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Wooden schooner Hildur was the first charter vessel to pioneer sailing expeditions to Scorseby Sound in East Greenland.  Her strong oak hull is copper sheathed around the waterline and she is manoeuvrable amongst the ice. Hildur can take 10 individuals but also is a popular choice for whole boat charter. In addition to Hildur's 7 day expeditions based in Greenland each summer, she runs spring 'Ski and Sail' voyages in remote NW Iceland and a summer mountaineering in Greenland. Regardless if you are travelling solo or with friends, she is a cozy base, with character and heating below decks.  The big saloon table creates a sociable evening with like minded explorers from all over the world, but don't be surprised if the chef plans a BBQ ashore. Icelanders like to make the most of the summer outdoors, so meals al fresco are to be relished.

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  • Length overall: 85ft (26m)
  • Length on deck: 59 ft (18m) 


  • Year built: 1974
  • Vessel type/rig: Two masted schooner


  • Guest berths: 12
  • Crew berths: 3


Or Expert View: What Hildur Does Best

Greenland Sailing on a wooden schooner
Hildur in the Bjorn Islands in Scoresby Sound. Greenland icecap behind those mountains

Based in East Greenland for the Arctic Summer

If you want to experience the high Arctic, trek amongst the tundra, sail under towering granite spires and marvel at icebergs and glaciers, then the Icelandic fleet of Hildur, Donna Wood and Opal are definitely the experts. As soon as the sea ice melts they sail across the Denmark strait for Scorseby Sound and base themselves in this extensive 350 km long fjord system for the short but stunning Arctic summer. The beauty of the 7 day expeditions on Hildur is you can fly in to a small airstrip near Ittoqqortoormiit and enjoy flat water sailing and some fantastic trekking ashore. The wildlife is not as prolific as Antarctica but you might see polar bear, walrus, musk ox, arctic foxes, ptarmigan, divers and a variety of seals.  Debbie from Classic Sailing office sailed on Hildur a few years ago and the scenery blew her away.

"If you mix the granite spires of Patagonia with the Dolomites, the dazzling flora of Iceland and the ice sculptures of Antarctica....then you are close to the beauty and attraction of Scorseby Sound. It was ridiculously warm and sunny on my trip so I even swam back to the ship ocean after some of the best trekking I have experienced"  Debbie Purser

sunbathing on deck on Hildur

Whale Watching Skippers & Greenland Guides

The family run business that runs Hildur, and her bigger sister ships Opal and Donna Wood, are internationally renowned for their whale watching day sails in Iceland. All three ships are out there in the remarkable Skaljfandi Bay, Iceland from March each year, as it is statistically the best place to see whales in Northern Europe. Consequently the same captain and crew on Hildur in Greenland in high summer can tell you a lot about cetaceans and bird life as it is their daily task to educate their guest crews.  In addition the ship carries a guide who can look after you ashore in Greenland and tell you about the wildlife, glaciers and icecap, and the local Inuit culture. They are required to carry a gun ashore for protection from polar bears. Your voyage is outside the National Park so the local Inuit still hunt. Polar bears are more common further North, where there are no humans at all but they have been spotted on Hildur's trips, and they do come South for food. Hildur has a zodiac ships boat on stern davits for quick launch and on a Greenland voyage so it is no trouble to drop guests ashore for an evening walk, and almost every other day when you are not sailing there is a longer trek. 

Schooner Hildur sailing past a glacier in Greenland

Ski-ing, Mountaineering & Small Group Adventure

Hildur only takes a maximum of 10 paying guests, so she is probably the most affordable ship for a private expedition in the Arctic. Combine this with her handy home location on the North Coast of Iceland and you have a vessel for clubs or groups of friends who want to go off the beaten track in Iceland or East Greenland.

If you don't want to organise an expedition yourself, she has a couple of tried and tested 5-7 day adventures, using the ship as your base and sailing between landing spots as much as possible:-

Ski to the Sea in Iceland with a ski mountaineering guide. We give you the opportunity to explore the peaks, valleys and fjords of the Hidden Land. With no roads or way of access in the winter and spring seasons, the sea remains the only way to visit the area, offering peaks that rise over 1000 metres and snowfall of epic proportions. Each day the schooner anchors in small bays and coves along the north shore of this spectacular mountain range and then the day is occupied with skiing fresh tracks. 


Week long expeditions in East Greenland, sailing and and trekking in the spectacular Stauning Alps, led by polar explorer Vilborg Arna. There are only one to two dates a year for this incredible expedition, usually in August.

Ski to the Sea Expeditions in Iceland on Hildur
Ski to the Sea Expeditions in Iceland on Hildur



Where ever you live and what ever your expectations are be prepared for wilderness adventure on schooner Hildur. The backdrop of Greenland, floating Icebergs, wildlife and sailing provide the mix for a very memorable voyage.

Expect Mountanous landscape carved by ice. Greenland is all about awesome scenery on a scale that is hard to comprehend. Fjords over 1km deep, glaciers tumbling off the Greenland icecap, rocky spires and granite walls as good as any in Yosemite or Patagonia. Apart from the inuit in Ittoqqortoormit  and your fellow crew you may never see another another human being. Greenlands silence is profound except for the crack and groan of an iceberg flipping over and is as loud as an avalanche.

