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Summer Sailing Expedition in Scorseby Sound, East Greenland in 2019

Wooden schooner Hildur is is a tough little expedition ship that has been offering sailing expeditions in East Greenland for years. She only takes 10 guest crew and her 8 day sailing holidays in Scorseby Sound are deep in the Arctic Circle. This trip departs in the height of summer, in August 2019. High mountains and glaciers ring this extensive fjord system and there are great treks amongst the tundra flower and musk ox ashore. Dodge icebergs and anchor in locations where few humans ever tread. To reach the East Coast of Greenland you will need to fly to Constable Point form Reykjavik and our Icelandic flight brokers can arrange this separately.

Embark
Wed, 28-08-2019 - 09:30
Reykjavik
Disembark
Wed, 04-09-2019 - 15:15
Reykjavik
Duration
8 Days
Vessel
Hildur
Voyage No.
HR280819

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 2 Berth Twin Bed Cabin PP. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 4,805 EUR. BOOK NOW
TYPE: Flight from Reykjavik to Constable Point. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 995 EUR. BOOK NOW

Hildur - Mini Arctic Expedition in Scorseby Sound, East Greenland

Voyage Outline

If you have always wanted to sail amongst icebergs and pristine polar landscapes, but are short on time, then this 8 day voyage, starting and finishing in East Greenland, is designed for you. A short flight from Iceland takes you to Scoresby Sound where your wooden schooner is at anchor, ready to sail you deep into a 350km fjord system surrounded by high mountains and glaciers.

Ideal Voyage for

Wilderness lovers, mountain walkers, botanists, and sailors who like self sufficient ships that explore locations where few humans tread. Rock climbers will be looking wistfully at granite spires. Polar bears are a protected species in the huge National Park to the North, but some of our guests here have been lucky to sight polar bears in Scorseby Sound. 

This voyage would be ideal for beginners who want to try first time sailing holiday in an exciting destination. The prospect of seasickness is very unlikely on these voyages as you are sailing within narrow fjords and the seas are calm with no swell.  Whilst the schooners cover over 300 miles in a week, there is also a lot of time ashore, walking in outstanding mountain landscapes with only low tundra vegetation and a guide to explain the Inuit customs, geology, flora and fauna. 

If you are a keen sailor then be aware that Greenland in summer can have long periods with light winds or calm. For dramatic seas and exhilarating sailing then our Antarctic and South Georgia voyages may be more suitable.  However if you like a mixed activity adventure making the best of the wind when it comes, then Hildur, Opal and Donna Wood will set sail whenever possible.

lunch stop waiting for the glacier to calve
lunch stop waiting for the glacier to calve

Introducing Schooner Hildur

Two masted gaff schooner Hildur was the first sailing charter ship to pioneer summer voyages to Greenland. Owned by an Icelandic family business that specialises in whale watching, Hildur is one of three schooners that now head North in the summer to base themselves in Scorseby Sound, East Greenland.  Hildur sleeps up to 10 guests with a skipper, mate, cook and guide on these voyages.  See her vessel and accommodation pages above for more details.

Schooner Hildur explores East Greenland every summer, basing herself in Scorseby Sound
Schooner Hildur explores East Greenland every summer, basing herself in Scorseby Sound

Fly to Greenland to Join your Sailing Ship

The return flights from Reykjavik, Iceland to Constable Point, Greenland will be reserved for you when you book by our flight brokers in Iceland. This means you don't have to spend days sailing North to reach Greenland. You can start your 7 days in the heart of East Greenland, exploring the remote and magnificent nature of Scoresby Sound Fjord which extends 350 km inland.

Classic Sailing is not a flight broker so we are unable to sell you flights directly. Conveniently our Icelandic schooner owners are Authorised Icelandic Tour Operators and they can. The flight from Iceland Reykjavik Airport to Greenland is reserved for you once your booking application has been approved. To confirm your voyage all you need to do is pay your deposit to Classic Sailing. After that we will simply ask that you pay our Aurthorised Icelandic Tour operators direct for the Greenland flight element which will be invoiced to you separately. 

