The best of Lofoten in winter; wild and wonderful!

Best of Lofoten Winter, Northbound
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There is something special about the atmosphere in Lofoten during winter. The air is cold and crystal clear, and the sky painted in all the colours of the rainbow, both night and day. Our view in all directions is to snow dusted mountains and the fresh and blue sea. The tourists no longer fill the streets and we have the grandeur and the views to ourselves. Between the blizzards that roll in over Vestfjorden and give us good sailing wind and a real challenge behind the helm.

Best of Lofoten in the wildest season

This trip is for you who want to experience the wild Lofoten nature at the most raw time of the year. For those who want to experience the very special winter light. And get a taste of the historic winter fishing in Lofoten. On board the boat, we don’t have street lights or other light pollution, so we get to experience all the shades of the sky at this magical time of year. Hopefully we will also be visited by the dancing northern lights across the sky.

From Bodø to Svolvær

We sail from Bodø, and spend a week north to Svolvær. Underway we explore Steigen and Lofoten on the way. Along the route we hope to race against the Northern Lights, learn more about sailing and the areas we sail through. And about ourselves. This is a winter variation of our very popular summer classic, Best of Lofoten. It might be even more spectacular in winter than in summer, as winter’s great contrasts in light and weather provide unique memories and raw nature experiences.

Be part of the crew on board

As on all our trips, you do not need to be able to sail to participate. However, our winter sailings are of the rougher type. Regardless of whether you have a lot or little experience, we will challenge you and you will learn a lot. This is not least an excellent opportunity for those who want to test winter sailing, learn more about navigation in the dark, sail in changing weather and wind under the conditions the dark season offers. If you just want to take part in an unforgettable trip, you are also most welcome on board!

Our skilled skipper will take care of sail training and navigation on board. While the co-skipper/guide will assist with knowledge of the area and marine life. We will take you with us as part of our crew. As you get the opportunity to take part in all tasks on board: Stand at the helm, hoist the sails, cook, navigate, take a morning bath, gut fish, serve anchor dram, tie knots, etc. The complete sailing experience!

Our winter sailing adventure with SailNorway contained everything from spectacular sailing outside Senja, hard and fantastic tacking along steep mountain walls, on anchor under the glimmering night sky, northern lights-photography and an including friendship among all the different people onboard, totally unique!

Harald Lahn

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and sail towards Steigen

Welcome aboard! We meet at the dock in Bodø at 16:00 pm, check into the sailboat and get to know each other. Before we hoist sails, we familiarize ourselves with the boat and go through safety routines on board. When we are ready, we head north towards Steigen, where we will find a sheltered anchorage for the night as the weather permits. Along the way, we practice handling the boat, man-overboard and other emergency situations.

Day 2: Sailing day up to Nordskot

We wake up to our first morning on adventure, who dares to take the first morning swim?

After breakfast we sail further north. Depending on the weather, we set the course towards Nordskot. This will hopefully be a proper sailing day, where we will learn a lot about sailing and navigation! At Nordskot both the Norwegian polar explorers; Børge Ousland and Randi Skaug, each have their own island. And we aim to land on at least one of them and stretch our legs a bit. We also have the possibility of a sauna and a refreshing dip here in the evening for those who didn’t dare to swim this morning!

Day 3: Kayak on Nordskot and sail to Engeløya

Weather and conditions permitting, this morning we have the opportunity to test our skills in kayaking around the magical archipelago and among the chalk-white beaches here in Nordskot. After lunch, we sail further north into the heart of Steigen, and find a suitable port for the night around Engeløya. Hopefully the weather will be clear and fine, and we will get our camera stands ready on the jetty before tonight’s aurora show!

Day 4: Via Tranøy lighthouse and across the Vestfjord! 

Tranøy lighthouse is an iconic landmark and a beloved navigation mark for seafarers at Vestfjorden. We sail past Tranøy, and depending on the weather, we’ll see if we take a trip on land to the lighthouse itself with a view over the entire Lofoten Wall! The route continues across Vestfjorden to Risvær, and the evening/night is spent inshore around Raftsundet and Trollfjorden! This will be a full sailing day where we will cover over 40 nautical miles. There will be more training on sailing, navigation and sail handling. We try to capture some of the dark time light with the camera, and cod for dinner with the fishing rod!

