Skip to main content

A Taste of the North West Passage - Sail Greenland to Beechey Island & Back

This 3 week expedition gives you a taste of the North West Passage on a historic sailing ship.  In 2019 the Tecla made her way through the North West Passage successfully. An enormous voyage, with so many highlights! But one of the most thrilling parts and beautiful experiences was the sailing and shore landings around Beechey Island. You will be tall ship crew seeing the same landmarks and wildlife as those on fated Franklin Expedition. The whole voyage is deep within the Arctic Circle and reaches 74 degrees North. Sail from Disko Bay in West Greenland to Baffin Island and North to Beechey Island, Erebus & Terror Bay. Fascinating shore landings for both history and wildlife sightings in the last known areas of the Franklin Expedition disappearance.

 

 

Embark
Sat, 31-07-2021 - 18:00
Illulissat
Disembark
Wed, 25-08-2021 - 10:00
Nuuk
Duration
26 Days
Vessel
Tecla
Voyage No.
TC-310721

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 2 berth cabin ensuite -pp under 26yrs. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 5,850 EUR. BOOK NOW
TYPE: 2 berth cabin ensuite - pp over 25yrs. AVAILABILITY: Provisionally Full. PRICE: 6,500 EUR. BOOK NOW

Tecla - A Taste of the NW Passage - Sail to Beechey Island from West Greenland

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR...

Those of you who would have loved to have done the North West Passage with Tecla in 2019 but are attracted to this shorter taste of the Eastern end of the North West Passage. This well designed voyage, based on Tecla's experience from her East West transit in 2019, has many of the historical highlights, without the time spent waiting for a gap in the sea ice and the thousands of miles across Canada and Alaska to the Bering Sea.

Adventurers, scientists or environmentalists with a strong interest in the Arctic project, artists looking for wild inspiration, romantics with practical skills, experienced sailors, outdoor enthusiasts, photographers, writers and wildlife lovers. Those fascinated with the history of the North West Passage, the fated Franklin Expedition and the challenge and mystic of finding a way through to the Pacific. Maybe you are attracted to stark, vast landscapes where few humans tread. or want to meet the Inuit people in settlements and hunting land that few outsiders could cope with in the winter months.

 

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sail the first part of the legendary NW Passage to Beechey Island
  • Sail to the last known position of Franklin's ships at 74 degrees North
  • Be part of a close knit crew where all participate to sail the ship
  • Realm of the Polar bear, Narwhal, seabirds & Beluga Whales 
  • Landings of historic significance on Canada's Arctic mainland and archipelagoes
  • Complex navigation, ice and weather to negotiate
  • Learn about A sea route quest that took 500 years to accomplish
  • In the Wake of Intrepid Explorers & the ghosts of those who perished
  • Pristine Wilderness on a vast scale
  • Home of the Inuit - Arctic Masters of Survival

 

Polar tall ship crew

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

A Taste of the NW Passage

A unique voyage that will take you from North West Greenland to the Canadian Arctic and back in 3 weeks of high Arctic sailing. This is the route Tecla took in 2019 and marks the first approaches of the North West Passage.

A journey that will take you from the giant icebergs near Greenland to the challenge of constantly moving sea ice funnelled by the wind into bays and inlets. Tecla will cross Baffin Bay, sail along the wilderness coast of Baffin Island and into Lancaster Sound. Beechey Sound is somewhat of a pilgrimage for those interested in the fate of the Franklin Expedition as this is the last place his ships Terror and Erebus were seen.

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 Tecla's last adventure here but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage. In this part of the world, ice reports, wind direction and keeping a close lookout is vital.

Just like the North West Passage, this voyage much depends on the amount of ice that is met underway. This could mean you have to wait a day or two in a sheltered place before heading out into the open. 

Explore Disko Bay in the West Greenland Arctic Circle

Departing from Illilissat, where huskies out number people, there should be time for one or two stops. There is a good possibility of spotting whales, so keep an eye out for them. But also at the threshold of the North West Passage, you will find an abundance in wildlife. There are Narwhale, Bearded Seals, Spotted Seals even Beluga whales to be spotted. On the ice or on shore one might spot a Polarbear, or muskoxen and Caribou. 

