|Sat 27-08-2022, 18:00Reykjavik, Iceland||Sat 17-09-2022, 10:00Ullapool, Scotland||Tecla||21 Nights||TC270822|
A very different time of year to be sailing through these island groups. If you want an intrepid way of exploring the Faroes, Shetland Isles, and the ever welcoming anchorages of the Orkney Isles then this is your sailing expedition. A great excuse to buy and wear an Icelandic jumper and a woolly hat from the Fair Isle knitters. The seas around Iceland can be epic and you will earn the respect of the hardy local inhabitants when you step ashore. The birds are migrating South and the stone circles of Callanish on Lewis, Outer Hebrides are moody and mystical. You might even see the Northern Lights.
Those who love journeying under sail and find this old Viking trading route interesting. Anyone who loves to meet the communities that live on remote islands and find out more about their local cultures.Sailors looking for proper ocean sailing in between the archipelagi, Robinson Crusoe types who like empty beaches and hill walkers and mountaineers that are drawn to some of the highest seacliffs in Europe.
Tecla sailed around the world in 2012-13 with Europa and Oosterschelde. She crossed the South and North Atlantic, Indian Ocean, the wild seas of South Australia, raced in the Tasman Sea and sailed across the Pacific to round Cape Horn. She is a fast ship that does well in tall ships races. Run by two Dutch families she likes to create unusual sailing programmes and her crews like to explore ashore with as much energy as they sail the ship.
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.
If you can grab a few days in Iceland before you sail, then Reykjavik has a good tourist information centre and the country is set up for day excursions or 2-3 day adventures into the interior. If you are already overstretched on your holiday leave then don’t worry as your voyage has experiences a plenty. With an evening start on the ship you could fly there the same day and still end up doing some tempting shopping in Reykjavik’s stylish shops. Departing Reykjavik you may stop on the Westmann Isles.
Tecla crew love to stop in the Westman Islands just off the SW corner of Iceland on the way home. Apart from its large Puffin colony, the Islands have much to over in ways of geology. This group of Islands is only 12000 years old! In 1973 a volcanic fissure opened up the main Island and a new volcano, Eldfell gushed out lava streams. As a result the Island became two square miles bigger.
Leaving Heimaey Tecla now sets off for another group of Islands, The Faroe Islands. You are out in the deep ocean blue now and it is hurricane season in the Caribbean so you can get some pretty large summer storms sweep across the North Atlantic that sometimes track as far North as Scotland or Iceland. This group of 18 islands is fully exposed to the fury of the Ocean in winter and sometimes it can seem quite wild in summer.The Faroe Islands are also in the North Atlantic current so you could see almost anything in terms of marine wildlife. It isolated and life here is still tough but you are home to some of the world’s most awesome views. The first sight of land after a 400nml sail over the North Atlantic open water!
If the weather is fair the cliffs off Slaettaratindur will be visible from a great distance. These are Europe’s highest sea cliffs at 882 mtrs above sea level. First port of call will be Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe’s. After clearing customs and immigration we will explore the Islands and magnificent fjords. The Faroe Islands where chosen number one destination 2015 by the readers of National Geographic Traveler. Criteria’s being, sustainable, culturally minded, authentic, superlative, and timely.
The Islands have much to absorb. Places like the Viking excavation site at Kvivik. Gannets bomb diving at their largest colony at Vestmanna Take the steps down to Gjogv natural harbour and be overwhelmed by the nature surrounding you! Make the hike to Ambadalur valley and gaze at the marvellous site of Bugvin, the tallest freestanding cliff column in the Faroe’s! And there is more! Mykines to the west with its bird colonies of Puffins, Gannets, Fulmars, and Black Guillemots. Take the walk up to the light house over the challenging free hanging bridge towering 35 meters above the Atlantic Ocean.
Whatever you might think of the whaling, the Faroes are a place of dramatic sea cliffs, swirling mists and legend. The cliffs of Slaettaratindur are 882 metres high and the tallest sea cliffs in Europe. Ashore there are Viking village remains to visit at Kvalvik. Maybe find a sauna to relax in at Torshavn. The ship will be well stocked with Dutch beer so chatting to the locals with a beer on deck, will help preserve your ‘pocket money’. Look out for the colourful turf roof houses.
