At 127ft overall she has the live-aboard comfort of a tall ship but with only 12 guest crew it feels more like a shared adventure with the multinational professional crew. Tecla’s sailing programme is always bold, often in the wake of famous explorers and always with a love for wild nature. She is an original Dutch herring drifter built in 1915 to fish the North Seas under sail.View Voyages
Length On Deck
Vessel Type / Rig
Tecla is only 90 feet long on deck, but she punches above her weight in terms of adventurous sailing programmes. She is really hooked on sailing in the Arctic and Antarctic and all the exploration history associated with these Polar Regions.
She has sailed extensively in East and West Greenland and in 2019 was the first tall ship for 100 years to sail through the Canadain North West Passage.
An incredible rebuild on the main part of her hull during the covid pandemic in 2020-22 means she is now stronger than ever before and fully equipped to deal safely with the ice conditions she often sails through.
Tecla was stripped inside from bow to stern and the hull to be replaced cut away.
Brand new hull section ready to be fitted into Tecla.
Tecla are as close to being our Iceland coastal sailing specialists as you can be without actually being an Viking. They have invested 3 whole summers into creating and proving their iconic voyages around the West and North coast which all include a chance to enjoy the NW Fjords and the mighty Hornstrandir cliffs and National Park. Sailing along this wild coast for leisure and adventure in Iceland is something fishermen do all year around, but is not particularly common amongst Icelanders and we think they are really missing a trick. The West Coast and NW Fjords are where where the Viking’s settled as there were fjords, anchorages, huge seabird populations and rich meadows.
Tecla is a homely ship because for 12 months a year she is the family home. The saloon and galley is the warm heart of the ship below decks, but you also have en suite cabins with hot showers and radiators. When the sun is out there is 90ft of deck space to curl up with a book or journal. With a guest crew of 12, exploration ashore can be as physical as you want: Whether you prefer beach-combing at sea level, or climbing with the more energetic to the highest sea cliffs. Gijs is Tecla’s main skipper in the summer and loves hill walking and mountaineering is irrepressible when it comes to exploring ashore.
The North Coast of Iceland is one of the most reliable places in Northern Europe for whale watching, especially if you want the chance to see larger species like blue whale, humpbacks, . Don’t just take Tecla’s, or our word for it…. see the statistics for North Sailing Whale watching day trips in Skaljfandi Bay . Just think how much more wildlife encounters can be possible a longer Icelandic sailing voyage.
The Tecla crew are an energetic bunch. The owner-skippers are ‘up for adventure’ and their sailing programme really reflects that ambition. This is not a tall ship that sits on its laurels. Skippers and siblings Gijs and Jet, research their destinations well, and have a great sense of history and place. The library on board reflects their constant wanderlust, but they also like to really get to know a cruising ground. Their parents, former skippers Janette and Jan, keep a steady hand on the tiller back at base, or you can find them occasionally on board. They have two ships dogs which can join them in some countries.
After carving a name for herself as a winning contender at tall ships races (read about her tall ship victories), she undertook a world voyage with charter crews in 2013-14. Tecla has been island hopping in Cape Verde; explored the Brazilian coast; crossed the South Atlantic to Cape Town. Sailing in company with her bigger companions Europa and Oosterschelde she not only kept up with these ocean going tall ships, but was frequently ahead of them.
Charter crews went looking for the ‘Sardine Run’ off Mauritius, crossed the Indian Ocean to Australia and took part in a tall ships race from Sydney to New Zealand. Tecla braved the Southern Ocean, crossing the South Pacific and Rounding Cape Horn, so she proved she was a tough ship, and fast enough to keep up with and often beat her bigger companions Europa and Oosterschelde.
In the winter, Skipper Gijs has sailed as mate on square rigger Europa in Antarctica and South Georgia, and makes no secret about his fondness for high latitudes and wild places. Sailing the iceberg strewn waters of the Weddell Sea and navigating a square rigger in the broken sea ice, fog and blizzards around the Antarctic Peninsula have hugely added to Gijs’s ice pilotage experience.
Landing crews by zodiac in remote Antarctic locations with potentially dangerous wildlife is another useful skill he has brought back to his Tecla Arctic Expeditions. The ocean passage between Iceland and Greenland Scorseby Sound brings different pilotage problems. Gijs has run three summer season in high latitudes and added the Denmark Strait, East Greenland Coast and Scorseby Sound to his ice pilot experience. Navigating through the icebergs and sea ice as it breaks up and drifts down the Greenland East Coast requires a certain patience, experience and respect for the elements.
Another added bonus is that Gijs has worked with some of the best polar wildlife guides with Arctic and Antarctic expertise, and he is well read in historic and contemporary polar exploration journals and wildlife conservation.
