The best of Lofoten in winter; wild and wonderfull!

Best of Lofoten Winter, Southbound
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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 colors of the rainbow, both night and day. Our view in all directions is to snow dusted mountains and the sea is fresh and blue. 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 Svolvær to Bodø

We sail from Svolvær, spend a week south to Bodø, and 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 variation of our very popular summer classic, Best of Lofoten, in winter. It might be even more spectacular in winter than in summer. As winter’s great variations 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. But 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 out 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 sailing 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, raise 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 in Svolvær

Welcome aboard! We meet at the dock in Svolvær at 16:00 pm, get settled in the sailboat and get to know each other. Before we hoist sails we’ll become familiar with the boat, equipment and safety routines onboard. When ready, we set course towards Henningsvær, and find a spot in between all the fishing boats here for the night. Underway we practice boat handling, “man-overboard” drills, and other emergency situations.

Day 2: At the Lofoten winter fishery with a sailboat!

At this time of year Henningsvær is filled with fishing boats from the whole Norwegian coast. The skrei (migrating cod) from the Barents Sea are now coming to spawn here around Lofoten, and we will try our fishing luck out in Henningsværstraumen along with all the other boats here. Who got the best haill (North Norwegian fishing luck) today?

With the boat full of cod, we set our course towards Skrova where we make ourselves a great cod-dinner onboard.

Day 3: Hike to Høgskrova and sail to Trollfjorden

 

Out at Skrova, the whaling-island out in Vestfjorden, there is often no snow all winter. We will have the chance here this morning to do the small hike to Høgskrova or one of the many beautiful beaches on thi island. After lunch we cast off towards Raftsundet and Trollfjorden. We explore the spectacular Raftsundet with our cameras ready and dock in Trollfjorden for the night!

Day 4: Across Vestfjorden to the Tranøy lighthouse!

We wake up in the magical Trollfjord, with its towering mountains and peaks, this morning. From here we make ourselves ready for the crossing of Vestfjorden, where we set our route past Risvær and aim towards Tranøy lighthouse. The lighthouse at Tranøy, at the inner part of Vestfjorden, has been an iconic landmark and navigational aid for seafarers in Vestfjorden through history. Depending on the weather conditions, we aim to take a trip on land to the lighthouse itself with its panoramic view across to the Lofoten-wall. Hopefully we have a clear night and can make our tripods ready on the dock for the night’s aurora-show!

 

Day 5: Sailing day through Steigen to Nordskot

We have now been onboard for almost a week, and we really start to get our sailing skills in place! After breakfast we sail into the heart of Steigen, passing by Hamarøy and Engeløya on our way to Nordskot. Here the two Norwegian polar explorers, Børge Ousland and Randi Skaug, each have their own little islands, and we hope to stretch our legs on at least one of them. We stay the night here in Nordskot with the opportunity to do sauna and have a refreshing swim in the sea for those that haven’t tried the water yet.

Day 6: Kayak in Nordskot and sail further south

If the weather allows, we have the opportunity this morning to try out our paddling skills in kayaks around the magnificent little archipelago around Nordskot. With its stunning azure blue sea and white beaches. After lunch we hoist sails again further south in the direction of Bodø, and we find ourselves a suitable anchorage or harbor for the night.

Day 7: Sail to Bodø and goodbye for now!

The last day of your adventure offers the last sail to Bodø. Maybe this is the day where we will get visited by the orcas? We start early enough, so we reach Bodø after lunch with enough time to pack, clean and tidy ourselves out of the boat by 16.00 pm latest. Thanks for a wonderful week and exciting experience together!

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 starts in Svolvær and ends in Bodø.

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.

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