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Armchair Explorer or Real Polar Adventurer – Which one are you?

Armchair Explorer or Real Polar Adventurer -Which one are you?

Classic Sailing and tall ship Tecla can help you be both. Today’s armchair explorer could be tomorrow’s pioneer.

Armchair Arctic –North West Passage Attempt

In August 124ft tall ship Tecla will attempt an East West Transit of the NW Passage. It is a journey of 3400 miles across the Northern Territories of Canada and Alaska. She has already spent 3 weeks sailing around the East and West Coast of Greenland exploring places no Classic Sailing vessel has ever been to before. Soon she will be sailing in waters that only a handful of sailors have seen since Roald Amundsen made it through to the Pacific on sailing ship Gjøa in 1903.

The tortuous high Arctic route through the islands of Northern Canada was not open to any vessel other than icebreakers until after 2007.  Since then several private yachts have managed to get through the ice choked waters. This is the first time ordinary members of the public have been able to apply as North West Passage expedition crew on a commercially operated sail training ship. Her crew of 8 men and 8 women will already be watching the Canadian Coastguard ice reports and charts.

Yellow Brick Live Tracker – Enjoy the Zoom

You can follow her progress by returning to this news article and keep checking into the live tracker below. Her expedition crew join her tomorrow 1st Aug in Illulissat.



End Port – Alaska or Nova Scotia?

Tecla has about 3 weeks to get into position near the real pinch points for ice, exploring the High Arctic on route. Liasing with the Canadian Coastguard, Tecla’s crew will be looking for a clear gap in the ice conditions to sail the trickiest bits. Last year only 2 yachts got through. In 2017 17 vessels found a clear path out of several routes between the islands.  This will be the big decision point to go for it or not. She has a back up plan if the routes are all impassable in 2019. Tecla will sail to Halifax, down the East Coast of USA and onto Galapagos via Panama. She has the rest of her charter season to pick up from there, including her 1st Antarctic Season.

Tecla will be repeating the NW Passage route in 2021, so you can turn from Armchair explorer to a real one, if you start planning now. If you can’t wait that long, you could join her in Antarctica in Jan or Feb 2020, as a few places have opened up.

ice navigation on tecla. NW Passage
ice navigation on tecla. NW Passage

Tecla in Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia

It might have slipped under your radar, as these voyages were initially fully booked, but Tecla now has some Antarctic Voyage Places available, including one place on her Cape to Cape Voyage:

4th Jan – 30th Jan 2020 – 27 day Antarctic Peninsula Sailing Expedition (Falklands – Punta Arenas, Chile) 4 places now available €8190 euros for under 26yrs or €9100 euros for over 26yrs – both prices are per person in 2 person en-suite cabins.

1st Feb – 24th March 5500 miles Cape Horn to Cape Town, via Antarctic Peninsula, numerous South Georgia wild anchorages -53 day epic.  Berths on this Southern Ocean and South Atlantic crossing is consistently one of the most sought after sailing expeditions in the whole Classic Sailing menu….There is now a place for one male sailor (subject to being medically fit enough for this rigorous voyage).

see full details below.

penguins in Antarctica. Tall Ship Expedition on Tecla
penguins in Antarctica. Tall Ship Expedition on Tecla

16 Humans – Outnumbered by Penguins

Antarctica is vast. The sense of raw nature and wild unpredictability gives the experience an edge that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. The fearless wildlife and pristine beauty of the landscape blows your mind. No wildlife documentary can substitute the real thing.
Those of us lucky enough to have been to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands on a tall ship, know what it is like to be down there, relying on each other, dependant on wind, weather, ice free anchorages. There are not that many places in the world where humans are totally out numbered by the wildlife. 

Looking After Each Other

Tecla carries 4 professional crew and 12 participating guest crew. That’s you. She is a big steel ship that was built to fish the North Sea. In her sail training days carried a lot more trainee crew than she does now, so you have a medium sized tall ship with a yacht sized crew. You have en suite cabins, a cozy saloon with an inspiring library, plenty of headroom, heating ……..but these expeditions will be pretty hands on with a high level of teamwork. Tecla has sailed the world twice now, her skipper has worked on Europa as the 1st Mate in Antarctica several times, so we know the ship and skippers are up to it…..but are you?

You have responsibilities as guest crew that make it very different from an adventure cruise with wildlife. You could be sliding about on a snowy deck helping reduce sail, or taking your role seriously as forward lookout in iceberg alley. This kind of collective, participating expedition is not for everyone, but it is as real as you could get in terms of adventure. You share the less arduous bits too. The lunch on deck in sunshine and shirtsleeves, orcas at sunset, playful penguins posing for your camera.

expeditions on tecla
expeditions on tecla


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