurious holiday.

Whichever voyage you choose you'll return with much more sailing knowledge then you left with, a bag full of memories and some sights that few people have seen or experienced.

Both yachts are up for most challenges but designed with different purposes in mind.

The Challenger yachts were built to race around the world up wind, made from steel and can take the rigours of any ocean, any time of year. However, the boat is far from a stripped out racing yacht. She has a spacious galley and saloon, two heads with showers, a watermaker and everyone has their own bunk.

Santosa is also steel-hulled, but built for luxury yacht and comfort, and is equally capable of sailing around the world safely but at a slower pace. The fixtures and fittings are impeccable and with an ensuite double cabin, you have the hotel experience.

With Santosa having the ability to be sailed from the wheelhouse you’re in very comfortable surrounds and able to travel distances in all types of weather.

Between May and October Santosa has 10 legs you can pick from, five that cover the Arctic loop from Southampton to Falmouth via Bergen, Trondheim, Bodo, Isle of Sky, Faroes and then Falmouth.

Or island hopping around Magnificent Lofoten Islands during June and July. Each leg is about 10 days long.

Meanwhile, the Challenger is a longer, 15-day voyage sailing Portsmouth to Norway and back between 15th - 30th June 2019

If you wish to express an interest in future courses:

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