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Sail the Famous Northwest Passage

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Single berth Sharing a Cabin

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€26000

Single berth Sharing a Cabin

18-25 years old Only

€23400

Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Sun 27-07-2025, 18:00Dutch Harbour, Unalaska. Tue 16-09-2025, 10:00Nuuk, The Capital of Greenland Tecla 51 NightsTC270725

Calling all adventurers! ❄️🧭 Join an Arctic Expedition with the Tecla Crew through the Northwest Passage!

In 2019 and 2023, the Tecla crew successfully navigated through the ice and channels of the North West Passage. In 2019 they sailed from East to West. In 2023 they sailed from West to East.
In 2025 Tecla will sail again from West to East through the North West Passage of Canada AND you can be part of her expedition crew. 

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

Voyage Highlights

  • Sail the fthe legendary NW Passage to Beechey Island
  • Sail to the last known position of Franklin’s ships at 74 degrees North
  • Be part of a close knit crew where all participate to sail the ship
  • Realm of the Polar bear, Narwhal, seabirds & Beluga Whales 
  • Landings of historic significance on Canada’s Arctic mainland and archipelagoes
  • Complex navigation, ice and weather to negotiate
  • Learn about a sea route quest that took 500 years to accomplish
  • In the Wake of Intrepid Explorers & the ghosts of those who perished
  • Pristine Wilderness on a vast scale
  • Home of the Inuit – Arctic Masters of Survival

Tecla

Vessel type / Rig Gaff Ketch
Guest Berths 12
Beam 22ft
Draft 8.9ft
Deck Length 90ft
Overall Length 124ft
Tonnage 92 tons
Year Built 1915
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

The attempt to sail the Northwest passage is a once in a lifetime experience. A long voyage of 52 days. Starting off in Dutch Harbor, you will first make your way to Nome. This will be the last harbor of America, where officials will stamp us out of the country. From there it will be over 1000 miles before entering Canada. 

Ice reports and weather reports will be closely monitored as the Tecla and her crew get closer and closer to the edge of the ice. 

The route to take will depend fully on the ice reports. Possible stops include Talayoak, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Resolute, Beechey Island, Pond Inlet, finishing your voyage in Greenland, Nuuk.

In 2019 the voyage Roald Amundsen made, was open to the Tecla. Although it took Roald Amundsen 3 years, it took the Tecla 50 days. In 2023 a route through Bellot Strait was possible. In 2025 it will different yet again.

Polar tall ship crew
Polar tall ship crew

So many variables make it into a complicated but amazing voyage, a life long memory, standing in places so little people have visited before. Seeing cairns left by explorers and walking along shores named after the greatest explorers the western world has known in seafaring. 

As part of the expedition crew you will be part of a watch when there are night sails. During the days at anchor, you will be able to go a shore and explore by foot. As we are in polar bear country, you will have to stay with the guide at all times, for your own and others safety. 

During the voyage you will be kept up to date on the ice situation with Ice Charts that are send to the ship. You will get several presentations on ice navigation, sailing the Tecla, the history of the Tecla, the different explorers of the North West Passage and much more. 

Spend your free hours on deck spotting polar bears or find a snug corner to read a book downstairs. Central heating on board will keep you nice and warm, even if it cools down below zero outside. Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime! 

North West Passage Expedition from East to West Coast on Tecla
North West Passage Expedition from West to East Tecla

Following in the Footsteps of Intrepid Explorers

Captain of Tecla Gijs has been researching the North West Passage  for some time. Now he has sailed through going westwards he is going to do it again going Eastwirds. Gijs is enthralled by the way that the Arctic has been explored and mapped, not just the North West Passage. He will be giving some presentations on board about all the different approaches to expeditions, land and sea travel and over wintering in this harsh environment. It is always interesting to debate the different styles and controversies around why Franklin failed and others like John Rae succeeded.

So many people from Naval Officers in search of glory, to Governments seeking a short cut to the Pacific have played their part in discovering a navigable North West Passage. The coastline was explored and mapped by Vikings, Inuit, fur traders of Hudson Bay, the Russians, the Europeans. Much of the expedition frenzy years were after Franklin’s expedition went missing in 1848 with two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and 129 crew lost. 11 ships went looking for them, and Lady Franklin exerted huge pressure on the British Establishment to find them, and substantial financial prizes to find the NW Passage.