North West Passage Expedition from East to West Coast on Tecla

Pond Inlet

 It is likely this expedition will stop at Pond Inlet to clear customs into Canada before setting off deeper into the North West Passage. 

After the big icebergs around Greenland and in Disco Bay, the ice of Lancaster sound will be something very different. Wide patches of sea ice drift around. A close eye needs to be kept on the ice reports as well as outside and around the ship.

 

Landings may be onto beaches or rocks or at Inuit settlements
Landings may be onto beaches or rocks or at Inuit settlements

Beechey Island, Erebus & Terror Bay

The anchorage at Beechey Island can be on the side of Erebus and Terror bay or on the side of Union Bay, both offering shelter from different directions. Depending on ice state and wind the anchorage will be chosen. 

Landing on Beechey Island is done by dinghy, on shore the hike will take up half a day to visit all the sights on shore. One or two members of the crew will go ashore with you to show you all the best spots.

On board you will find many books that are worth a good read, but for this voyage the book Erebus, written by Micheal Palin, is a must read. One or two prints are on board for you to borrow as you make your way North. 

The distinctive landmark of Terror and Erebus Bay
The distinctive landmark of Terror and Erebus Bay

    Resolute Bay

    Weather and Ice permitting other anchorages can be visited. Resolute can be attempted if the ice conditions are not too severe. 

    These anchorages are well into Polarbear territory. This does mean that any landing is done under guidance and with a gun. You will stay in groups and are not permitted to wonder too far from the group leader. 


    This voyages will be one with long sunsets and sunrises, as the sun will only disappear behind the horizon shortly when you set off from Ilulissat, Greenland. The most Northerly point of this voyage will be 74'45N!

    navigating the sea ice on Tecla in Greenland

    Following in the Footsteps of Intrepid Explorers

    Captain of Tecla Gijs has been researching the North West Passage for some time and is enthralled by the way that the Arctic has been explored and mapped, not just the North West Passage. He will be giving some presentations on board about all the different approaches to expeditions, land and sea travel and over wintering in this harsh environment. It is always interesting to debate the different styles and controversies around why Franklin failed and others like John Rae succeeded.

    So many people from Naval Officers in search of glory, to Governments seeking a short cut to the Pacific have played their part in discovering a navigable North West Passage. The coastline was explored and mapped by Vikings, Inuit, fur traders of Hudson Bay, the Russians, the Europeans. Much of the expedition frenzy years were after Franklin's expedition went missing in 1848 with two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and 129 crew lost. 11 ships went looking for them, and Lady Franklin exerted huge pressure on the British Establishment to find them, and substantial financial prizes to find the NW Passage.

    Orcadian explorer John Rae is one of your captain's unsung heroes. A Doctor from Stromness on Orkney, he went to work for the Hudson Bay Fur Company and learnt many things about travelling in the Arctic from the Inuit. It enabled him to discover Franklin's fate and the likely missing link of the NW Passage. Unlike Sir John Franklin he was never given the recognition he deserved...and you will have to read a recent biography on him to realise why he fell foul of Victorian politics.

    In 1906 the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to complete a passage from Greenland right through to Alaska in a 45 ton sloop (gaff cutter) called Gjøa. The vessel was a wooden herring drifter which is fitting as Tecla is also an original Dutch herring drifter. Amundsen did take more than one season to get through.

     

    Dr John Rae discovered the fate of Captain John Franklin
    Dr John Rae discovered the fate of Captain John Franklin and lost crew

    Since the Gjøa, the vessels that made it through were typically sailing vessels with auxillary engines with strengthened hulls. Commercial cargo shipping still won't use the sea route as there are too many ice hold ups. A few big cruise ships or ice-breaking expedition ships have made it, but looking at the records we believe this will be the first North West Passage Expedition on a tall ship since its conquest in 1906. 17 yachts have made it though in 2017, but only 3 in 2018. Tecla was the first tall ship with charter crew to sucessfully sail the 6000 mile route in summer 2019.

     

    What Wildlife Might I See

    In August the remaining sea ice offers good opportunities to see polar bears. As you get into September the polar bears are starting to roam the beaches looking for stranded whales or birds to hunt.

