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Opal - Greenland Sailing Programme 2019 - Arctic Summer Specialists

Opal under sail in Greenland

Opal will be based in Greenland as soon as the sea ice melts  - Late July 2018. Many of her Greenland mini expeditions are extremely popular and are already fully booked. However, do ring Classic Sailing Office for current availability as berths on board do become available.

Schooners Opal, Donna Wood and Hildur are run by an Icelandic family business that specialises in whale watching back home in Skjalfandi Bay. NE Iceland. They have been taking their sailing ships to East Greenland each summer for over 6 years exploring the extensive Scoresby Sound and trekking the spectacular tundra and mountain wilderness with charter guest crews.

If you want to experience a polar region on a wooden sailing ship and only have a limited time, then flying out from Iceland to East Greenland, at latitude 71 degrees north gets you deep into the Arctic Circle to begin your action packed 7 days expedition. Enjoy sailing this vast fjord system with icebergs as guest crew and stop for awe inspiring treks amongst dramatic mountains, glaciers and arctic wildlife like walrus, arctic foxes, polar bears and musk ox.

Opal - Silent Electric Engine

Greenland is often very calm with no wind. Opal has a revolutionary hybrid electric engine running off batteries. When the schooner is sailing fast under wind power alone, the propeller turning can re charge the batteries. In windy Iceland Opal can be carbon neutral. In Greenland it is harder to be fossil fuel free as the summer high pressure rarely produces strong wind sailing. The batteries are then charged by diesel, but the electric engine is silent so you can enjoy the nature around you.

Opal offers awe inspiring wildlife watching opportunities.
Opal offers awe inspiring wildlife watching opportunities.

Arctic Under Sail

If you have been inspired by the beauty of the landscape on BBC Frozen Planet then this voyage will be a photographers delight. If you harbour deep concerns about global warming, the plight of polar bears, and want to know more about this fragile ecosystem then this voyage is a way of finding out more for yourself whilst participating as guest crew. A self sufficient sailing ship like Opal takes you into a remote polar wilderness in an environmentally benign way. Travelling by your own physical efforts setting sails, hoisting and lowering ships boats all helps connect you with the local community - who live day to day dictated by the sea and the elements.  By working together as a ships crew (professionals and guests of many nationalities) soon becomes a close knit group more akin to an expedition than an Arctic Cruise. English is usually the working language used aboard that most guest crew can understand and the Icelandic Captains and guides speak excellent English, but socially conversation can be in many languages - depending on the mix of guests. Germans, Swiss, French, British, Icelandic, Austrian, Canadian and American are typical adventurers who like sailing and trekking on board.

Opal in Greenland.
Opal in Greenland.

Each summer schooner Opal ventures North, deep into the Arctic Circle, to the rarely visited East Coast of Greenland.  The ocean 'hop' from Iceland is quite challenging with icebergs being swept down from the North so these are not charter voyages, but once schooner Opal hs reached Scoresby Sound a spectacular sailing ground for the short Arctic Summer awaits. A few adventurous yachts now explore West Greenland, but the East Coast requires a more specialist commitment to run charter voyages.  As you venture into the fjord system towards the icecap the route gets narrower, the seas are totally flat so this is a great voyage for those new to sailing and living on boats (i.e. seasickness very unlikely).


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