Winds & weather

You can expect temperatures between 2 and 12 degree Celsius, but the area is also known for having very little rain. It can be windy but on clear days and no wind, the sun can be very strong! Due to the long lasting high pressure over Greenland, the weather is usually very still. 

 

A Flavour of the Week - Not an Itinerary !

Anyone familiar to Classic Sailing will know that we try and create action packed sailing holidays, but you will rarely pin us down to an itinerary as we are all sailors and flexible by nature.  The Greenland High in summer give stable, sunny days with very little wind but crystal clear skies and a full range of mountain panoramas .....but you are next to the second biggest icecap in the world so if the weather does change, then you can have a different kind of polar experience....or some thrilling sailing.

The itinerary may be subject to change for reasons beyond our control, such as changes in airline schedules, flight and ship delays, strikes, weather, sea and ice conditions, government restrictions or emergencies which can be beyond our control. If pack-ice conditions do not permit the planned itinerary to be completed, the captain and expedition leaders will work out the best possible alternative. We reserve the right to change or alter the programme if necessary.

There are only 2 settlements in Greenland. Hildur anchored off Ittoqotoormiit on the first evening
Inuit settlement of Ittoqotoormiit near the seaward end of Scorseby Sound,

Full Voyage description

Day 1 (Wednesday)

Depart Reykjavík for a flight to Constable Point in Greenland, a small airfield west of Hurry Inlet in Jameson Land. Embark the sailboat and get an introduction and a safety briefing by the crew before sailing towards the village of Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the most isolated villages in the world*. There will be a brief visit, where passengers are able to stroll around and experience the tranquility associated with its remoteness.

Ittoqqortoormiit was founded in the 1925s by people from Ammassalik island. It is the most northerly settlement on the east coast of Greenland. The 450 inhabitants make their living mostly by subsistence hunting of seals narwhales, muskoxen and polar bears. The quaint little houses dot the rocky slopes of south Liverpool Land with magnificent views of Kap Brewster and the Volquart Boons Coast to the south.

* This is a rough schedule. If the conditions do not allow for visiting Ittoqqortoormiit on the first day, it will be done on the last day.

East Greenland sailing expeditions. Weaving our way through the ice in Scorseby Sound on schooner Hildur
Weaving our way through the ice in Scorseby Sound on schooner Hildur

Day 2 (Thursday) – Iceberg Palaces & Inuit Settlement

Sail west between whole palaces of icebergs that gently drift under the influence of the currents in the Arctic waters after calving from the parent glaciers originating in the Inland Ice. Anchor at Hekla Havn, on Denmark Ø, the site of an old Inuit settlement and wintering camp of the first scientific expedition to Scoresby Sund over a hundred years ago. The day ends with a short evening walk exploring Hekla Havn and the surrounding area.

Day 3 (Friday) – The Day of the Fjords: Massive Mountains & Granite Cliffs

Sail west through the narrow Føhnfjord with the majestic basalt mountains of Gåseland on the port side and 2000 meters high sheer granite cliffs of Milne Land on the starboard side. After being up close to the peculiar looking Red Island and even landfall at the red sandstone shore, the tour continues to the north through Rødefjord which is often filled with both larger icebergs and ice crust from icebergs that are breaking up. We will arrive in Harefjord in the late afternoon where anchors are set.

Day 4 (Saturday) – Hiking & Wildlife Scouting

Make sure to pack your hiking boots because the whole day is spent ashore in Harefjord scouting for muskoxen, snow hares, grouse, geese and other wildlife, which normally graze on the south-facing slopes. This easy to moderate approx. 6-hour hike takes us on top of a ridge where we will have lunch with a breathtaking view over Harefjord, where the terrain drops down on each side and the glacier tongues descend into the sea. Those who prefer less exercise can stroll at the coast or stay on board enjoying the view.

Wilderness walking and sailing in Greenland. The only sounds are icebergs rolling over.
Wilderness walking before supper. The only sounds are icebergs rolling over.