Despite hundreds of glaciers carving into the fjords, the sea temperature can reach 12 degrees celsius and after a  breathtaking walk under a hot and cloudless sky you may be tempted to have a swim in the Artic! Certainly something to boast about when you return home to your family and friends! 


As the Greenland high pressure generally brings good stable and dry weather where the winds can be light or flat calm be prepared to grab every opportunity to set those sails. For those with no sailing experience a Hildur voyage is ideal for novice sailors and provides the perfect introduction to sailing a large wooden boat.

The crew will teach you how to set the sails and handle the ropes.  How much you get involved in the sailing, keeping lookout or steering the ship is very much up to you and the mile making is very much in daylight during the Arctic Summer as there is virtually no night until you get into late August. The Icelandic crews are used to offering hospitality and educating guest crews about nature and wildlife, rather than sail training so you may learn more about safety in the mountains than man overboard drills.

If you are a purist sailor who hates to reach for the engine switch, then this is probably not the voyage for you as the narrow parts of Scorseby Sound can be flat calm, or so filled with small bergs in a narrow space it would be impossible to weave around them under sail.

For nature lovers, walker and ornithologists this expedition provides world quality pioneering walks in a wilderness that few humans have ever stepped on. Evidence of Inuit summer hunting camps can be found  amongst the large footprints you are likely to see of the Musk Ox.


Evening meal for arctic explorers by oil lamp
Evening meal for arctic explorers on Hildur

Debbie from Classic Sailing office has sailed on Hildur in Greenland. She has thick oak timbers and copper sheathing on the outside of her hull and below decks you feel cocooned in beautiful wood. The Icelanders seem to have a knack for tasteful interior design and the woodwork is beautiful and fuctional.  It's a very 'Hygge' interior with the galley greeting you first as you come below and a big saloon table just beyond. A couple of pilot berths are tucked behind curtains in the saloon, but the main guest cabins are forward. There is a 4 person cabin and three cabins with two berths each. The shower and wash room is separate.

Hildur will only take 10 for Greenland expeditions so not all bunks need be used, so there is some flexibility.

There is heating below in every cabin.

The crew have 3 berths aft and separate from the guests.

Saloon by oil lamp

Galley on expedition schooner Hildur
Galley on expedition schooner Hildur
berth in one of the forward cabins
berth in one of the forward cabins
Hildur Deck Plan and Layout Below
Schooner Hildur from aloft during a Greenland Expedition
Schooner Hildur from aloft during a Greenland Expedition

Ship Specification - Hildur

Rig:            Two mast Schooner

LOA:           26m (85ft) length overall

LOD:          18m (59ft) length on deck

Beam:        4.8m

Sail Area:   250 sq m 

Hull:          Oak

Built:          Akureyri 1974. Converted to Sail 2010

Flag:           Iceland. Registered Port: Husavik

Hildur - History & Restoration

Hildur was built in Akureyri in 1974 by two shipwrights, Gunnlaugur and Trausti. Trausti and sons would later become good friends and help the company convert most of it's boats into passenger vessels. The owners got to know their special skills and enthusiasm for wooden boats and set a goal to later behold one of the three big wooden boats built in their shipbuilding station. It was then in the summer of 2009 that Hildur sailed into Husavik Harbour but only for a rather short visit in the local shipyard for overhaul before a 10 day journey to Denmark where she would be converted into a two masted schooner with 250 sqm of sails in the shipyard of Christian Jonsson in Egernsund.

Hildur looking small next to two blue whales
Hildur - even 85ft of schooner looks small next to two blue whales

Icelandic Skippers from a Family Business

Our Icelandic sailing partners run four wooden sailing ships and several large wooden fishing vessels converted to whale watching so they have a big pool of potential charter skippers at home in Iceland with good customer skills and lots of wildlife knowledge. The skipper rota for the Greenland voyages is much coverted and you will often find one of the directors of the company as the Captain.

How are they Crewed Professionally?

The family run business, based in Húsavík, North Iceland have now have a fleet of ten wooden vessels. Most the ex oak fishing boats are used for daily whale watching trips along the Icelandic coast and attract dedicated crew from all over the world, who want to work in wildlife eco tourism and raise public awareness about Cetaceans. 

The family run business, based in Húsavík, North Iceland have now have a fleet of ten wooden vessels. Four sailing ships and 6  sturdily built oak fishing boats are used for daily whale watching trips along the Icelandic coast. They attract dedicated crew from all over the world, who want to work in wildlife eco tourism and raise public awareness about Cetaceans. 

Schooner Opal is the biggest and has been operating in Greenland since 2013. Gaff Ketch Donna Wood is the next largest with good accommodation space and classroom areas for expeditions and scientific research. Schooner Hildur is the smallest schooner and was the first to pioneer voyages in Scoresby Sound. As soon as the Greenland sea ice retreats, Opal, Donna Wood and Hildur give up their whale watching and North Iceland tours and head North to Greenland to their summer base in Scoresby Sound.All three will carry a skipper, mate, cook and a guide as a minimum.

All the members of the crew pride themselves on consistently offering outstanding quality experiences from the welcome on board, the quality of the food provided and the sailing adventure - meeting all expectations. As very few people outside Iceland speak Icelandic (similar to Viking Old Norse) all the crew are used to communicating in several languages and English is the common working language for the crew on board. These voyages are popular with Germans, French, Austrian, and Swiss as they love the great outdoors and mountain trekking so German can be a common language socially too.

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