    In August the seabird chicks are hatching and learning to fly. They are preyed on by Gyr falcon, skuas, gulls and arctic fox. Seals and walrus can be seen hauled out on the remaining ice but by September they have moved to the beaches and rocks or are at sea hunting. Migrating Beluga and Narwhals keep heading North from West Greenland to stick with the edge of the sea ice. The North West passage is probably the only place far enough North to see them at this time of year.

    There are often huge pods of Beluga in the estuaries of Somerset Sound. (source - Swoop Arctic).

    Arctic birds and icebergs

     

    WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

    Classic Sailing office team have sailed in Antarctica, East Greenland and Nova Scotia, but not the NW Passage or Bering Sea. Our best source of what it is really like is the sailors who were on Tecla last year.

    DESTINATION - NW PASSAGE & WEST GREENLAND

    We have the following useful publications, and will be reproducing the most useful snippets about weather and sea conditions.

    • Admiralty Sailing Handbook chapters on Ice navigation.
    • RCC Pilotage Foundation - Pilot Book for Arctic & Northern Waters

    HANDS ON HOLIDAYS

    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.

    SAILING STYLE & LIFE ON BOARD

    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.

    Tecla on a sailing expedition in the Faroes

    AGILITY & FITNESS

    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.

    WHAT’S INCLUDED

    •  
    • Berth in a 2 person ensuite bedroom – bunkbed
    • All meals on board (or lunch packs for day trips on shore)
    • Pillow, Duvet and fresh sheets
    • Towels
    • Possibility of washing clothes weekly
    • Ice pilotage
    • Fuel 
    • Berthing costs
    • Dinghy excursions
    • Planned excursions on shore / permits with Inuit settlements
    • Third Party liability insurance

    WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

    • Travel to Joining Port
    • Travel from end port
    • Alcoholic Drinks but there is a bar on board
    • Waterproofs

     

     

    I

    Illulissat, West Greenland

    greenland Husky waiting for winter
    Latest port updates

    Ilulissat is a coastal town in western Greenland. It's known for the Ilulissat Icefjord which is an utterly incredible sight and you owe yourself the opportunity to experience the Icefjord in all possible ways. It is listed as UNESCO world heritage site. The Ilulissat Museum traces the area’s history and the life of local-born explorer Knud Rasmussen. The area is home to thousands of Greenland dogs, used for dogsledding which is still widely used for transportation by the local fisherman on the ice or similarly as a way to see the sights. 

    How to get here

    Ilulissat airport is situated approximately 2 miles from the centre of the town and serves the entire Disko Bay region and North and West Greenland. When flying from the UK and Europe the most direct flights go via Reykvaik in Iceland 

     

    Ilulissat/Jakobshavn (JAV):

    Location: 3-4 km/2 Miles NE of town.
    By Taxi: To town ~DKK 100, call +299 944 944.
    By Bus: The local town bus can be stopped and will run to the airport for ~DKK 10.
    Airport Tel No: +299 944 008.

     

    If you have booked a hotel in Illulissat, they will quite often offer a pick up service from the airport.

    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.

    Nuuk - The Capital of Greenland

    Latest port updates

    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. 

    How to get here

    Air & transfers

    Nuuk Airport is an airport serving Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. To reach Nuuk by plane, you can can catch fights from Reykjavik, Iceland for a flight directly to Nuuk. 

    Nuuk Airport:

    Location: 5 km/3 Miles ENE of Nuuk.
    On Foot: It takes less than 60 minutes to walk to Nuuk.
    By Taxi: DKK 120 to town. Phone +299 322 222 or 321 818.
    By Bus: Bus#3 runs to town every hour. Cost: DKK 15.
    Airport tel No: Airport +299 32 71 19 & Air Greenland 343 434.

     

    Car rental and taxi services are available to and from the airport. There are more than 10 bus lines to and from the airport. Trip to the Nuuk centre by bus, “Nuup Bussii”, and "skibus shuttles" usually takes about 30 minutes and costs approximately €5.

     

    Classic Sailing cannot be held responsible for exact prices- this is just a guide. 

    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.

    Tecla

    Tecla has circumnavigated the globe, sailed around Cape Horn, won numerous tall ships races, and is now carving her name as a great expedition ship. At 127ft overall she has the live-aboard comfort of a tall ship but with only 12 guest crew it feels more like a shared adventure with the multinational professional crew.  Tecla's sailing programme is always bold, often in the wake of famous explorers and always with a love for wild nature. She is an original Dutch herring drifter built in 1915 to fish the North Seas under sail.