Day 5 (Sunday) – Setting Sails in the Majestic Øfjord

The sailing continues eastwards through the awesome Øfjord. This is one of the most spectacular parts of the trip. Terrific mountain peaks and granite walls tower 2000 meters up from the sea just like if the Cerro Torre (one of the majestic mountains of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in South America) and Fitzroy river (in Queensland, Australia) has been moved to the Arctic: A true feast for the eyes. Usually, the sea breeze in the Øfjord during the middle of the day allows sails to be set. A close look at some of the most amazing cliffs and a glacier front. This day ends by setting anchors in Jyttes Havn in the late afternoon.

Day 6 (Monday) – Outdoor Adventures & Cooling Down in the Sea

The day is spent hiking in and around Jyttes Havn in Bear Islands as this is possibly one of the nicest and most picturesque anchorages in Scoresby Sund. There are two options of a longer or shorter hike in the Bear Islands, or on the northernmost tip of Milne Land, a short zodiac ride away. Jyttes Havn is the place to try your skills at sea swimming at 71°N and temperatures can be as surprising as 13°C in the summertime. If conditions and time allow, we will tend a bonfire on the beach.

Hildur Anchored amongst Bear Islands, Greenland
Hildur anchored amongst Bear Islands, Greenland. Photo by Debbie Purser

Day 7 (Tuesday) – Archipelagos & Icebergs: Make Sure You Charge Your Batteries

Sailing the channel between the Bear Islands and Milne Land with a breathtaking view of the spectacular archipelago. As we sail into the last evening and night of the trip it is likely that we‘ll be experiencing sights of the largest and the most fascinating icebergs of the journey. This provides a fantastic opportunity for photographs of the majestic and impressive icebergs that are often found in this particular area. When we wake up the next morning we are anchored at the at the airstrip in Constable Point.*

* If conditions do not allow for visiting Ittoqqortoormiit on the first day, it will be done on this day.

Day 8 (Wednesday) – Good Bye Greenland

It's time to say goodbye and board the aircraft at Constable Point and fly back to Reykjavik, Iceland full of memories and stories. 

Your Travel Responsibilities

Passports

Visas

Travel Insurance

Travel security status 

Our Responsibilities to You

Certified Charter Vessel for this operating area

Our terms and conditions

Greenland Expert at Classic Sailing

Call Debbie in the Classic Sailing Office on 0044 (0) 1872 580022  to talk about Greenland.  She sailed on Hildur in Scorseby Sound in 2012.

On her way there she backpacked in North Iceland National Park and went whale watching.  Debbie has also sailed tall ships in Norway, Antarctica, South Georgia, Falklands and in the Chilean Fjords if you want to compare trips.

Classic Sailing Director Debbie Purser sailed on Hildur in Greenland in 2012
Classic Sailing Director Debbie Purser sailed on Hildur in Greenland in 2012

What is included

  • International flight Reykjavík – Constable Point – Reykjavík. (although we ask you to pay our Authorised Icelandic Tour Operator direct for the flight element as Classic Sailing is not a flight broker.)
  • Return transport between the airport and the sailboat in Constable Point.
  • Accommodation on board in made up bunks/beds with shared facilities.
  • All meals on board the sailing ship.
  • Services of the crew, hiking excursions (as per itinerary) and arrangements

 

What is not included

  • Airfare to and from Iceland (the international airport is Keflavik near Reykjavik and weight allowance for baggage is 20kg)
  • Alcoholic drinks on board
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory on all Classic Sailing Voyages)
  • Visa -Depends on your nationality - if required.

 

Reykjavik, Iceland

Latest port updates

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. 

How to get here

The City of Reykjavik

The World's northernmost capital is a bright, colourful city. with the flat topped and often snowy mountain of Esja and sea as an attractive backdrop. The lengendary nightlife and hustle and bustle of Reykjavik constrasts strongly with the rest of Iceland.  International flights into Iceland land at the beautifully designed Keflavik Airport with a regular 40 minute shuttle bus to hotel doors in downtown Reykjavik.  Within walking distance of the city centre is the domestic airport which serves flights to Greenland or Husavik in the remote NE corner of Iceland.

