Adventure Sailing Holiday: Spitsbergen
Sail and explore the magical polar wilderness of Spitsbergen
If you've ever dreamt of weaving your way into icy coves to anchor for the night, listening to the crack of nearby icebergs and the calls of walruses and reindeer ashore, then you will love Spitsbergen. Incredibly remote, awe-inspiring and unlike anywhere else you will ever get to sail, this land is full of history. See nature at its most beautiful, rare wildlife and be part of what is a true adventure.
NO PREVIOUS SAILING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. FULL TUITION GIVEN
These are the available dates and routes. To book your place, please select the dates from the drop-down above the ‘Add to Cart’ button.
TRIP CODE: TTL160621
- Start date / place: June 16 2021. Tromso, Norway
- End date / place: July 02 2021. Longyearbjen, Svalbard
- Full price: £3,499
- Deposit: £1,400
TRIP CODE: LTT200721
- Start date / place: July 20 2021. Longyearbjen, Svalbard
- End date / place: August 06 2021. Tromso, Norway
- Full price: £3,499
- Deposit: £1,400
Please see ‘TRAVEL – GETTING TO & FROM YOUR TRIP’ tab for advice on start and end points.
This is 40% of the trip price and is non-refundable. On making payment, your berth is guaranteed.
Paying the balance
The balance of the invoice can be paid at any time. It must be received by Rubicon 3 90 days before the trip start date or your place will automatically be cancelled. We will remind you of the date nearer the time.
Cancellations and moving trips
Our expedition sailing yachts only have between 7 and 10 berths on them. When you book, you are committing to take one of these places. Due to these very limited numbers, we will often have turned away someone else who would have liked the berth. Unlike many other holidays, please understand this gives us little if any flexibility to make changes or to move trips. We will always endeavour to assist you (& the earlier you tell us the better), but unless we can find someone else to take your place, we usually cannot move your booking.
This is a typical itinerary for Spitsbergen to Tromsø. If you are on the route headed north, please just reverse it – there is no significant difference! What makes expeditions so special however is that there can be no fixed itinerary and so no part of this is guaranteed. It is indicative of a typical expedition to this region. The wind and the weather ultimately shape what’s possible each day and you are in the very high latitudes where the weather can be glorious or cold and harsh. But that’s what the adventure’s all about!
Join the boat and get your belongings packed away and relax. There’s plenty of things to do in the future but right now it’s about relaxing, finding your way around the boat and enjoying the surroundings. After lunch, we’ll start to show you the boat, issue lifejackets and oilskins and teach you the most important skills when on board.
Briefings and training
Today is all about getting up to speed with the boat. Whether you are a complete novice or more experienced sailor, everyone benefits from detailed introductions, safety briefings and training sessions. You will have two highly experienced instructors to guide you through every aspect that you need to know to have a great sailing holiday. By lunchtime we should be casting off the lines, hoisting the sails and working through all the key sailing manoeuvres such as tacking and gybing, reefing and knot tying! By the end of the day everyone on board should feel comfortable with the basics – even though there’s more to learn and practice every day. We’ll find a lovely anchorage to spend the night in front of a glacier.
Today we will sail to Tryghamna to visit the remains of the seventeenth century English whaling station and an eighteenth century Russian Pomor hunting station. We can also hike from here to Alkhornet for some incredible bird watching on the vast cliffs there. This is also often a great place to see arctic foxes and reindeer.
Now we sail through the Forlandsundet, bound for Fuglehuken, This is where the expedition of Willem Barents first landed, the crew becoming some of the first recorded people to set foot on the island. You will see the graves of whalers here.
Next we hope to be to land and explore Ytre Norskøya. This is a small island which was used for many years by whalers looking for the tell-tale water spouts of their prey. You will see the remains of the 17th century blubber ovens and graves of some 200 Dutch whalers. This is another fantastic place to see birds such as Arctic skua.
Raudfjord on the very north coast of Spitsbergen is incredibly beautiful and surrounded by some genuinely spectacular glaciers. It is a great place to see ringed and bearded seals and there is a decent chance of spotting a polar bear and beluga whales.
Sea ice can make this impossible some years but hopefully we can land on the northern-side of Reindyrfla. This is the largest tundra area of Spitsbergen.
Now we head for Liefdefjorden. This is where king eiders and grey phalaropes nest. Ice will probably block the approach to the Monacobreen glacier and the warm springs in Bockfjord, but this remains an amazing place to visit, teeming with birds, sea life and often polar bears.
One of our very favourite places in Spitsbergen. This is a stunningly beautiful bay, with vast glaciers rolling down to the sea and – astonishingly – a white sandy beach! The brave amongst you may want to jump in for a little swim amongst the floating ice. It’s quiet invigorating!
Today we will sail to Ny Alesund, the northernmost permanently inhabited village in the world, a centre for polar research and a former starting point for many North Pole expeditions such as that of Roald Amundsen.
