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Reykjavik to Nuuk: Southern Greenland Explorer

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Thu 11-07-2024, 18:00Reykjavik, Iceland Thu 25-07-2024, 10:00Nuuk, The Capital of Greenland Tecla 14 NightsTC110724

Starting from Iceland and sailing to Greenland aboard Arctic specialist Tecla. 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 whatsoever. This 15 day trip is a fantastic taster of high latitude sailing, with a great mix of deep ocean passages, coastal explorations, trips ashore and cracking sailing.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


Exploring Reykjavik

Viking History

Rounding Cape Farewll

Mountain Trekking

Skirting the sea ice and icebergs

Excellent whale watching potential

Exploring Nuuk with its fascinating history


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


Intrepid  sailors who know they like being at sea. East Greenland is virtually uninhabited South of Scorseby Sound apart from Kulasuk. The whole coast is icebound until about June-July when the sea ice breaks up, so the first half of this voyage is mostly continuous ocean sailing where the coast may be inaccessible until you round Cap Farvel, Ideal for adventurers who like the unexpected and true sailors who want to sail one of the world’s famous capes.

If you are a wildlife lover with good sea legs that can handle 3 weeks mostly at sea then you are maximising your opportunities for spotting wildlife like blue whale, Humpbacks or orca  Once around the Cape to West Greenland the huge fjords are 50-70km deep into the interior with many side fjords. The sea ice can still be a problem near the Cape but as you get nearer to Nuuk the coast becomes relatively free of ice flows in the summer and the shore landings options are all in spectacular mountain scenery with some of the biggest glaciers on the planet. A mecca for wilderness trekkers and landscape photographers.

distinctive geology and icebergs in Greenland
distinctive geology and icebergs in Greenland


Be Prepared for Changes of Plan

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, especially in places like Greenland where there are very few places to re provision or ask for local knowledge and charts may be sparse with depth information.. Caution and constant vigilance is needed on changing weather, sea ice drift and iceberg hazards at anchor. 


Sense of History – In the wake of the Polar Explorers

Tecla’s skippers have  genuine interest in all things Arctic and the history of exploration in these parts. Debbie in the Classic Sailing office has sailed on Tecla in places like Faroes, and Iceland and also sailed in East 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. It is also interesting to ponder on how various cultures have survived these harsh but beautiful lands from the Vikings to the Inuit and European explorers, Whalers, and fur traders

crew ashore in Greenland. Sailing expeditions on Tecla
crew ashore in Greenland. Sailing expeditions on Tecla

Experience the Best of Iceland First

Reykjavik is a fascinating city, and easy to reach by plane. We recommend arriving a day or two early to explore the city and stunning surrounding landscapes.

Stepping aboard Tecla here there may well be time to take in, by sea, some of the other delights Iceland has to offer, all while learning the ropes ahead of striking out into the deep ocean.

Fjord of the Whales & Hornbjarg Bird Cliffs

Hrafnsfjordur anchorage is part of the voyage through Hornstrandir. A vast area largely abandoned in the 1950 and left to look after its self. There are no roads, making a ship, the only possible way into the reserve. The people who used to live here cultivated small pieces of land to support their cattle with hay during the darker months. After the abandonment, the flora slowly started to recover its former and original state. The now 260 flowering plants and ferns are a good summer hiding place for the arctic foxes who made a remarkable recovery and there are more here than anywhere else in Iceland. A hand full of houses abandoned and restored are the last reminder of the small scale civilisation that once lived here

Depending on the weather and wind forcast we, shape our course. Our first destination might be Hornbjarg and its towering bird cliffs. It is home to many sea birds during the short and intensive summer. Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Fulmars are the main inhabitants. They are fair game for the Arctic fox and her cups. Always luring and risking their own lives to secure an evening meal. The walks up the cliffs are breath taking. It gives a great view into the Greenland Sund and over the bay and mountains to the East.