This is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with only 318, 000 people on the whole island, leaving it with some of the greatest wilderness areas in Europe.

Air & transfers

Transfer from Keflavik airport to Rekjavik City Centre

Iceland’s Keflavík Airport is the country’s main hub for air travel, situated just 31 miles outside the country’s capital. Built by the USA in 1943, the airport has grown into a major international destination, with a trendy modern terminal. Keflavik was voted favourite European Airport in 2010. It is bright, sunny with tasteful shops and healthy food outlets ....and loads of Viking wisdom on the walls.

Getting from the airport into Reykjavík is easy; Buy a ticket for the transfer coach from the ticket machine or kiosk in the airport (near exit). A new fast freeway, opened in 2008, means that it takes less time than ever to get right into the heart of the capital (about 40 minutes).

Rail & transfers

The Icelanders take flights like we take trains and for the distances involved, they are similar to UK train fares. Flying and driving are the main ways of getting around in Iceland. 

Land of Ice & Fire

Iceland is a small but fiery island where myth and magic meets modern life in spectacular style. Only fully independent from Denmark since 1944, the proud republic has a strong national identity which is reflected in its rich and poetic history.

Regular volcanic eruptions have hewn dramatic landscapes across Iceland’s islands, and the natural scenery is unparalleled around the world. This forbidding and mostly barren land was first settled by the hardy Norse and their legacy is intertwined with nearly all Icelandic life.

Although the coastal edges of Iceland have been claimed for towns and villages, the centre remains uninhabitable, and its spectacular alien vistas remain a strong draw for artists and tourists alike. The influence of the island’s underlying molten magma is never far from sight, with hot springs, geysers and boiling mud pools all to be explored. The volcanic heat is directly contrasted by Iceland’s snowy climate, though northerly temperatures are tempered by warm air from the Atlantic’s Gulf Stream, meaning that it is never uncomfortably cold.

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’ http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/travel-insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Latest port updates

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. 

How to get here

The City of Reykjavik

The World's northernmost capital is a bright, colourful city. with the flat topped and often snowy mountain of Esja and sea as an attractive backdrop. The lengendary nightlife and hustle and bustle of Reykjavik constrasts strongly with the rest of Iceland.  International flights into Iceland land at the beautifully designed Keflavik Airport with a regular 40 minute shuttle bus to hotel doors in downtown Reykjavik.  Within walking distance of the city centre is the domestic airport which serves flights to Greenland or Husavik in the remote NE corner of Iceland.

This is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with only 318, 000 people on the whole island, leaving it with some of the greatest wilderness areas in Europe.

Air & transfers

Transfer from Keflavik airport to Rekjavik City Centre

Iceland’s Keflavík Airport is the country’s main hub for air travel, situated just 31 miles outside the country’s capital. Built by the USA in 1943, the airport has grown into a major international destination, with a trendy modern terminal. Keflavik was voted favourite European Airport in 2010. It is bright, sunny with tasteful shops and healthy food outlets ....and loads of Viking wisdom on the walls.

Getting from the airport into Reykjavík is easy; Buy a ticket for the transfer coach from the ticket machine or kiosk in the airport (near exit). A new fast freeway, opened in 2008, means that it takes less time than ever to get right into the heart of the capital (about 40 minutes).

Rail & transfers

The Icelanders take flights like we take trains and for the distances involved, they are similar to UK train fares. Flying and driving are the main ways of getting around in Iceland. 

Land of Ice & Fire

Iceland is a small but fiery island where myth and magic meets modern life in spectacular style. Only fully independent from Denmark since 1944, the proud republic has a strong national identity which is reflected in its rich and poetic history.

Regular volcanic eruptions have hewn dramatic landscapes across Iceland’s islands, and the natural scenery is unparalleled around the world. This forbidding and mostly barren land was first settled by the hardy Norse and their legacy is intertwined with nearly all Icelandic life.