Orcadian explorer John Rae is one of your captain’s unsung heroes. A Doctor from Stromness on Orkney, he went to work for the Hudson Bay Fur Company and learnt many things about travelling in the Arctic from the Inuit. It enabled him to discover Franklin’s fate and the likely missing link of the NW Passage. Unlike Sir John Franklin he was never given the recognition he deserved…and you will have to read a recent biography on him to realise why he fell foul of Victorian politics.

In 1906 the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to complete a passage from Greenland right through to Alaska in a 45 ton sloop (gaff cutter) called Gjøa. The vessel was a wooden herring drifter which is fitting as Tecla is also an original Dutch herring drifter. Amundsen did take more than one season to get through.

A journey that will take you from the giant icebergs near Greenland to the challenge of constantly moving sea ice funnelled by the wind into bays and inlets. Tecla will cross Baffin Bay, sail along the wilderness coast of Baffin Island and into Lancaster Sound. Beechey Sound is somewhat of a pilgrimage for those interested in the fate of the Franklin Expedition as this is the last place his ships Terror and Erebus were seen.

On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on Tecla’s last adventure here but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage. In this part of the world, ice reports, wind direction and keeping a close lookout is vital.

Just like the North West Passage, this voyage much depends on the amount of ice that is met underway. This could mean you have to wait a day or two in a sheltered place before heading out into the open. 

Some places you may visit.

Resolute Bay

Weather and Ice permitting other anchorages can be visited. Resolute can be attempted if the ice conditions are not too severe. 

These anchorages are well into Polarbear territory. This does mean that any landing is done under guidance and with a gun. You will stay in groups and are not permitted to wonder too far from the group leader. 

This voyages will be one with long sunsets and sunrises, as the sun will only disappear behind the horizon shortly when you set off from Ilulissat, Greenland. The most Northerly point of this voyage will be 74’45N!

Beechey Island, Erebus & Terror Bay

The anchorage at Beechey Island can be on the side of Erebus and Terror bay or on the side of Union Bay, both offering shelter from different directions. Depending on ice state and wind the anchorage will be chosen. 

Landing on Beechey Island is done by dinghy, on shore the hike will take up half a day to visit all the sights on shore. One or two members of the crew will go ashore with you to show you all the best spots.

On board you will find many books that are worth a good read, but for this voyage the book Erebus, written by Micheal Palin, is a must read. One or two prints are on board for you to borrow as you make your way North. 

The distinctive landmark of Terror and Erebus Bay
The distinctive landmark of Terror and Erebus Bay

Pond Inlet

 It is likely this expedition will stop at Pond Inlet to clear customs into Canada before setting off deeper into the North West Passage. 

After the big icebergs around Greenland and in Disco Bay, the ice of Lancaster sound will be something very different. Wide patches of sea ice drift around. A close eye needs to be kept on the ice reports as well as outside and around the ship.

Explore Disko Bay in the West Greenland Arctic Circle

Departing from Illilissat, where huskies out number people, there should be time for one or two stops. There is a good possibility of spotting whales, so keep an eye out for them. But also at the threshold of the North West Passage, you will find an abundance in wildlife. There are Narwhale, Bearded Seals, Spotted Seals even Beluga whales to be spotted. On the ice or on shore one might spot a Polar bear, or muskoxen and Caribou. 

navigating the sea ice on Tecla in Greenland
navigating the sea ice on Tecla in West Greenland

What Wildlife Might I See

In August the remaining sea ice offers good opportunities to see polar bears. As you get into September the polar bears are starting to roam the beaches looking for stranded whales or birds to hunt.

In August the seabird chicks are hatching and learning to fly. They are preyed on by Gyr falcon, skuas, gulls and arctic fox. Seals and walrus can be seen hauled out on the remaining ice but by September they have moved to the beaches and rocks or are at sea hunting. Migrating Beluga and Narwhals keep heading North from West Greenland to stick with the edge of the sea ice. The North West passage is probably the only place far enough North to see them at this time of year.

There are often huge pods of Beluga in the estuaries of Somerset Sound. (source – Swoop Arctic).

Arctic birds and icebergs
Arctic birds and icebergs

 

WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

Classic Sailing office team have sailed in Antarctica, East Greenland and Nova Scotia, but not the NW Passage or Bering Sea. Our best source of what it is really like is the sailors who were on Tecla in previous years.

DESTINATION – NW PASSAGE & WEST GREENLAND

We have the following useful publications, and will be reproducing the most useful snippets about weather and sea conditions.