ocean sailing on Tecla
ocean sailing on Tecla

Ocean Passage towards Greenland

The journey to Greenland is a proper ocean passage. You will angle South towards the Southern tip of Greenland or a bit higher up the coast if it looks like there is a possibility of landing on this side. Most likely Tecla will have to stay 100 miles out of the coast until we reach the bottom of Greenland as there is to much drift ice along the coast and the entrances to the fjords are hazardous, but  it depends a bit on the Ice prediction at that time. The cold current that sweeps down the East side brings with it a lot of  broken sea ice and giant ice bergs, but it is the smaller growlers in rough sea to watch out for as they don’t always show on radar.

Tecla skipper will be making use of ice charts as well as forecasts to plan the route and make decisions on how close to the coast the ship goes and whether it is safe to work her way into the shore on either coast.

Sea Ice down the East Greenland Coast by NASA Earth Observatory
Sea Ice down the East Greenland Coast by NASA Earth Observatory

Greenland Identity & Culture

Making our way to Nuuk, there will be several fjords we can attempt to visit.

Nuuk as a city is the largest and fastest growing cities of Greenland. With over 17.000 inhabitants, it is still a small city compared which gives you the opportunity to really see the live of the local people in Greenland.  

Historically Nuuk has had inhabitants long before the Vikings came there, even before the Iniuts settled nearby, Nuuk was already a place where people gathered. 

Flights from Nuuk to Reykjavik are daily. And although in winter time the ice wins land and spreads out also into the bay of Nuuk, in the summer time Nuuk is free of most forms of ice. The city houses a large part of the population of Greenland. Once founded by early settlers and called ‘Good Hope’, it was only after the second world war, when the Greenlandic National identity was reawakened that the city was renamed, Nuuk, translated this means Cape. The National museum has a collection of Inuit mummies dating back to the 15th century. The Cultural Centre of Nuuk displays the work of a different Greenland Artist each year, which is well worth a visit.

What Wildlife Might I See?

This Voyage is South of the Arctic Circle. You are out the range of Arctic species like Polar Bear, Narwhal and Beluga whales but the West coast of Greenland is good for Blue Whales, Humpbacks and Orca.

There is excellent bird watching opportunities in Iceland at the beginning of you voyage and ashore is a botanists delight.

What can I learn about the Inuit and Arctic Exploration?

As you would expect from a ship that has sailed around the world, rounded Cape Horn under sail and is planning to sail the North West Passage, Tecla has an interesting library of books in different languages. There is a lot on Arctic exploration and a bit about the Inuits and what they taught European explorers like Dr John Rae, who were prepared to learn polar skills in hunting and over wintering.  In Nuuk you will find a lot more with the National Museum and the Inuit Art Museum

Tecla has a good library for polar explorers
Tecla has a good library for polar explorers


Even better! Last year we were sailing the Hornstrandir fjords on Tecla, it was fantastic! This year our three-week voyage to Greenland (2017) has been even better. Awesome!!! We’ve been sailing through the ice, passing massive icebergs, seeing magnificent glaciers … with the tranquillity of being guided by an experienced skipper and his great crew, in the company of a group of friendly and funny guest mates.” Maria and Manuel C


This voyage is nothing like sailing in Greenland Scorseby Sound. You are in the open sea with potential for strong winds and waves as well as huge icebergs and broken sea ice. If Tecla stays well offshore (100 miles plus) you may avoid most the ice and you are just dealing with Atlantic Ocean in June – July. Daylight hours will be good and air temperatures not dissimilar to Faroes or Shetland in summer. Cap Farvel is on the same latitude as Stavanger and Shetland- which is why the Vikings could find it. Nuuk is a similar latitude to Reykjavik. The whopping great Greenland Ice Cap affects the weather and the Greenland high Pressure can create very stable,dry weather with sunshine and incredible visibility. 


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 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.


  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance


  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks but there is a bar to buy beers and wine
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs



Start & End Port

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.

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.

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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