    Statistics

     

    • Length overall: 127ft (38.00m)
    • Length on deck: 90ft (27.00m)

     

    • Year built: 1915
    • Vessel type/rig: Gaff Ketch

     

    • Guest berths: 12
    • Crew berths: 4

     

     

    Tecla exploring the wild coast of Iceland

    What Tecla Does Best

    Pushing the Frontiers of Adventure Charter Holidays

    Tecla is only 90 feet long on deck, but she punches above her weight in terms of adventurous sailing programmes. She is really hooked on sailing in the Arctic and all the exploration history associated with it. After a couple of seasons sailing in East Greenland she is following the pack ice down this virtually uninhabited coast to Cape Farewell and around the corner to West Greenland as far as Disko Bay. This will put her into position to be the first tall ship to make an attempt on the North West Passage (dates soon) through to the Pacific and beyond. Make sure you sign up for our e newsletters (see footer at bottom of the page) to recieve the details as soon as they are released.

    Tecla amongst the ice in Greenland
    Tecla amongst the ice in Greenland

    Pioneered Coastal Sailing Around Iceland

    Tecla are as close to being our Iceland coastal sailing specialists as you can be without actually being an Viking. They have invested 3 whole summers into creating and proving their iconic voyages around the West and North coast which all include a chance to enjoy the NW Fjords and the mighty Hornstrandir cliffs and National Park. Sailing along this wild coast for leisure and adventure in Iceland is something fishermen do all year around, but is not particularly common amongst Icelanders and we think they are really missing a trick. The West Coast and NW Fjords are where where the Viking's settled as there were fjords, anchorages, huge seabird populations and rich meadows.

    Tecla is a homely ship because for 12 months a year she is the family home. The saloon and galley is the warm heart of the ship below decks, but you also have en suite cabins with hot showers and radiators. When the sun is out there is 90ft of deck space to curl up with a book or journal. With a guest crew of 12, exploration ashore can be as physical as you want: Whether you prefer beach-combing at sea level, or climbing with the more energetic to the highest sea cliffs. Gijs is Tecla's main skipper in the summer and loves hill walking and mountaineering is irrepressible when it comes to exploring ashore.

    The North Coast of Iceland is one of the most reliable places in Northern Europe for whale watching, especially if you want the chance to see larger species like blue whale, humpbacks, . Don't just take Tecla's, or our word for it....see the statistics for North Sailing Whale watching day trips in Skaljfandi Bay . Just think how much more wildlife encounters can be possible a longer Icelandic sailing voyage.

    Whale sighting from Tecla in Iceland from guest crew Maria Cerrudo
    Whale sighting from Tecla in Iceland from guest crew Maria Cerrudo

    Wanderlust in the Wake of Great Explorers

    The Tecla crew are an energetic bunch. The owner-skippers are ‘up for adventure’ and their sailing programme really reflects that ambition. This is not a tall ship that sits on its laurels. Skippers and siblings Gijs and Jet, research their destinations well, and have a great sense of history and place. The library on board reflects their constant wanderlust, but they also like to really get to know a cruising ground. Their parents, former skippers Janette and Jan, keep a steady hand on the tiller back at base, or you can find them occasionally on board. They have two ships dogs which can join them in some countries.

    After carving a name for herself as a winning contender at tall ships races (read about her tall ship victories), she undertook a world voyage with charter crews in 2013-14. Tecla has been island hopping in Cape Verde; explored the Brazilian coast; crossed the South Atlantic to Cape Town. Sailing in company with her bigger companions Europa and Oosterschelde she not only kept up with these ocean going tall ships, but was frequently ahead of them.

    Charter crews went looking for the 'Sardine Run' off Mauritius, crossed the Indian Ocean to Australia and took part in a tall ships race from Sydney to New Zealand.  Tecla braved the Southern Ocean, crossing the South Pacific and Rounding Cape Horn, so she proved she was a tough ship, and fast enough to keep up with and often beat her bigger companions Europa and Oosterschelde.

