July 06 – July 018 2020: £2,499
NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
COME SOLO OR PART OF A GROUP
Sail and explore in the magical polar wilderness of Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen is the the biggest island in Svalbard and very much the jewel of Arctic Norway. Located halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole, thanks to the Gulf Stream, it boasts a surprisingly mild climate with a huge variety of plants and wildlife including seals, thousands of seabirds, the Arctic fox, walrus, reindeer and the legendary polar bear. This expedition allows us to explore the island, heading ashore and exploring somewhere new every day. Hike glaciers, come face to face with the wildlife and experience a magical adventure
NO PREVIOUS SAILING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. FULL TUITION GIVEN
This is a typical itinerary for the Spitsbergen Explorer. What makes expedition sailing so special however is that there can be no fixed itinerary and so no part of this is guaranteed. It is indicative of a typical expedition to this region. The wind and the weather ultimately shape what’s possible each day and you are in the very high latitudes where the weather can be glorious or cold and a bit harsher. But that’s what the adventure’s all about! The key difference between the Spitsbergen Explorer and the other Spitsbergen trip is that this one starts and ends in Spitsbergen, without any offshore passage to or from Norway.
Day 1: Joining day
Join the boat between 1200 and 2000hrs (the closer to 1200 the better but we know flights and such like don’t always work like that, so don’t worry!) Get your belongings packed away and relax. There’s plenty to do in the future but right now it’s about relaxing, finding your way around the boat and enjoying the surroundings. Longyearbyen is an exciting place, full of other adventurers setting off on their own expeditions and surrounded by beautiful mountains and glaciers.
Day 2: Briefings and training
Today is all about getting up to speed with the boat. Whether you are a complete novice or more experienced sailor, everyone benefits from detailed introductions, safety briefings and training sessions. You will have two highly experienced instructors to guide you through every aspect that you need to know to have a great sailing holiday. By lunchtime we should be casting off the lines, hoisting the sails and working through all the key sailing manoeuvres such as tacking and gybing, reefing and knot tying! By the end of the day everyone on board should feel comfortable with the basics – even though there’s more to learn and practice every day. We’ll find a lovely anchorage to spend the night in front of a glacier.
Day 3: Tryghamna
Today we will sail to Tryghamna to visit the remains of the seventeenth century English whaling station and an eighteenth century Russian Pomor hunting station. We can also hike from here to Alkhornet for some incredible bird watching on the vast cliffs there. This is also often a great place to see arctic foxes and reindeer.
Day 4: Fuglehuken
Now we sail through the Forlandsundet, bound for Fuglehuken, This is where the expedition of Willem Barents first landed, the crew becoming some of the first recorded people to set foot on the island. You will see the graves of whalers here.
Day 5: Ytre Norskøya
Next we hope to be to land and explore Ytre Norskøya. This is a small island which was used for many years by whalers looking for the tell-tale water spouts of their prey. You will see the remains of the 17th century blubber ovens and graves of some 200 Dutch whalers. This is another fantastic place to see birds such as Arctic skua.
Day 6: Raudfjord
Raudfjord on the very north coast of Spitsbergen is incredibly beautiful and surrounded by some genuinely spectacular glaciers. It is a great place to see ringed and bearded seals and there is a decent chance of spotting a polar bear and beluga whales.
Day 7: Reindyrfla
Sea ice can make this impossible some years but hopefully we can land on the northern-side of Reindyrfla. This is the largest tundra area of Spitsbergen.
Day 8: Liefdefjorden
Now we head for Liefdefjorden. This is where king eiders and grey phalaropes nest. Ice will probably block the approach to the Monacobreen glacier and the warm springs in Bockfjord, but this remains an amazing place to visit, teeming with birds, sea life and often polar bears.
Day 9: Magdalenefjord
One of our very favourite places in Spitsbergen. This is a stunningly beautiful bay, with vast glaciers rolling down to the sea and – astonishingly – a white sandy beach! The brave amongst you may want to jump in for a little swim amongst the floating ice. It’s quiet invigorating!
Day 10: Ny Alesund
Today we will sail to Ny Alesund, the northernmost permanently inhabited village in the world, a centre for polar research and a former starting point for many North Pole expeditions such as that of Roald Amundsen.
Day 11: Barentsburg
On the south eastern tip of Isafjord is this incredible semi abandoned Russian mining town, with vast soviet era murals and statues of Lenin. An incredible last stop before our sail south.
Day 12: Longyearbyen
We return to the main outpost in Spitsbergen , waving goodbye to the awesome glaciers and ready for a fun last night in Spitsbergen.
Day 13: Debriefs, clean up and goodbyes
It’s always amazing how quickly everyone has become firm friends and the boat and its routines seem so familiar. Yet it’s time to wrap it all up and head home. We’ll get the boat back to how we found it, sign logbooks, exchange emails and disembark by 1200hrs (we prefer if you don’t, but if you need to catch a ferry or flight, you can leave as early as you need to on the last day).
JOINING AND LEAVING THE BOAT
We can often find long haul flights at cheap prices. Ask us!
- You should join the boat in Longyearbyen after 1200 hrs on the start day. It is good if you can join us as close to 1200 hrs as possible, but if your flight or ferry gets in later than this, that is fine.
- You will disembark the boat in Longyearbyen at 1200 hrs on the last day. It is a short journey to the airport. If you need to leave earlier in the day to catch a flight or ferry that is ok.
- You will fly into and out of Longyearbyen (IATA code: LYR) which is well served by Norwegian and SAS.