There are 18 islands in the Faroes group and they all stand fully exposed to the fury of the North Atlantic. It is a windswept place, and not a destination your average yachtsperson cruises, so you need a bit of a pioneering spirit for this 21 voyage, similar to ocean crossings.
Leaving this north Atlantic archipelago another stretch of open water lies ahead of us. The 190 nautical miles typically take no more than 36 hours, a good time to contemplate thoughts. Keeping the ship on an south easterly heading, Lerwick is our next stop, this famous old herring port used to be filled with herring drifters of all sorts. The Dutch also used this port to land their catch and take in new provisions. Tecla was originally a Herring Drifter, fishing for Herring all around the North Sea, so she should feel at home in Lerwick – once a major herring port.
After clearing customs and immigration, Lerwick is a good base from where to start exploring the main land. Sites like Jarlshof-Prehistoric and Norse settlement are a must when visiting the Shetlands. Unst with Hermaness National Nature Reserve has a great variety of wild live, birds as well as mammals. If we are lucky well even get to spot an otter! Making our way south Fair Isle is our last stop in the Shetlands. Lying halfway between the Orkneys and Shetland, it is one of Britain’s most successful remote communities and known for the warmth of its welcome to visitors.
Fair Isle is allegedly a very friendly place for visitors….but then you are a rare commodity in this remote island between Orkney and Shetland. Famous for its fisherman’s colourful jumper patterns and the shipping forecast, but when you meet the people it becomes as fascinating as all isolated communities. Everyone has a skill or two and several jobs.
The next evening you will set sail for the Orkney Isles. Orkney’s second largest island rises dramatically from the sea with ward hill towering 480 metres above sea level.
Depending on the wind and weather Westray or Sanday will be our first stop on the Orkney’s. Both Islands offer great cultural history as well as unspoiled beaches with a large range of wild live. Sailing among these Islands we will stumble across sea mammals include common and grey seals, otters, orcas, dolphins and porpoises and the occasional lost sperm whale. Navigating between the rocks and stacs, Stromness is our next port of call. From Stromness we will set out on an excursion around the main Island, visiting sites like Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe. That evening we will make the short hop to Hoy. Orkney’s second largest Island rises dramatically from the sea with Ward Hill towering 480 mtrs above sea level. Leaving the “Old men of Hoy” on the horizon we will soon spot the Butt of Lewis.
Leaving Cape Wrath well to port with Stornoway our new destination. From here we will have the next day to explore the sites of Gearannan black house village and the Callanisch standing stones. When we set sail for Ullapool we end an epic journey. Passing the Summer Isles in the footsteps of ancient explores!
The crew of Tecla were made very welcome by the local community in Ullapool in 2015, so the ship is back in the harbour in 2016 and starting all her Outer Hebrides and St Kilda voyages from here. Even further North than Eda Frandsen’s summer base in Mallaig. Ullapool is North of Skye, North of Torridon and level in latitude with the Shiant Islands.
For the open stretches it would be typical North Atlantic Ocean sailing which can be storms, rain squalls, strong winds and big swell, but might also be benign, blue and sunny with light winds. It all depends on the high and low pressure systems, but once you are out there, you can run but you cant hide until the next group of islands. Temperatures would be similar to sailing in NW Scotland at this time of year and the seas are still warm enough to swim in. Within the Archipelagi of Shetland and Orkney you have coastal type sailing similar to the Scillies or Hebrides with flat bits and tidal races. probably not the trip for those prone to seasickness.
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.
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.
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.
For Joining any vessel, head to the harbour where your ship will more than likely be the only sailing vessel. Address: The Pier, Ullapool IV26 2UH
As a base for starting a sailing holiday, Ullapool rewards those who take the trouble to travel this far North. On the entrance to Loch Broom are the Summer Isles and if you head out West you come to the Shiant Islands before your reach Harris and Lewis. From here, it is a relatively short hop to St Kilda, or the Flannan Isles. The sailing grounds are virtually empty and in June it feels like the sun hardly sets. At nearly N 58 degrees latitude Ullapool is further North than Moscow. Its a long way up from Edinburgh, but not as difficult to get to as you might think.