We return to the main outpost in Spitsbergen and it’s time to buy more supplies, hand back our rifles and do the passage planning for our sail back across the Barents Strait to Norway.
On the south eastern tip of Isafjord is this incredible semi abandoned Russian mining town, with vast soviet era murals and statues of Lenin. An incredible last stop before our sail south.
Passage to Norway
A wonderful open ocean passage now, as we head south to the northern shores of Norway. Sailing all day and night (albeit there is no darkness with the 24 hour sun) we will make rapid progress and the 500-600nm will soon disappear and the cliffs of Norway appear over the horizon.
Tromsø and the surrounding area
It is quite the culture shock to be back in a modern Scandinavian city after wild and remote Spitsbergen. It is also fantastic and, over beers and hot food, it’s a great chance to relax, share photos and talk about the amazing last two weeks.
Debriefs, clean up and goodbyes
It’s always amazing how quickly everyone has become firm friends and the boat and its routines seem so familiar. Yet it’s time to wrap it all up and head home. We’ll get the boat back to how we found it, sign logbooks, exchange emails and disembark by 1200hrs (we prefer if you don’t, but if you need to catch a ferry or flight, you can leave as early as you need to on the last day).
JOINING & LEAVING THE BOAT
- You should join the boat at 1100hrs on the start day. It is important you are not late.
- You will disembark between 0700 and 1200hrs on the end day.
- For exact start and end locations, please see the ‘Dates & Prices’ tab
INFORMATION TO HELP GET TO AND FROM THE START AND END POINTS
- Tromso airport (IATA code: TOS) is also well served by Norwegian, Wideroe and SAS. You will nearly always have to connect in Oslo or Stockholm. The airport is about a 20 minute taxi ride to the boat, which is usually docked next to Sjøgata.
- If you are staying overnight before or after your trip, the Clarion Collection Hotel With is well placed.
- Longyearbjen airport (IATA code: LYR) is well served by Norwegian and SAS. You will nearly always have to change somewhere in Norway first, so allow a full day for the travel and flights often arrive and depart at 0100 or 0200hrs (it’s 24 daylight here!)
- A taxi will connect you between the airport and Longyearbjen harbour
AGE & EXPERIENCE
These adventure sailing holidays are open to anyone aged 18 – 70 years. No previous sailing experience is required for this route
CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT
We provide the foul weather clothing, life-jackets and all other technical equipment you will need. You need to bring a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots.
FITNESS TO SAIL
We believe that as many people as possible should be able to head out to sea and have a great adventure. However, it is essential for everyone’s safety that you are in a fit enough state to be on board. Ability to complete the five exercises below is a pre-requisite for joining as a crew member. They are not designed to be physically taxing and almost everyone should be able to complete them. Rather they are in place to check that you have the stability and basic physical condition to be on-board. If when you join the vessel the skipper believes you are not capable of completing these exercises, you will probably not be allowed to embark. If you have any doubts at all about your ability to complete these exercises safely, you must contact your doctor before attempting them.
Four weeks before your trip start date, you will be sent final joining instructions. At this time you will be asked to complete our medical declaration. At the time of booking, it is your responsibility to be sure that you will be able to pass all the criteria at the start date of your trip. If you cannot pass the criteria you will probably be refused permission to board.
- All crew must have adequate travel insurance in place for your sailing holiday.
- We strongly recommend that you arrange insurance as soon as you book. This ideally will cover you for any mishaps, medical or otherwise, in the build-up to your holiday so that should you have to cancel, you can reclaim your fees.
- Please note we will not refund your money or cancel your invoice due to medical issues that disqualify you from joining your trip.
- For our latest guidance on travel insurance, please read here.
TRIP CATEGORY: OFFSHORE SAILING
For a full explanation of what to expect with the various trip ratings please click here.
INCLUDED IN YOUR SAILING HOLIDAY
- Fladen immersion suits. These will keep you warm in even the coldest, windiest conditions.
- Ocean-spec lifejackets. These are the best on the market.
- All on-board food and snacks.
- Daily sailing lessons and tuition from two highly experienced instructors.
- RYA sailing qualifications can be earned where applicable.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Your travel to and from the start and end points.
- Travel insurance (see our travel insurance page here)
- Any alcohol – but feel free to bring your own or buy some along the route.
- Any meals you eat ashore.
Everything’s included except for flights, travel insurance, a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots. There are no hidden extras.
- These expeditions have small numbers of people on board. When you book, you are committing to being a part of the crew.
- These are genuine adventure sailing holidays and you will be helping sail the boat, planning where we go, navigating, cooking and keeping the boat clean and tidy.
- When you book, the deposit is non refundable. It is possible to cancel subsequently, however you may still be liable for the balance of the invoice, depending on how close you are to the start date when you cancel.
- Please ensure you have read and agreed to the T&Cs and Trip Notes before booking.