  • Admiralty Sailing Handbook chapters on Ice navigation.
  • RCC Pilotage Foundation – Pilot Book for Arctic & Northern Waters

HANDS ON HOLIDAYS

Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.

SAILING STYLE & LIFE ON BOARD

We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.

Tecla on a sailing expedition in the Faroes
Tecla on a sailing expedition in the Faroes

AGILITY & FITNESS – NW Passage 

Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to the NW Passage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01326 53 1234 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.

In response to the age and fitness restriction for the Tecla voyage – We know it may be a disappointing for some of you. The Tecla team didn’t make this decision lightly but the voyage is going to be quite the adventure, lasting 56 nights in some of the most remote places on the planet, and there may be some pretty challenging landscapes and conditions to contend with. There may be times when you’re several days away from emergency medical help, so we want to ensure everyone is fit and healthy enough to handle any potential difficulties. Rest assured that Tecla has all the necessary safety and medical equipment onboard to comply with legal regulations. Unfortunately, having a medical support team associated with the voyage is just not financially feasible. So, while we would love to have everyone on board, safety is our top priority. There are of course a variety of voyages on our website with no upper age limit at all!

 

Start & End Port

Dutch Harbour, Unalaska.

By air:

It’s roughly a 3 hour flight from Anchorage with Ravn Alaska to Dutch Harbor.

Due to the weather conditions be advised that flights can be cancelled. Allow flexibility in your schedule to join the ship.

By sea:

Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System has schedules available and typically run 4 to 6 times each summer from Unalaska (Dutch Harbor) to Homer. This trip takes about 3 to 3.5 days each way.

 

 

Nuuk, The Capital of Greenland

Nuuk

Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, offers a unique blend of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and modern amenities. It’s well worth spending some time here before or after your voyage. Here is a brief guide to experiencing a memorable day out in Nuuk:

A Day Out in Nuuk:

1. Morning Exploration:
Begin your day by exploring the city centre. Visit the National Museum of Greenland, which houses exhibits showcasing the history, culture, and art of Greenland. Take a leisurely walk along the colourful harbour area, admiring the picturesque view of the surrounding mountains and the charming houses. Don’t miss the iconic statue of Hans Egede, the founder of Nuuk, located near the harbour.

2. Cultural Immersion:
Immerse yourself in Greenlandic culture by visiting local art galleries and craft shops. Nuuk Art Museum showcases contemporary Greenlandic art, while the Katuaq Cultural Center hosts various events, performances, and exhibitions. Explore the Nuuk Cathedral, a beautiful modern church known for its impressive stained glass windows.

3. Greenlandic Cuisine:
Indulge in Greenlandic cuisine during your lunchtime. Visit one of the local restaurants and try traditional dishes like mattak (whale skin and blubber), Greenlandic seafood, or reindeer meat. You can also sample local delicacies such as dried fish or “kaffe-mik,” a traditional coffee gathering with cakes and pastries.

4. Outdoor Adventures:
In the afternoon hike up nearby mountains like Lille Malene or Store Malene for breathtaking panoramic views of Nuuk and the surrounding wilderness.

5. Nuuk’s Cultural Landmarks:
Discover Nuuk’s cultural landmarks, such as the Nuuk Art Museum, which houses an impressive collection of contemporary Greenlandic art. Visit the Nuuk Cathedral, a modern architectural gem known for its unique design and serene ambiance. Explore the Greenland National Theater and enjoy a performance showcasing traditional Greenlandic music and dance.

6. Evening Relaxation:
End your day by unwinding at one of Nuuk’s cozy cafes or restaurants. Sample Greenlandic specialties like crowberry desserts or sip on a local beer brewed with Arctic ingredients. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade and enjoy the peaceful evening atmosphere with stunning views of the sunset over the mountains.

Remember to dress warmly and bring appropriate outdoor gear, as the weather in Greenland can be cold and unpredictable.

 

Getting to Nuuk

Recommendation for flights to remote or cold climate destinations we recommend purchasing flexible flights that offer full refunds. See advice on Flexible flights here.

1. UK: You will typically need to take a connecting flight from a major airport such as London Heathrow or Manchester. There are no direct flights from the UK to Nuuk, so you would first fly to a major European hub, such as Copenhagen, Denmark, or Reykjavik, Iceland. From there, you would then take a connecting flight to Nuuk, which is the capital city of Greenland. It is advisable to check with airlines for the most convenient routes and schedules.