Tecla is very much an adventure charter ship so the style of sailing is ‘hands on’ but her well trained staff recognise that her expedition style voyages attract all types and ages of guest crew. Whether you are a keen traditional sailor who want to learn all the ropes, a bird watcher or a sea lover who just wants to experience a romantic way of travelling, you can all feel part of this little ships community and do what you can manage to help sail the ship and contribute to life on board. She originally sailed with 16 but now prefers to keep guest crew numbers to only 12, so you find the ship pretty spacious. She is about the same length on deck as Irene.
Tecla does some big trips with fairly small professional crew of four for the size of the vessel, so there is more expectation for everybody to help sail the ship on these offshore voyages. Guest crew will be divided into groups called watches and on a passage there will be a watch keeping routine. Watch keeping means that when it is your turn to be on watch you will need to be out on deck trimming sails, steering and helping navigate if that is your interest. You will always have the skipper or mate with you as the watch leader, so they is plenty you can learn, and its a great time to get a bit more individual attention, sailing tuition or if the sailing is straight forward, put the world to rights. It means the other watch team can relax on deck or below decks. knowing you are concentrating on getting the best out of the ship, and notching up the miles towards your next destination, day or night.
On a fore and aft rigged ketch there is more sail trimming, tacking and gybing than you might find on a square rigger, so at times on watch you may be very busy.
Most of the deck layout of the Tecla has been kept in a traditional style from her days as a herring drifter and then cargo ship. On deck you will find traditional details like dead-eyes rather than bottlescrews, and a lot of wood work. Sails are set by hand, a big part of the electricity used on board is generated by the dynamo on the propeller.
Tecla has a tough riveted steel hull and a lot of sail so she is both powerful and lively to sail. She has a decent sized RIB (check type) for trips ashore.
The saloon is a nice place to socialise and relax below decks. Upholstered seating and a large library of exploration and wildlife books in several languages add to the homely feel and a radiator keeps things warm, as does the galley area opposite. You can chat to the cook, but don’t try pinching the cakes till they are ready.
There are two person cabins with cozy duvets and linen provided. The cabins have heating (radiators) and a huge amount of headroom. You can latch the door open for more air in hotter climes and there is an opening porthole for natural light. All cabins have a toilet (that doesn’t need any pumping!) and a shower en-suite.
Read more about the accommodation below.
Gijs and Jets mum Janette is often the cook on board, when she is not running the sailing business from home. On some trips the family dogs might be on board, but it depends a bit on the shore-side regulations.
All the family speak good English and the working language on board is English. Some special diets can be catered for, but many of Tecla’s voyages are 3 weeks away from provisioning ports and sailing in remote areas with no human habitation or fresh food shops so they cannot accept those who require a strict vegan diet.
Voyages in places like Greenland or even NW Iceland are a long way from any hospital, so you do need to be in good health for these voyages.
The companionway steps dive down to the living accommodation quite a long way, so there is ample headroom for taller sailors. There is a main corridor that all the cabins lead off from. At the far end is the galley and saloon. the professional crew have separate accommodation at the stern of the ship (aft).
Each two berth cabin is has heated with a radiator and there is an en-suite toilet and shower room with hot and cold water in every cabin. In the cabin itself you will find a simple basin and tap and mirror. Your bed will be either the higher or the lower bunk. All beds are over 80cm wide and 2 meters long. Each bed has a reading light for the evening hours. Your clothing can be stored in cupboard and your bag or suitcase can be stored under the bed.
The heart of the ship on Tecla is the saloon. The galley is open plan in the same room as the saloon, so its a very warm social space. There is a big saloon table and seating with cushions all around. On the other side of the room is more seating and tables for meals or for writing journals and hobbies. Tecla has a ships library full of books that will bring out the explorer in you. Many of the books are in English and there are some great ‘coffee table’ style books about nautical adventures.
Tecla’s crew love to read up about their sailing destinations whether it is Icelandic sagas or boat building in the Orkneys, so if you run out of your own novels there is plenty to dip into.
Laundry on longer trips is normally divided by cabin, one cabin at a time so easy to sort if a sock strays!
The Tecla family have two ships dogs who are sometimes on board, if regulations permit. Generally they are at home in Holland.
Tecla – Ship Specification
Tecla is equipped to sail the world’s seas and holds all the safety certificates required by Dutch Law. She carries 4-5 professional crew. As you are part of the guest crew you also will be fully trained in some aspects of emergency procedures.
|vessel type – gaff ketch|
|year built||1915||Winkel, NL|
|length on deck||90ft||27m|
|sail area||370 sq m|
|guest crew overnight||12|
Tecla has a riveted steel hull and deck with watertight bulkheads. She has a fantastic underwater hull shape for deep water sailing. She is a fast ship and has won many awards at Tall Ships Races. When she sailed around the world and all the way to Australia in company with larger Dutch tall ships Europa and Oosterschelde she was more than capable of keeping up with them despite their longer waterlines. Quite often ahead of them!
