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Sailing in the Faroes Archipelago

The 18 islands of the Faroes are hard to miss as a landmark for sailors sailing between Iceland and Scotland.. The cliffs of Slaettaratindur rise almost vertically from sea level to 882 metres and are the highest sea cliffs in Europe.  Facing the full fury of the Atlantic Ocean these islands have endured and life here is still tough. If you love wild locations teeming in seabirds with a brooding sense that the vikings have never left, then the Faroes should be on your bucket list.

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Why we love this sailing ground

Highest Sea Cliffs in Europe

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.

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 yachts person cruises, so you need a bit of a pioneering spirit for these voyages, similar to ocean crossings. Stopping on the Faroe Islands is always special. At least two or three islands will be visited, depending on wind and weather.

Island mountain high in the Faroes. Tall ship crew from Tecla climb the summits in t shirts
Tecla's captain, Gijs enjoys the view in a t-shirt

If you love hill walking and get a buzz from reach the summit of a mountain or looking down over vertical cliffs with the sea birds swirling below, then the Faroes are spectacular. Hiking is a major attraction for visitors and their are some jaw dropping views from the high trails.  Picture yourself on top of the Enniberg on the island Vidoy!

These photos was on a crystal clear day, but the Faroes have their moody moments too, when the mist swirls and the cliffs shed water via giant waterfalls down into the inky black seas.  Life here is tough and had been a struggle for centuries. The sea and the bird cliffs were the only source of food so fishing and whaling were a major part of the way of life here. Arriving the hard way on a traditional sailing ship makes it easier to understand the island culture than coming here on a plane as a tourist.

Don't look down. Tecla crew on the summit of Enniberg in the Faroes
Don't look down. Tecla crew on the summit of Enniberg in the Faroes

The Faroes for Viking Culture

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.

Faroes - a high vantage point in the Atlantic
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Which ship for my adventure?
Tecla - Orkney, Shetland and the Faroes
Tecla - Orkney, Shetland and the Faroes

Gaff ketch Tecla has already visited the Faroes several times. In the last 3 years this historic Herring drifter has become a regular feature in Faroes Harbours, as she stops on the way to Iceland and on her return trip to Ullapool in NW Scotland. She has created a 3 week long voyage that journeys North through Orkney, Fair Isle, Shetland and the Faroes, with plenty of time of explore on the way. Typically she stops on at least 3 islands in the Faroes and her professional crew are keen on hill waking.

Tecla typically sails North in May during prime bird breeding season and returns to the Faroes in September, after her Greenland expeditions. Joining her in Reykjavik is affordable as Iceland has discount airlines and this is outside school holidays.

Blue Clipper
Blue Clipper

Blue Clipper is a stunning three masted schooner that is carving a name for herself as an adventure charter vessel.  She plans to explore the Arctic Regions in the Northern Hemisphere summer and head for warmer sailing grounds in the winter.  The Faroes is more than a stepping stone on the way to Iceland, and her crew are looking forward to exploring one or two islands.  You only have one chance to join Blue Clipper in the Faroes this year. She ends her Arctic Circuit in Norway, so she is not coming back South via Faroes.

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