    Sailing Expeditions 2018 climbing high in the Faroes with the Tecla Crew

    Experienced Ice Pilots

    In the winter, Skipper Gijs has sailed as mate on square rigger Europa in Antarctica and South Georgia, and makes no secret about his fondness for high latitudes and wild places. Sailing the iceberg strewn waters of the Weddell Sea and navigating a square rigger in the broken sea ice, fog and blizzards around the Antarctic Peninsula have hugely added to Gijs's ice pilotage experience.

    Landing crews by zodiac in remote Antarctic locations with potentially dangerous wildlife is another useful skill he has brought back to his Tecla Arctic Expeditions. The ocean passage between Iceland and Greenland Scorseby Sound brings different pilotage problems. Gijs has run three summer season in high latitudes and added the Denmark Strait, East Greenland Coast and Scorseby Sound to his ice pilot experience. Navigating through the icebergs and sea ice as it breaks up and drifts down the Greenland East Coast requires a certain patience, experience and respect for the elements.

    Another added bonus is that Gijs has worked with some of the best polar wildlife guides with Arctic and Antarctic expertise, and he is well read in historic and contemporary polar exploration journals and wildlife conservation.

    Greenland sailing on tall ship Tecla
    Tecla on the way to East Greenland

     

     

    Style of Sailing

    Tecla is very much an adventure charter ship so the style of sailing is 'hands on' but her well trained staff recognise that her expedition style voyages attract all types and ages of guest crew. Whether you are a keen traditional sailor who want to learn all the ropes, a bird watcher or a sea lover who just wants to experience a romantic way of travelling, you can all feel part of this little ships community and do what you can manage to help sail the ship and contribute to life on board. She originally sailed with 16 but now prefers to keep guest crew numbers to only 12, so you find the ship pretty spacious. She is about the same length on deck as Irene.

    Tecla does some big trips with fairly small professional crew of four for the size of the vessel, so there is more expectation for everybody to help sail the ship on these offshore voyages. Guest crew will be divided into groups called watches and on a passage there will be a watch keeping routine. Watch keeping means that when it is your turn to be on watch you will need to be out on deck trimming sails, steering and helping navigate if that is your interest. You will always have the skipper or mate with you as the watch leader, so they is plenty you can learn, and its a great time to get a bit more individual attention, sailing tuition or if the sailing is straight forward, put the world to rights. It means the other watch team can relax on deck or below decks. knowing you are concentrating on getting the best out of the ship, and notching up the miles towards your next destination, day or night.

    On a fore and aft rigged ketch there is more sail trimming, tacking and gybing than you might find on a square rigger, so at times on watch you may be very busy. 

    Most of the deck layout of the Tecla has been kept in a traditional style from her days as a herring drifter and then cargo ship. On deck you will find traditional details like dead-eyes rather than bottlescrews, and a lot of wood work. Sails are set by hand, a big part of the electricity used on board is generated by the dynamo on the propeller.

    Tecla has a tough riveted steel hull and a lot of sail so she is both powerful and lively to sail. She has a decent sized RIB (check type) for trips ashore. . 

     

    Learn to steer a gaff ketch on holiday. Tecla has a big ships wheel

    Life on Board

    The saloon is a nice place to socialise and relax below decks.  Upholstered seating and a large library of exploration and wildlife books in several languages add to the homely feel and a radiator keeps things warm, as does the galley area opposite.  You can chat to the cook, but don't try pinching the cakes till they are ready.  

    There are two person cabins with cozy duvets and linen provided. The cabins have heating (radiators) and a huge amount of headroom. You can latch the door open for more air in hotter climes and there is an opening porthole for natural light. All cabins have a toilet (that doesn't need any pumping!) and a shower en-suite.

    Read more about the accommodation below.

    Gijs and Jets mum Janette is often the cook on board, when she is not running the sailing business from home.  On some trips the family dogs might be on board, but it depends a bit on the shore-side regulations.

    All the family speak good English and the working language on board is English. Some special diets can be catered for, but many of Tecla's voyages are 3 weeks away from provisioning ports and sailing in remote areas with no human habitation or fresh food shops so they cannot accept those who require a strict vegan diet.

    Voyages in places like Greenland or even NW Iceland are a long way from any hospital, so you do need to be in good health for these voyages.