Ullapool is nestled on the shores of Loch Broom. Whatever the weather, you are immediately struck by Ullapool’s whiteness and by its regularity of design and layout. This is a legacy of the town’s origins, being designed and built in 1788 by Thomas Telford and the British Fisheries Society to exploit a boom in herring fishing at the time.
The town is also the main terminus for the car and passenger ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. The ferry operates seven days per week so all the public transport to Ullapool is good and there are plenty of accommodation options in the town.
As a base for exploring the north west of Scotland, Ullapool is ideal. It has accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets, including one of the best (and best located) campsites in this part of Scotland. And since the upgrading of most of the roads further north it is within reasonable reach of many parts of the region that twenty-five years ago would have needed a major expedition to reach.
Ullapool offers some very nice pubs, including the Ferry Boat Inn. It also has a range of shops from the smallest right up to a well-stocked supermarket: anyone on a self catering holiday is sure to be visiting the latter at some point during their stay.
For those wanting to know more about the area the excellent Ullapool Museum & Visitor Centre on West Argyle Street can be highly recommended. This is in the old parish church, and tells the story of the people of Loch Broom and the history of Ullapool.
THIS IS TECLA standard voyage kit list. Specialist Antarctic kit list to follow shortly
There is limited storage space on Tecla so please pack all you belongings in a soft rucksack or bag.
What did you enjoy the most? Very difficult to separate out the various events but certainly the fjord voyage was better due to the increased variety of the programme. What was the worst bit? A shore-to-ship rib transfer in rough and windy conditions. Why do you sail? Freedom, adventure, commonality of purpose. Summary of the voyage. 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. Two voyages on Tecla Spring 2019
This was a great voyage. 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 Fair Isle 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 Barker, Tecla Ullapool to Reykjavik, May 2018
What was the best bit? Sailing under the Skye Bridge on a windy, sunny morning. .. What was the worst bit? Being sea sick on the first day, but I can't blame the boat or the crew for that - just the stormy weather. Why do you sail? I have never sailed before, this was a 'give it a try' holiday - it hasn't put me off doing it again sometime Any other comments An enjoyable week in less than ideal weather conditions. The crew was competent and friendly, the catering excellent - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a voyage on Tecla." Jonathan E. Sailing in Scotland
"Brilliant, I would do it again tomorrow. And good value too. Food was excellent. I loved the spicy meat balls and my wife loved the fresh langoustines." Steve.
The voyage was " 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
What aspects did you enjoy most? "The sailing from Faroes isles to Iceland in perfect weather." What aspects did you enjoy least? "cannot answer this question as enjoyed every single moment" If you could sum up the trip? "It was my first voyage. I just thought I like being out, I like being active, and I like the sea, so I will have a look at sailing. After that marvellous experience I will certainly continue." Annon feedback form May 2015
Sailed on Tecla to St Kilda in June - amazing crew (Gijs, Janet, Barbara) and great company. I loved everything about the trip and strongly recommend to join the Tecla folks. Most enjoyable classic sailing with great food, true sense of teamwork, great guidance and good sense of humour. Can't get any better." Cheers, Thomas M.
"Best Experience Ever (5 stars for sailing, crew and food) " David on TC28/04/14
I sailed aboard Tecla from Oban to the Scillies in very early May. It was cold, wet and mostly pretty windy. It was thoroughly excellent. The Tecla is a great little ship, but it was the skipper and crew (paid and "trainees") that made it for me. Great job, thanks guys. I plan to come again. Steve W
I‘d never been sailing in Iceland or on Tecla so this was a double first for me. What I like about remote places is that the people you meet are welcoming and pleased to see you. They seem to be secure in their communities and proud of where they live. In 8 days in Iceland I only saw one policeman very very briefly. Not at the airport but following us for about 30 seconds in a police car in Reykjavik. Was it cold in Iceland, Yes and No, on arrival there was no need for more than 2 layers on top and one below. But later when sailing and the wind picked up from the north it did require 5 top layers and 2 below but we were less than 30 miles from the Arctic Circle! Overall I really enjoyed the voyage and the wildlife. Adam Purser June 2018
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.
Blue Clipper Oban to Oban inner Hebrides BC230522
Exploring St Kilda Outer Hebrides Shiants BC010622
Blue Clipper Oban to Oban Inner HebridesBC120622
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