 

Day 5: Trollfjorden and beach landings at Storemolla

We take a calm morning, as we wake up in the mythical Trollfjord. Where rock walls up to 400 vertical meters shoot straight out of the fjord, and it is only a few hundred meters wide at its narrowest. We explore this fjord and the rest of the spectacular scenery in Raftsundet with our camera ready. Before we sail in the direction of Storemolla and to one of our favorite anchorages. We hope for clear weather tonight too and make a real bonfire on the beach, with food on the fire and hopefully the northern lights in the sky!

Day 6: Sail to Skrova, hiking to Høgskrova and the evening in Henningsvær

We have now been sailing for almost a week and our experience are really starting to pick up! This day we start with a sail to Skrova, the whaling island out in Vestfjorden. It’s mostly snow-free here all year round, and we have the opportunity to go for a little hike to Høgskrova, the top of the island. In the afternoon we set off again towards Henningsvær, where we have dinner on land and celebrate our great adventure!

Day 7: Sail to Svolvær and home!

The last day of the trip offers the last sailing on the Vestfjorden. Maybe this is the day when the killer whales come to visit? Depending on how early we set off, we might have time to stop in Kabelvåg before arriving in Svolvær. In Kabelvåg you will find both an aquarium, a museum and a gallery, and not least the magnificent Lofoten Cathedral. We reach Svolvær after lunch and in time for us to wash, pack and clean ourselves out of the boat by no later than 16.00 pm. Thanks for a wonderful trip!

Changes to the program

 

The program should be seen as a starting point which we adapt according to weather and conditions. We reserve the right to constantly improve the program for the better. With us along the way, we always have dinghies for beach landings and small expeditions. We have fishing equipment for the cod, and hiking equipment for bonfires and summit hikes – we are ready for adventure, are you?!

What is included?

  • A trip experience with sailboat – experienced skipper/instructor with local knowledge on board
  • All food we eat onboard during the trip
  • Our Comfort Package, which consists of accommodation onboard in a shared double cabin (bunk or double bed) with a ready-made bed (warm and nice duvets and pillows!)
  • An environmentally friendly, local, sustainable, unique, exotic and exclusive Norwegian adventure holiday
  • A shared experience and friendship with like-minded adventurers from around the world
  • A lot of time outdoors – raw and honest nature experiences
  • Use of our shared equipment: dinghies, kayaks, fishing equipment, etc. when possible
  • All boat-related costs such as diesel, propane and harbor fees
  • Personal safety equipment; Helly Hansen inflatable lifejacket
  • Instruction, advice, guidance and practical training in boating and sailing

What is not included?

  • Travel to and from the start/end location
  • Optional meals at a cafes/restaurants during the trip
  • Entrance to galleries, museums, or other alternative activities that you/we may come up with
  • Rental of equipment and/or activities from external operators, ex. paddling, glacier hiking or surfing where possible
  • Drinks such as wine, beer or exclusive apple juice and other luxuries (yes, we drink beer and wine on board, bring your own)
  • Travel insurance and/or cancellation insurance – (up to you, but recommended!)

Important info

Travel

This trip start in Bodø and ends in Svolvær, Lofoten.

You find more information on travel, equipment and other tips under Practical info.

Deposit and payment

You only pay a deposit (NOK 6000) upon registration, the remainder of the payment is due 60 days prior to departure.

Safety and risk onboard

We are all about people, and so we also take safety very seriously. On our trips we practice sail- and boat handling also for safety, and we spend time going through various situations that can arise at sea, how to handle them and how to avoid them.

Onboard a boat everyone must know what to do in critical situations and in the event of an emergency. Our philosophy is that partaking and participation builds safety. It is important for the safety of the whole boat that you are a participant onboard, not just a passenger.

Therefore all our trips are to be considered sailing courses in addition to being great  holidays and adventures: You are trained to make up the crew onboard and so we build a capable team onboard.