2. Canada: There are direct flights available from several Canadian cities to Nuuk. For instance, Air Greenland operates flights from both Montreal and Copenhagen to Nuuk. Alternatively, you could fly to Reykjavik, Iceland, which serves as a common connecting hub for flights to Nuuk. From Reykjavik, you would take a connecting flight to Nuuk, completing your journey.

3. USA: From the USA, you can reach Nuuk in Greenland by taking a connecting flight. Similar to Canada, there are no direct flights from the USA to Nuuk. Your best way is to fly via one of the Canadian airports mentioned above.

4. Europe: Several airlines, including Air Greenland, Air Iceland Connect, and Air Canada, operate direct flights from European cities like Copenhagen, Denmark, Reykjavik, Iceland, and Keflavik, Iceland, to Nuuk. The availability of direct flights may vary depending on the airline and the time of year, so it is recommended to check the schedules and book in advance to secure your preferred travel dates.

Please note that flight schedules and routes can change, so it is essential to check with airlines or travel agencies for the most up-to-date information before planning your journey to Nuuk.

Kit List

Not all sailing areas require the same gear, the same foul weather equipment or even the same shorts. But some items you must always bring. In this kit list we hope to give you a small insight in what to bring, but of course, please consider this list might not encumber all that you would wish to take!
Very important is that your bag or small suitcase needs to be stored in the room, under your bed, there is limited space – so bring a foldable bag! the following is Tecla's standard included/excluded and kit list. Below this you can find more specific info and kit lists dependant on sailing area.

What's Included (Standard)

  • Coffee and tea
  • Blanket, sheets, pillow and covers (for longer voyages there will be clean bed linen)
  • 3-4 crew members guiding the group
  • 1 towel
  • For longer voyages you can wash clothes once halfway through the voyage

What's not Included (Standard)

  • Soda and alcoholic drinks 
  • Landing fees and Paid excursions ashore
  • Transfer to and from the vessel
  • Visa if needed
  • You can not wash clothes on board on shorter voyages

What should you always bring

  • Soap (preferably parabens and plastic free)
  • Tooth brush & Toothpaste
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Socks (at least until halfway through the voyage)
  • Underwear (at least until halfway through the voyage)
  • Binoculars (if you like bird watching, we have a pair on board, but it stays in the back close
    to the navigational area, it does not go on hikes)
  • Sunscreen
  • Photocamera (or you can ask other guests for their pictures)
  • Chargers for electrical equipment – there is 220v with central European plugs and a usb
    plug in the cabin
  • Day pack rug sack or small bag for hikes.
  • Water bottle for hikes
  • A good mood and an open mind
  • Passport
  • Visa if required
  • Valid Insurance papers
  • Personal Medicines
  • Seasickness pills if you need them

Ocean Crossing

When the ocean crossing is not part of the Southern Ocean sailing (so no South Georgia or Antarctica included) the crossings are usually in warm weather. Going from North to South, please be advised that the weather in the Falkland Islands is cool and wet! So also bring at
least one set of warm clothing.

  • Waterproof jacket (can be sailing gear, but hiking gear, light weight jackets are very nice as well)
  • Waterproof pants
  • T shirts (at least 5)
  • Shorts (at least 2)
  • Long pants
  • Light / cool footwear with grip on deck (can be flipflops or sandles)
  • Waterproof boots / footwear
  • Swimming outfit
  • Sunhat
  • Merino wool thermal wear (can be light weight)
  • Water bottle (yes it said so in what always to bring, but during warm days, this is really a must!)

Greenland & Iceland

If there are any items you usually take on your hikes, and they are easy to take in your luggage, don’t forget to bring them!

  • Hiking waterproof pant
  • Hiking waterproof jacket
  • Wool sweater
  • A lightweight down jacket can be very nice
  • Warm head wear
  • Buff or neck scarf
  • Gloves against the cold, not necessarily for sailing
  • Long pants
  • T Shirt
  • Sweater
  • Merino Wool full under layer (at least 1 full set, depending on length voyage, 2 sets)

Falkland, South Georgia & Antarctica

On the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica there are different levels of Bio-Security we will have to comply with. To make it easy on yourself we recommend you bring one set of hiking gear that you would like to use on shore, that is completely cleaned at home. This means Velcro is cleaned and does not contain any seeds or pollen. Your pockets are empty of any seeds, pollen, sand etc. Your boots are cleaned, no sand or mud on them.
This way, getting ready for the first landing becomes a walk in the park. For more information on Bio Security, please contact us.