The bowsprit is huge but fully retractable in a few minutes for small harbours.
She has 3 sizes of flying jib, a fore staysail with a sheet on a sliding bar. The main and mizzen are very heavy canvas and gaff rigged. They can be reefed. There is also a storm tri-sail. The topsails are jackyard topsails so you hoist the sail and an extra mast (or jackyard) extending both mizzen and main mast. This is quite an exciting sail hoist and also fun coming down.
When sailing Tecla can charge her batteries without the diesel generator as the movement through the water spins her propeller and a shaft generator captures the free energy.
Tecla has a normal generator too, but there is no need to have it running all the time.
Tecla can make fresh water from sea water which enables her to go on long expeditions. She has big water tanks too.
Tecla has Sat C communications plus saterlite phone for Greenland Expeditions
She also has VHF for coastal and HF long range radio.
For the NW Passage she will carry a Yellow Brick Tracking device so your friends and family can track the ship.
You can currently follow her on Marine Traffic App as she has an AIS transmitting her position, spread, status etc.
We will give customers fuller information in 2019 as she will be updating some of her equipment for her NW Passage and Antarctic seasons in 2019-20
Skippers are Jan, Jet, Janet and Gijs, all one family but two generations! Don’t worry. They take it in turns to be in charge!
Together the Sluik family of Jan, Jannette, Gijs and Jet, muster a large number of years of traditional charter sailing experience and invite everybody to join them aboard to be a part of the history of Tecla.
The Tecla crew consists of three or four permanent professional sailors. This crew is partially made up of the family and completed with some dedicated sailors that we have met around the world.
The crew give their heart and live to sailing the Tecla and can show all the tricks of trimming the sail to the fullest and teach anybody how to bake some amazing homemade bread.
Gijs shares the command of Tecla with his sister Jet.
Gijs started sailing when he was a young boy. Professionally he started sailing in 2001 as deckhand on the Aagtje, Eenhoorn and later Stad Amsterdam. He worked on the Stad Amsterdam as deckhand, quartermaster and third mate over a period of 3 years.
After that his full attention was directed to the Tecla, where he has been the full time captain for several years. Gijs has a passion for fast sailing, he is devoted to the Tecla and loves working on her deck as well as in the chartroom.
Debbie in Classic Sailing office has sailed with Gijs when he was the first mate on a square rigger sailing from Brazil to Antarctica, and also more recently in Orkney, Shetland and the Faroes. If you can’t pronounce his name Dutch style then ‘Heiss’ is close. He speaks great English, loves to sail every ship he works on to the max….is happiest when he can run around the deck and pull sails with the guests. Gjis has a strong interest in maritime history and exploration and always wants to take Tecla to new places.
Jet started sailing professionally in 2005. Before that she spent many weeks a year sailing with her parents. Sitting next to Jan steering, was the best spot on board. After getting her bachelor degree in Communication, Jet worked in the office of Amnesty International for 2 years. Jet could not resist the call for adventure when the opportunity came to buy the Tecla. Jet has sailed as cook and first mate but after experience on other ships she now sails as skipper too. Jet uses her marketing and communication skills to advantage to promote Tecla and the family business too.
Janette started sailing after she met Jan. Together they bought an old Dutch vessel, the “Aagtje” and restored her to full sailing condition. For more than 10 years they sailed together on the Ijsselmeer and Waddenzee. After a short adventure with the Eenhoorn (Unicorn) the step up to the open ocean and the Tecla, was not difficult. Until recently Janette was always on board, but now she spends more time as shore manager, together with the pensioned dog Nyske and the young springer spaniel Sadie, to organize better contacts between ship, authorities, trainees etc. Missing the sailing? Of course, but she does make a few guest appearances during the season.
Jan Sluik sadly passed away in 2018 but he is such an important part of Tecla’s story, we feel you should know how it all started.
Jan sailed and owned vessels from an early age on. Rebuilding and repairing traditional beauties is in his blood, he used to work on old timers together with his dad. In 1991 Jan and Janette launched the two mast tjalk Aagtje as a charter vessel from Hoorn. Later they switched homeport to Harlingen to sail on the Waddenzee more. In 2002 the sold the Aagtje and bought the Eenhoorn. Which they sailed from Harlingen as well and sold in 2005, after which they bought the Tecla to start a new project together with their children, Gijs and Jet. Gijs and Jet have grown up with the sea in their blood and now are the full time skippers of Tecla, replacing their parents out of the water.
Tecla sails with a Captain, Mate, Cook and deckhand and for Iceland and Greenland a wildlife guide.
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