    Life on board Tecla is a mix of active sailing holiday and exploring ashore

    Accommodation on Tecla

    Accommodation down below on tall ship Tecla
    Tecla Saloon and a library to feed the explorer in all of us

    Below Decks Accommodation

    The companionway steps dive down to the living accommodation quite a long way, so there is ample headroom for taller sailors. There is a main corridor that all the cabins lead off from. At the far end is the galley and saloon. the professional crew have separate accommodation at the stern of the ship (aft).

    Two person en suite cabins with heating

    Each two berth cabin is has heated with a radiator and there is an en-suite toilet and shower room with hot and cold water in every cabin.   In the cabin itself you will find a simple basin and tap and mirror. Your bed will be either the higher or the lower bunk. All beds are over 80cm wide and 2 meters long. Each bed has a reading light for the evening hours. Your clothing can be stored in cupboard and your bag or suitcase can be stored under the bed.

    Tecla cabins have heating and en suite shower wc

    Saloon and Galley

    The heart of the ship on Tecla is the saloon.  The galley is open plan in the same room as the saloon, so its a very warm social space. There is a big saloon table and seating with cushions all around. On the other side of the room is more seating and tables for meals or for writing journals and hobbies.  Tecla has a ships library full of books that will bring out the explorer in you. Many of the books are in English and there are some great 'coffee table' style books about nautical adventures.

    Tecla's crew  love to read up about their sailing destinations whether it is Icelandic sagas or boat building in the Orkneys, so if you run out of your own novels there is plenty to dip into.

    Laundry on longer trips is normally divided by cabin, one cabin at a time so easy to sort if a sock strays!

    Tecla interior - saloon
    Tecla interior - main saloon table

     

    Ships Dogs

    The Tecla family have two ships dogs who are sometimes on board, if regulations permit. Generally they are at home in Holland.

    Tecla's Ships dog Sadie enjoying walkies on Skye.
    Ships dog Sadie enjoying walkies on Skye.

     

    Tecla - Ship Specification

    Photo by Howard Gear - Tecla from the air
    Photo by Howard Gear - Tecla from the air

    Worldwide Operating Licence

    Tecla is equipped to sail the world’s seas and holds all the safety certificates required by Dutch Law. She carries 4-5 professional crew. As you are part of the guest crew you also will be fully trained in some aspects of emergency procedures.

     

    vessel type - gaff ketch    
    year built 1915 Winkel, NL
    length overall 124ft 38m
    length on deck 90ft 27m
    beam 22ft 6.55m
    draft   2.7m
    sail area   370 sq m
    tonnage 92  
    guest crew overnight 12  
    professional crew 5  

     

    Tecla has a riveted steel hull and deck with watertight bulkheads. She has a fantastic underwater hull shape for deep water sailing. She is a fast ship and has won many awards at Tall Ships Races. When she sailed around the world and all the way to Australia in company with larger Dutch tall ships Europa and Oosterschelde she was more than capable of keeping up with them despite their longer waterlines. Quite often ahead of them!

    Sails & Spars

    The bowsprit is huge but fully retractable in a few minutes for small harbours.

    She has 3 sizes of flying jib, a fore staysail with a sheet on a sliding bar. The main and mizzen are very heavy canvas and gaff rigged. They can be reefed. There is also a storm tri-sail. The topsails are jackyard topsails so you hoist the sail and an extra mast (or jackyard) extending both mizzen and main mast. This is quite an exciting sail hoist and also fun coming down.

    Shaft Generator for Carbon Free Electricity

    When sailing Tecla can charge her batteries without the diesel generator as the movement through the water spins her propeller and a shaft generator captures the free energy.

    Tecla has a normal generator too, but there is no need to have it running all the time. 

    Water makers and Radiators

    Tecla can make fresh water from sea water which enables her to go on long expeditions. She has big water tanks too.

    Navigation & Communications

    Tecla has Sat C communications plus saterlite phone for Greenland Expeditions

    She also has VHF for coastal and HF long range radio. 

    For the NW Passage she will carry a Yellow Brick Tracking device so your friends and family can track the ship.

    You can currently follow her on Marine Traffic App as she has an AIS transmitting her position, spread, status etc.