Feel free to contact us for a chat about safety and risk on our adventures.

Level of the trip

No sailing experience? No problem! Our sailing adventures welcome both novices and seasoned sailors for an inclusive and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re new to sailing or a salty sea dog, our trips cater to all levels.

We aim to transform beginners into sailors quickly while offering experienced participants greater responsibilities and challenges. Our mainland sailing journeys involve 44-50 feet boats navigating coastal and protected waters, occasionally crossing open stretches for excitement. Route adjustments based on weather and conditions ensure a safe and adaptable voyage.

Trips are not overly strenuous; with rotating positions, participants can balance sailing and relaxation. Active engagement minimizes seasickness, and if it occurs, it passes swiftly. Weather, however, is unpredictable, with the potential for stronger winds and various conditions in northern Norway and the Arctic, making each trip a true sailing adventure. Be prepared for calm winds and rough weather—embracing the elements for an unforgettable experience.

What we expect from you

Our trips require a little effort from you who are joining – everyone on board must be ready to contribute and to give of themselves also socially; the more you open up, share and interest yourself in the others onboard, the more enjoyable it gets. 

When you’re sailing with us you are invited to take part in the running of the ship and all that comes with it. You will be sailing, docking, navigating, looking out for whales and icebergs, but also making food, serving others, doing dishes and helping clean the boat during the trip, and contributing in other ways when needed. Onboard we are all in the same boat and when all help out, the ship is most happy. 

Our experience is that doing things together with others out in nature, and not least cooperating and doing activities with new people and different personalities than you might have around you normally, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable moments and stories:)

Equipment and packing

As with all activities, there is plenty of special equipment and clothing for sailing. If you don’t have any of this, you will get very far with normal hiking/outdoor equipment. You do not need to buy a lot of new equipment to join our trips. Use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment – buy quality items that will last! What you need is something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and layered warm clothing underneath.

Some jackets may not be waterproof “enough”, or might not perform too well in salt water, so you can consider a set of oilskin for the wettest days (available for rent or purchase onboard). A pair of higher rubber boots for disembarking from the dinghy is very good to have, as well as indoor shoes below deck. Out at sea and in the Arctic it can be cold even in summer, so bring both swimwear and plenty of warm clothes. Well before departure, we will send you a detailed recommended packing list.

Read more and see our packing tips here:

PS: In a sailboat, you pack in a bag or sack, not in a rigid suitcase. 🙂

Food & cooking onboard

On our trips, you will be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all tasks for the operation of the boat. This includes cooking and preparing food – everyone take turns in the galley! Skippers and crew assist as much as they can along the way.

We have great menus with tasty, healthy and “boat-friendly” food, and for each trip we order provisions for all meals onboard. If you have allergies or preferences, let us know in the registration form and we will take that into account as best as we can. You are also most welcome to bring any special food or drink with you. Why not bring some specialities from your country or region for the boat to enjoy? 

During a weeklong trip we often sail by a good restaurant or two where we can have dinner on land. Some places we need to pre-book and we will then need to choose a menu before we arrive. More about all of this when you come onboard!

Life onboard & accommodation

Life on a sailboat is super social and fun, but it might feel a bit intimate at first. No worries though, that vibe usually fades after the first hour. Everyone chips in to run the boat, and we’re all part of the crew, which means quick bonding.

We’re keen to get to know you and hope you’ll connect with the rest of the crew. It takes some patience, generosity, and an open mind to thrive, but soon you’ll be focused on making new friends and enjoying raw nature experiences once sea life feels like home.

Sleeping arrangements in shared cabins with double or bunk beds can be a bit of a puzzle, but we’re pretty good at figuring it out. Let us know if you have preferences. You’re on your own for land accommodations before or after the trip.

The boat provides heating and good food, but fresh water isn’t always abundant. Water conservation means not showering every day, but when near freshwater sources, we make the most of it. But nothing beats a morning sea swim for that fresh feeling.

Du finner mer om reise, utstyr og andre praktiske tips på vår side om “Praktisk informasjon”

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