Rubicon 3 runs expedition yachts to remote locations and on serious ocean passages. They are tremendous fun to sail and the skipper and mate are real experts from whom you will learn a huge amount. The routes themselves are adventurous, unusual and for the most part far from the beaten track. It is important that you understand that this is true ocean and expedition adventure sailing, not a sanitised charter sailing holiday. You will be a full part of the crew, helming, navigating, trimming sails and more. You will also be fully involved in cooking and keep the boat clean as we go. If the weather is strong you will be living life at an angle and may have waves landing on you while you work on deck (Our foulies will keep you dry as much as possible and the boat is always warm down below). Conversely in hot regions, you may be trying to keep cool and wishing for that wave! Adventure sailing and life at sea is far more basic than life at home. It is amazing, extraordinary and life affirming but you will be living in close quarters with the rest of the crew, need to be able to deal with the occasional discomfort or mishaps that inevitably come with being on the sea or in remote regions and should come with a ‘can do’ attitude. The rewards though are beyond what you can imagine and you will have experiences, memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime.
AGE & EXPERIENCE
These adventure sailing holidays are open to everyone aged 18 years and over. If you are aged 70 or over, or have any concerns about your health, we ask that you get a doctor’s note before booking. This is just to make as certain as possible that you will be okay out on the water.
NO PREVIOUS SAILING EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED
CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT
We provide the foul weather clothing, life-jackets and all other technical equipment you will need. We really urge you not to spend any extra money unless you are sure you want to! You need to bring a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots.
We are committed to helping as many people as possible have an amazing sailing holiday and experience the magic of the sea. Our skippers and mates have medical training and the boats have some medical supplies and equipment on board. However, the reality is that once on board access to professional medical assistance is going to be slower than if you were on land. If we are offshore it may be some days. For this reason we ask you to check through the medical disclosure form below before you book. If you answer yes to any of the questions, you should get in touch with us before you book. It will probably still be fine but it’s good to make sure. You will be asked to submit the form electronically 14 days before the start date, ensuring that we have the most up to date information.
- It is essential that you have adequate travel insurance in place for your sailing holiday.
- We strongly recommend that you arrange insurance that covers you for any medical mishaps in the build up to your holiday so that should you have to cancel, you can reclaim your fees.
- Please note we cannot refund your money or cancel your invoice due to medical issues.
- For our latest guidance on travel insurance, please read here.
TRIP CATEGORY: EXPEDITION SAILING
Expedition sailing is far from the beaten track and you need to be ready for the unexpected. Expect few facilities, logistical conundrums, occasional delays and an incredible, exciting experience.
INCLUDED IN YOUR SAILING HOLIDAY
- Top quality foul weather clothing to keep you dry in any conditions.
- Fladen immersion suits. These will keep you warm in even the coldest, windiest conditions.
- Ocean-spec lifejackets. These are the best on the market.
- All on-board food and snacks.
- Daily sailing lessons and tuition from two highly experienced instructors.
- RYA sailing qualifications where applicable.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Your travel to and from the start and end points.
- Travel insurance (see our travel insurance page here)
- Any alcohol – but feel free to bring your own or buy some along the route.
- Any meals you eat ashore.
Everything’s included except for flights, travel insurance, a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots. There are no hidden extras.
- These expeditions have small numbers of people on board. When you book, you are committing to being a part of the crew.
- These are genuine adventure sailing holidays and you will be helping sail the boat, planning where we go, navigating, cooking and keeping the boat clean and tidy.
- When you book, the deposit is non refundable. It is possible to cancel subsequently, however you may still be liable for the balance of the invoice, depending on how close you are to the start date when you cancel.
- Please ensure you have read and agreed to the T&Cs and read the Trip Notes before booking.
DO I NEED PRIOR SAILING EXPERIENCE?
No. All of our trips are designed to be accessible by anyone, whatever their previous sailing background. We will train you in all the key skills you need, allowing you to be an active member of the crew from day 1.
DO PEOPLE COME ALONE?
Almost everyone comes alone. Couples and groups are very welcome and we do get them. On the whole, however, most crew join solo and so if you are coming alone, you will be one of the crowd!
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON BOARD?
Except in exceptional circumstances, we limit the crew size to 9 (except for Atlantic crossings) plus two instructors. This means that there are enough people to sail the boat safely but you will still have lots of time helming, navigating, trimming sails and such like.
IS THIS A SAILING HOLIDAY?
Absolutely. First and foremost, we are here to ensure everyone has an amazing time. Sailing is about having fun, experiencing nature at its most majestic and gently pushing yourself to try and learn new things. Rubicon 3 voyages are a unique mix of sailing and training and you will get far more involvement and training than on any other sailing holiday you may try!
WHO ELSE JOINS?
We have a remarkably similar group of people who join all our trips. They come from all over the world, are an even mix of men and women and have an average age of 35-65. As we said above, most come alone and experience varies from none at all to Yachtmaster. Most of the crew would describe themselves as having a rusty Day Skipper.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO BOOK A PLACE?
Go the ‘BOOK NOW’ button near the top of the page. This will take you through to our booking system, and it will ask you for a deposit of £400. As soon as this is paid, your place is reserved. The balance of the trip must be paid by 60 days before departure.
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? DON’T HESITATE TO CALL OR EMAIL US. WE ARE REALLY VERY HAPPY TO CHAT AWAY ABOUT THE TRIPS AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE AFTER.