Although the coastal edges of Iceland have been claimed for towns and villages, the centre remains uninhabitable, and its spectacular alien vistas remain a strong draw for artists and tourists alike. The influence of the island’s underlying molten magma is never far from sight, with hot springs, geysers and boiling mud pools all to be explored. The volcanic heat is directly contrasted by Iceland’s snowy climate, though northerly temperatures are tempered by warm air from the Atlantic’s Gulf Stream, meaning that it is never uncomfortably cold.

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’ http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/travel-insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

Hildur

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.

Statistics

 

  • 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. 

OR

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

 

A WILDERNESS ADVENTURE

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! 

SAILING STYLE

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.

Current sailing grounds

Hildur Kit List

Hildur on our first day in Greenland

Kit List for Hildur

Included

  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • All meals to include cooked breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments throughout the day.
  • Bed linen, duvet, pillows and towels.

What is not included 

  • Travel to and from start and end port. 
  • Alcoholic beverages

What to bring

  • Small flashlight.
  • Binoculars.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sun-protection and bug repellant.
  • Warm clothes incl. scarf, mittens, hat and warm thermal underwear.
  • Light wool sweater or fleece (2nd layer).
  • Warm Jacket – Wool or fleece (3rd layer).
  • Shell Jacket or/and Rain jacket with hood – Waterproof and breathable material. Gore-Tex or alternative.
  • Hiking Boots – The boots should be of leather (or leather and synthetic) with high cut to give sufficient ankle support. Preferably the sole should be soft but robust. Gore-Tex or alternative waterproof membrane is a preferable extra.
  • Water container – e.g. plastic bottle (pet plastic).
  • Camera equipment – Incl. spare batteries, memory card and/or films.
  • Toothbrush, earplugs and other personal belongings.

It is advisable that what you wear is either waterproof or easy to dry.

No umbrella is needed !

Can I wash or/and dry my clothes?

Due to shortage on water supply, we will ask you to avoid cleaning your clothes on board. If anything gets wet during the trip, the engine room is very warm and can be used as a perfect drying place.

Can I recharge batteries and use the electrical power onboard?
Power for charging your batteries is available during sailing, when the motor is running (220V). We ask you to not charge batteries during the night, when anchoring. Standard Icelandic plugs are available (two pins EU size).

Is there phone / web access?
The area we sail in greenland is very remote. Cell phones and internet are not working. Part of the charm of the trip is this fact actually!

However cell phones work at the airport in Constable Point and also in Ittoqqortoormiit, the village where we spend the two last nights.

If urgent, passengers can make a phonecall with one of the ship’s satellite phones or send e-mail, sms or fax via Inmarsat, (the ship’s satellite communications system)

How is the climate / weather ?
You can expect temperatures between 2 and 12 degree Celsius, but the area is also known for having very little rain. It can be windy but on clear days and no wind, the sun can be very strong! Due to the long lasting high pressure over Greenland, the weather is usually very still so seasickness is rarely a problem.

Hildur - Reviews

Debbie in Greenland on Hildur

What was the best bit?

Sailing through "Iceberg Alley" (Fonfjord) both on Hildur and the Zodiac

 

The crew were fantastic and we were blessed with a good group of travellers. Judging by comments from the other ships sailing at the same time with us, we enjoyed many more experiences i.e. sailing close of icebergs and even climbing onto some. It was a simply brilliant time and something that we will never forget.

Thanks Paul D for the review from Hildur trip in September 2018

Hildur in greenland, Ittokotoormiit

This really was the trip of a lifetime for me and a completely unique experience as well as being well out of my comfort zone (in a good way!). I'm pleased we chose Hildur for the voyage, it had a cosy atmosphere and with only 9 guests on board we had the chance to get to know each other pretty well. 
The Captain and crew were great and really had a sense of adventure and were keen that we should experience as much as we could. The quality of the food on board was excellent - way better than I had imagined. Thanks so much for an amazing trip.

Thanks Sally D for the review!

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The majority of our sailors sail on their own. The boats will always ensure that solo sailors sharing the same cabin are the same sex. Sole occupancy is available on some vessels which will have an extra % charge which varies by vessel.

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