    We will give customers fuller information in 2019 as she will be updating some of her equipment for her NW Passage and Antarctic seasons in 2019-20

    Gijs - Captain on the Tecla
    Gijs - Captain on the Tecla

    Tecla - a Family of Captains!

    Skippers are Jan, Jet, Janet and Gijs, all one family but two generations!  Don't worry. They take it in turns to be in charge!

    Together the Sluik family of Jan, Jannette, Gijs and Jet, muster a large number of years of traditional charter sailing experience and invite everybody to join them aboard to be a part of the history of Tecla. 

    The Tecla crew consists of three or four permanent professional sailors. This crew is partially made up of the family and completed with some dedicated sailors that we have met around the world.

    The crew give their heart and live to sailing the Tecla and can show all the tricks of trimming the sail to the fullest and teach anybody how to bake some amazing homemade bread.

    Gijs -Captain of the Tecla.

    Gijs shares the command of Tecla with his sister Jet.

    Gijs started sailing when he was a young boy. Professionally he started sailing in 2001 as deckhand on the Aagtje, Eenhoorn and later Stad Amsterdam. He worked on the Stad Amsterdam as deckhand, quartermaster and third mate over a period of 3 years.

    After that his full attention was directed to the Tecla, where he has been the full time captain for several years. Gijs has a passion for fast sailing, he is devoted to the Tecla and loves working on her deck as well as in the chartroom.

    Debbie in Classic Sailing office has sailed with Gijs when he was the first mate on a square rigger sailing from Brazil to Antarctica, and also more recently in Orkney, Shetland and the Faroes. If you can't pronounce his name Dutch style then 'Heiss' is close. He speaks great English, loves to sail every ship he works on to the max....is happiest when he can run around the deck and pull sails with the guests. Gjis has a strong interest in maritime history and exploration and always wants to take Tecla to new places.

    Jet is relief captain on Tecla.

    Jet started sailing professionally in 2005. Before that she spent many weeks a year sailing with her parents. Sitting next to Jan steering, was the best spot on board. After getting her bachelor degree in Communication, Jet worked in the office of Amnesty International for 2 years. Jet could not resist the call for adventure when the opportunity came to buy the Tecla. Jet has sailed as cook and first mate but after experience on other ships she now sails as skipper too. Jet uses her marketing and communication skills to advantage to promote Tecla and the family business too.

    Captain of Tecla - Jet receiving an award
    Captain of Tecla - Jet receiving an award

    Jannette - co-owner and manager of the Tecla.

    Janette started sailing after she met Jan. Together they bought an old Dutch vessel, the “Aagtje” and restored her to full sailing condition. For more than 10 years they sailed together on the Ijsselmeer and Waddenzee. After a short adventure with the Eenhoorn (Unicorn) the step up to the open ocean and the Tecla, was not difficult. Until recently Janette was always on board, but now she spends more time as shore manager, together with the pensioned dog Nyske and the young springer spaniel Sadie, to organize better contacts between ship, authorities, trainees etc. Missing the sailing? Of course, but she does make a few guest appearances during the season.

    Tecla manager Janette and Jan have run charter sailing ships for years
    Janette and Jan have run charter sailing ships for years

    Captain Jan - With Us in Spirit

    Jan Sluik sadly passed away in 2018 but he is such an important part of Tecla's story, we feel you should know how it all started.

    Jan  sailed and owned vessels from an early age on. Rebuilding and repairing traditional beauties is in his blood, he used to work on old timers together with his dad. In 1991 Jan and Janette launched the two mast tjalk Aagtje as a charter vessel from Hoorn. Later they switched homeport to Harlingen to sail on the Waddenzee more. In 2002 the sold the Aagtje and bought the Eenhoorn. Which they sailed from Harlingen as well and sold in 2005, after which they bought the Tecla to start a new project together with their children, Gijs and Jet.  Gijs and Jet have grown up with the sea in their blood and now are the full time skippers of Tecla, replacing their parents out of the water.

    Tecla sails with a Captain, Mate, Cook and deckhand and for Iceland and Greenland a wildlife guide.

    Current sailing grounds

    Tecla - Kit List

    tecla-sourcetecla-iceland-skipper.jpg

    Kit List for Tecla 

    THIS IS TECLA standard voyage kit list. Specialist Antarctic kit list to follow shortly

    Included

    • 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

     

    Off

    Tecla - Reviews

    Tecla crew enjoying afternoon sun

    ll

    What did you enjoy the most?

