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Sailing in Greenland and Iceland

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Sat 30-09-2023, 18:00Nuuk, The Capital of Greenland Mon 16-10-2023, 10:00Reykjavik, Iceland Tecla 16 NightsTC309023

Starting form Greenland, sailing to Iceland. A proper crossing at the end of the season. Teamwork is what it takes, making sure you are well rested for your watches. You will enjoy some of the most spectacular Northern light displays as you sail on the ocean with no light pollution what soever. 

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  • Vessel

Ideal Voyage to explore Greenland

Starting form Greenland, sailing to Iceland. A proper crossing at the end of the season. Teamwork is what it takes, making sure you are well rested for your watches. You will enjoy some of the most spectacular Northern light displays as you sail on the ocean with no light pollution what soever. 

But you will first get your sea legs exploring off the West and South coast of Greenland. If the winds are favorable and you arrive in Iceland early, there will be time to explore the Breidafjordur area and the fjords closer to Reykjavik.


  • Nuuk, Greenland
  • Viking history
  • Cape Farewell
  • Reykjavik, Capital of Iceland


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


Those with a true sense of adventure that want to spend high summer in the Arctic Wilderness. East Greenland is virtually uninhabited apart from two villages and the whole coast is icebound until about June-July when the sea ice breaks up. Ideal for Iceberg lovers and those hoping to maximise their chances of spotting rare wildlife like Narwhal, Orca or Beluga.  The ‘hop’ from NW Iceland is a proper ocean passage and within the Arctic Circle so career sailors can add polar experience to their logbooks.


  • Sail in the Arctic Circle

  • Explore Scoresby Sound

  • 124ft historic tall ship – gaff ketch Tecla

  • Mountain Trekking and tundra flowers

  • Excellent Whale Watching Potential

  • Rare species like Beluga, Narwhal, Walrus or Polar Bear

  • All Sailing Instruction included

  • All food included

  • Full accommodation onboard

Tecla in the far north
Tecla in the far north



Expedition Style Voyage

Tecla sailing from Iceland to Greenland is now familiar territory but there is always more to explore and her skippers are keen to find new anchorages and sailing grounds. So for her multinational professional crew it is as much as an expedition as it is for the guests.

By working together as a ships crew (professionals and guests of many nationalities) you soon becomes a close knit group more akin to an expedition than an Arctic Cruise.

The owners of Tecla have been working with a wildlife guide that knows Iceland and Greenland well and has helped formulate the summer programme. Debbie in the Classic Sailing office has also visited both Iceland and Greenland and we feel the programme they have created, includes some of the best sailing destinations and will give you a real taste of wild landscapes in the Arctic Circle.

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 past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.

Tecla in Greenland - 3 week expeditions
Tecla in Greenland – 3 week expeditions

The Denmark Strait

Before crossing the Denmark Straight Tecla will head up to Hornstrandir, a Nature Reserve north of Isafjordur. This is a good place to wait or head across the Denmark Straight once the Captain has a suitable weather report and an ice free passage. (Unfortunately one of the effects of global warming is that there is hardly ever any ice at this time of year, but of course the captain will still check the ice reports.)

The crossing to East Greenland will take about one day and a night and then Tecla will head north up the East Greenland coast to Scoresby Sound.

Scoresby Sound


There is only one tiny community in Scoresby Sound, on the north side of fjord entrance is Ittoqqortoormiit perhaps the most isolated village of the world. Ittoqqortoormiit was founded in the 1925s by people from Ammassalik. It is the most northerly settlement on the east coast of Greenland. The 450 inhabitants make their living mostly by subsistence hunting of seals, Narwhale, Muskoxen and Polar Bear. The quaint little houses dot the rocky slopes of south Liverpool Land with magnificent views of Kap Brewster and the Volquart Boons Coast to the south.

The Inuit of Arctic East Greenland

The Greenlandic Inuit share a common language and culture with those in Canada and Alaska, and the ancestors of the present day Greenlanders have inhabited the country for 4000-5000 years. Whilst the West Coast of Greenland is relatively populated, the East Coast far less so. The community here represents one of the oldest and most isolated in Europe, separated from their countrymen on the West Coast by vast high ice cap.  A wide belt of sea ice grips the whole coast for most of the year, and until commercial flights arrived the East Coast was cut off from the rest of the world.  The consequence is that the East coast dialect is unique and there are many individual traditions and handicrafts.  Primary occupations are still hunting and fishing, sometimes by traditional kayak.

unemployed huskies in Ittoqqortoormiit
unemployed huskies in Ittoqqortoormiit


Scoresby Sound is a huge fjord system with a tree-like structure of branching off fjords. The main body approximately 68 miles long and the whole system covers an area of about 38,000 km2 (14,700 sq mi). As you venture into the fjord system towards the icecap the route gets narrower and narrower. Just going around the main island of Milne will take up most of the time available.