These surroundings can be very cold, especially on longer watches. And also because these areas are protected, we ask you to take at least two sets of wet weather gear, with one of them at least completely clean. If you have sailing gear, perfect, but also bring some light weight, waterproof hiking gear. We recommend goretex pro of any brand. This is tough and durable. Often easy to clean and light weight.

For the cold

  • Merino wool 180/200gr thermal underwear (at least 3 sets)
  • Down jacket (if possible 800/900gr filling is the best)
  • Down jacket (700gr) or windstopper jacket
  • Woolen sweater
  • Warm head wear
  • Buff or neck scarf
  • Gloves against the cold, not necessarily for sailing (two pairs)

For the Rain

  • Waterproof footwear
  • Waterproof hiking footwear
  • Waterproof hiking jacket
  • Waterproof hiking pants

In the cold, making layers is important. If there is no rain, most 800gr down jackets with a merino wool layer underneath are warm enough. If it rains, most jackets do not fit over the down jacket. Therefore we recommend layer one merino wool, layer two a woollen sweater, layer three a thinner down jacket or wind stopper and layer four your water proof jacket.

Of course we understand that not everybody has these items in their closet. Please contact us if you are unsure what to pack.

North West Passage or Taste of the North West Passage

Summer in the Northern Territories of Canada can be cold, but they can be beautiful and warm as well. During the 2019 voyage we have had days of 2 degrees and days of 19 degrees. We had nights of 0 degrees, but also nights with a warm land breeze, where a woollen sweater and merino under layer were enough.

  • Hiking waterproof pants
  • Hiking waterproof jacket
  • Wool sweater
  • Warm head wear
  • Buff or neck scarf
  • Gloves against the cold, not necessarily for sailing
  • Long pants
  • T Shirt
  • Sweater
  • Merino Wool full under layer (at least 3 full sets)
  • Down jacket (if possible 800/900gr filling is the best)
  • Down jacket (700gr) or windstopper jacket
  • Waterproof boots
  • Hiking shoes

Review

This trip fulfilled my desire for adventure sailing as we transited the north coast of Iceland, along the Arctic Circle. Even though it was rough, the boat and crew performed admirably.

Bruce

An enjoyable week in less than ideal weather conditions. The crew were competent and friendly, the catering excellent. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a voyage on Tecla.

Jonathan

A great mix of sailing in Scottish waters, some super hikes and an opportunity to see some of the immensely important historical sites in the Orkneys and Sheltands.  

Mooring alongside in the Fair Isles was a great privilege.  

The ocean passage to the Faroes was quiet but as a result we were blessed with clear skies whilst slinking in and out of the islands and some of the best coastal views one could hope to see anywhere.  

The ocean passage to Iceland was a bit of a bimble until we were 60 miles off and then it got exciting.  Thanks to a great skipper and permanent crew we snuggled into a fjord whilst the cruise ship ran aground in Reykjavik harbour.  A good holiday, an adventure and fun.

K

Any initial doubts as to the number and experience of the crew were very quickly dispelled and we were impressed with the knowledge and the handling skills of the skipper and the 2 mates. Every opportunity was taken to enhance our enjoyment on both voyages and at every stage we were made to feel relaxed and under no obligation to crew the ship under sometimes testing (but enjoyable) conditions. As an observation, we must congratulate the skipper for her culinary skills under difficult conditions..........the food was perfect for the voyage.

Geoff

A delight. A competent and engaging professional crew, an interesting voyage with some challenges and some great rewards. Good companions to make the log spin around.

Mike

Brilliant. I would do it again tomorrow. And good value too. The food was excellent. I loved the spicy meatballs and my wife loved the fresh langoustines.

Steve

Most enjoyable classic sailing with great food, a true sense of teamwork, great guidance and a good sense of humour. Can't get any better. 

Thomas

Vessel Gallery

Globe trotting Tall Ship Tecla in action and images. This historic gaff ketch is our Iceland Specialist and also has Greenland Sailing Expeditions. Photos from Classic Sailing customers, ships crew and professional photographers. We hope it gives a flavour of her sailing, life on board, the people that come, her beautiful sailing grounds and what it is like to live below decks.

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