    Very difficult to separate out the various events but certainly the fjord voyage was better due to the increased variety of the programme.

    What was the worst bit?

    A shore-to-ship rib transfer in rough and windy conditions.

    Why do you sail?

    Freedom, adventure, commonality of purpose.

    Summary of the voyage.

    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.

    Two voyages on Tecla Spring 2019 

     

    This was a great voyage.  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 Fair Isle 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. K Barker, Tecla Ullapool to Reykjavik, May 2018

    What was the best bit?

    Sailing under the Skye Bridge on a windy, sunny morning. ..

    What was the worst bit?

    Being sea sick on the first day, but I can't blame the boat or the crew for that - just the stormy weather.

    Why do you sail?

    I have never sailed before, this was a 'give it a try' holiday - it hasn't put me off doing it again sometime

    Any other comments

    An enjoyable week in less than ideal weather conditions. The crew was competent and friendly, the catering excellent - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a voyage on Tecla." Jonathan E. Sailing in Scotland

     

    "Brilliant, I would do it again tomorrow. And good value too. Food was excellent. I loved the spicy meat balls and my wife loved the fresh langoustines." Steve.

    The voyage was " 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." Mike 

    What aspects did you enjoy most? "The sailing from Faroes isles to Iceland in perfect weather." What aspects did you enjoy least? "cannot answer this question as enjoyed every single moment"  If you could sum up the trip? "It was my first voyage. I just thought I like being out, I like being active, and I like the sea, so I will have a look at sailing.  After that marvellous experience I will certainly continue." Annon feedback form  May 2015

    Sailed on Tecla to St Kilda in June - amazing crew (Gijs, Janet, Barbara) and great company. I loved everything about the trip and strongly recommend to join the Tecla folks. Most enjoyable classic sailing with great food, true sense of teamwork, great guidance and good sense of humour. Can't get any better." Cheers, Thomas M.

    "Best Experience Ever (5 stars for sailing, crew and food) " David on TC28/04/14

    I sailed aboard Tecla from Oban to the Scillies in very early May. It was cold, wet and mostly pretty windy. It was thoroughly excellent. The Tecla is a great little ship, but it was the skipper and crew (paid and "trainees") that made it for me. Great job, thanks guys. I plan to come again. Steve W

    I‘d never been sailing in Iceland or on Tecla so this was a double first for me. What I like about remote places is that the people you meet are welcoming and pleased to see you. They seem to be secure in their communities and proud of where they live. In 8 days in Iceland I only saw one policeman very very briefly. Not at the airport but following us for about 30 seconds in a police car in Reykjavik. Was it cold in Iceland, Yes and No, on arrival there was no need for more than 2 layers on top and one below. But later when sailing and the wind picked up from the north it did require 5 top layers and 2 below but we were less than 30 miles from the Arctic Circle!  Overall I really enjoyed the voyage and the wildlife. Adam Purser June 2018

    Off

    Itinerary

    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 above, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her.

    Visas and Vaccinations

    Classic sailing is unable to be an expert for advice on visas and vaccinations for customers traveling outside their own country.

    Please seek advice relating to your nationality traveling to the countries of your voyage from the country you will be setting off from and returning to.

    Passports

    In most instances, you will need a passport that expires six months or more after your return to your home country.

    What others say about us

    CURRENT AVERAGE   4.6 STARS
    249 REVIEWS

    Facebook reviews

    "A life changing experience with talented crew who gave us hope for mankind ...and biscuits"

    Customer comments

    Read what the press say about our holidays
     

    Magazine articles

     

    Why book with Classic Sailing?

    The call of the sea

    Destinations for sailors & explorers

    Over 300 voyages a year

    11, 051 customers introduced to

    traditional boats and tall ships.

    Tell us your sailing dreams

    Experts

    Office Team of Skippers

    6 Times Around the World between Us

    Selling Holidays for 22 Years

    2 Dogs to make us laugh

    Contact Us

    How to Book

    Voyage Applications Online 24 /7

    How to book a voyage

    Terms & Conditions   Travel Insurance

    Loyalty Discounts & Price Match

    Frequently Asked Questions