Anyone familiar to Classic Sailing will know that we try and create action packed holidays on every voyage with sailing and skills to learn, memorable meals, walking ashore, learning about wildlife and cultures but you will rarely pin us down to an itinerary as we are all sailors and flexible by nature.  The Greenland High in summer give stable, sunny days with very little wind but crystal clear skies and a full range of mountain panoramas …..but you are next to the second biggest icecap in the world so if the weather does change, then you can have a different kind of polar experience….or some thrilling sailing.

gaff ketch Tecla has 3 week sailing expeditions to Greenland
Scorseby Sound has many glaciers calving ice into this extensive sailing ground.

Arctic Under Sail

If you have been inspired by the wildlife on BBC Frozen Planet and the future plight of the Arctic with global warming then this voyage is a way of finding out more for yourself whilst participating as guest crew. A self sufficient sailing ship Tecla takes you into a remote polar wilderness in an environmentally benign way but also travelling by your own physical efforts setting sails, hoisting and lowering ships boats all helps connect you with the local community – who have a tough living dictated by the sea and the elements.  Germans, Swiss, French, British, Icelandic, Austrian, Canadian and American are typical adventurers who like sailing and trekking on board Tecla.

Clothing in Greenland is tricky. It can range from baking sun to chilly
Clothing in Greenland is tricky. It can range from baking sun to chilly

Start in Isafjordur and end in Reykjavik


How rough the Denmark Strait is in the way to Greenland depends on the position of the Greenland High Pressure system, the jet stream and the path of the Westerly depressions.

The earlier expedition is likely to face a more challenging route up the coast of Greenland and into Scorseby Sound as the coastal sea ice is only just breaking up. the whole of Greenland has huge glaciers calving icebergs into the sea and they travel South with the current.

The later expedition might experience stronger winds on the way back if any big August tropical storms are sweeping North towards Iceland as they cross the Atlantic.

Close to Greenland the weather can be very stable high pressure and clear sunny skies, but weather in polar regions is getting more unusual. Be prepared for heatwave to gale and fog.


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.


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.

classic Sailing founder Debbie overlooking Scorseby Sound
classic Sailing founder Debbie overlooking Scorseby Sound


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 a voyage, 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.



Start & End Port

Nuuk, The Capital of Greenland

A great place to understand old and new aspects of Inuit Culture, Nuuk shows both sides. It is the modern centre of Greenland with its city restaurants, fashion shops and as a tourist gateway to all sorts of outdoor adventures. Down on the historic waterfront you get a feeling that the old traditions, history and independence are still very important to the locals, even if they are now city dwellers. There is Greenland National Museum and the Inuit Art Museum here to learn more.

Although the exact joining location may not be known until much closer to the time, it is likely that Tecla will be somewhere near the harbour – where the ferry comes in on the map below. Make sure you make a note of the boat phone number found in your confirmation for any problems and up to date location on the day.

You can also track Tecla using the marine tracker.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik Port Pdf

Join Tecla in Reykjavik by heading to the yacht harbour in front of the opera house where you will find your ship. When Tecla arrives back into Reykjavik, she is more likely to be in the Old Harbour. Both are next to each other and within walking distance, you can get a bus or taxi right to the boat.

Joining location for Blue Clipper is likely to be similar to the map below.

Any changes will be communicated to you before your voyage start date. Make sure you make a note of the ship’s number found in your confirmation email in case of any problems on the day.

Kit List

Kit List for Tecla 

THIS IS TECLA standard voyage kit list. Specialist Antarctic kit list to follow shortly


  • Sailing instruction 
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to including refreshments throughout the day.
  • Bed linen, duvet, pillows and towels. 

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from the start and end port. 
  • Optional trips or tours taken ashore
  • Meals ashore
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Personal towels


What to bring

There is limited storage space on Tecla so please pack all you belongings in a soft rucksack or bag.

  • Footwear: Shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes. (Sandals are great for beaches but you do need toe protection for sailing). Tecla has steel decks so waterproof walking boots are fine at sea in moderate winds and dry conditions and great for voyages where you might do some rough terrain walking like Iceland and Scotland. 
  • Rubber Boots or second pair of shoes for wet weather or getting in/out of dinghies. 
  • Swim suit & beach towel
  • Suntan lotion & sunglasses
  • Sun hat / warm hat, scarves, gloves
  • Clothes that dry quickly like fleeces and thermals. Mix of warm, waterproof & windproof layers. Wool jumpers are warm, even when wet, but can take a while to dry. Merino wool type shirts are good for under layers.
  • Small rucksack for going ashore
  • Travel insurance documents/any travel tickets
  • Personal medicines/ spectacles/ seasick tablets –check which brand if you suffer from asthma or are on regular medication.
  • Camera/binoculars etc
  • Modest quantity of alcohol for evening meals
  • You are welcome to bring musical instruments



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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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