From Ocean crossing to Whisky sail!

Iceland - Faroe Islands - Scotland

The desire for adventure is genetically coded into us humans. Now is your chance to follow in the footsteps of the adventurous Vikings to expand your horizons. On an unforgettable voyage among the islands of the North Atlantic; Iceland – Faroe Islands – Scotland. From volcanic rocks and hot springs in Iceland, via the Faroe Islands’ green mountain sides and waterfalls that plunge straight into the sea. To unbeatable sandy beaches and world-renowned whisky traditions in Scotland. On this trip, we really get to experience the high seas with two ocean crossings over several days. We sail through areas rich in animal and bird life, and on land we clearly see how our Norse ancestors have influenced these archipelagos’ culture.

Island hopping in the North Atlantic 

We start our voyage from the saga island of Iceland where we explore the northwest and west coasts. The volcanic activity with hot springs in every other fjord makes the visit completely unique. We pass the glaciated, volcanic peak Snæfellsjökull, an impressive sight. Depending on the weather, conditions and what we want to prioritize, it can be possible to arrange a guided glacier walk to this scenic peak. Before we leave Iceland, we visit the special island of Vestmannaeyer all the way in the south. This is the last stop before our first ocean crossing.

The Faroe Islands offer spectacular rocky shores and views we do not find many other places. It’s obvious that the open sea has battered these ocean cliffs and shaped the landscape for thousands of years. The Faroe Islands put a good effort in maintaining their Norse cultural heritage, and we get an exciting encounter with their culture. Once in Scotland and the Hebrides, we spend the rest of our time hopping between these traditional islands. We visit some of the world’s leading whiskey distilleries and sail against the tidal currents.

Proper ocean sailing

We’ll cover around 1000 nm on this expedition. With two weeks to spend, this means around half of our time on board is sailing en route. Including two legs with offshore sailing, Iceland – Faroe Islands, and Faroe Islands – Scotland. During the crossings and underway sailing, we keep watch around the clock and learn a lot about navigation, sailing and seamanship. We’ll also get a raw and genuine experience of the natural forces underway, with wind, weather, waves and sea. It’s quite an experience to surf down the large waves of the North Atlantic with our heavy expedition ship!

This expedition is for you who are curious about ocean sailing, for you who want more seamiles under your belt, and for you who have always wanted to visit the Faroe Islands, the Hebrides, or Iceland. This is a trip for you who want to combine an active holiday, exciting anchorages and ports, and experience different cultures with Norse elements, across the North Atlantic by sail. You do not need any previous experience with sailing to join this voyage. Though if you have sailed a lot before, you will still be challenged and get more responsibility onboard.

Our expedition boat, Valiente

It’s not just any sailboat we use on this trip, but our 70-foot expedition boat Valiente. She is a very sturdy and comfortable boat built in steel for sailing in arctic waters. The boat is amply equipped and has large outdoor areas, a wheelhouse, and a saloon with a 360-degree view. Here you can see pictures and read more about Valiente.

Be part of the crew on board

From SeilNorge we provide skipper, co-skipper and guide/crew. As a participant with us you are always involved in all tasks on board. Everything from standing behind the helm and hoisting sails, to cooking, cleaning and planning the sailing legs. We mostly sail around the clock and divide everyone into watch teams, where we rotate with 4 hours on and 8 hours off.  In addition, we add a few shorter shifts each afternoon, so that the night shifts also rotate between the watch teams throughout the expedition.

A sea crossing expedition with us, is first and foremost a great voyage of discovery. Though also an excellent opportunity to learn about sailing and navigation, and not least using the boat as our base for discoveries and experiences on land. We are all adventurers – and we explore together. Are you ready for a sailing adventure from Iceland to the Faroes and Scotland?

Environment & Sustainability

Our northern waters are vulnerable areas under pressure from people and climate change. In SeilNorge we are concerned with taking care of the environment to the greatest extent possible. We believe that small boats with few people and little pollution and waste, are significantly less harmful to the environment, climate and local wildlife than larger vessels and cruise ships. At the places we visit, we try to clean up rubbish and only take home memories and photos. We avoid leaving any traces behind us. 

The lowest possible carbon footprint is important to us. We sail as long as there is wind, and we work purposefully with food, purchasing and waste management. Even if we have to use our engine for propulsion when there is no wind, our trips are among the most sustainable ways to experience the Arctic and North Atlantic waters. Join us on an exotic, unique, sustainable, environmentally friendly and unforgettable holiday!

A fin whale in our wake

There is nothing like surfing down a huge wave with a sturdy ship on the high seas! And perhaps with a fin whale in our wake? Like in this film clip from one of our previous trips in the North Atlantic, from Shetland to Norway.

Several highlights : swimming in the ocean, wildlife experiences, bonfire on the beach, just to mention a few. This was an amazing, fun trip, full of adventure and new experiences - with an awesome group!

Linda Dugger (Iceland - Scotland 2023)

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome on board in Iceland!

We meet in the harbor of Isafjordur in Iceland at 12.00. We start by getting to know each other, before going through the plan for the week. We familiarize ourselves with the boat and equipment, and stow the boat with provisions and equipment. Life onboard an expedition requires cooperation, and before departure we go through routines and procedures for sailing and emergency situations. We are already setting off for our adventure this first evening!

Day 2-3: Along the volcanic and glaciated coast of Iceland

 

We spend the first sailing days along the northwest and west coast of Iceland, where we explore the inaccessible Westfjords and the unique landscape here. Continuing south we find some of Iceland’s most volcanically active areas, and the Snæfellsnes peninsula is a natural stop. With the towering Snæfellsjökull mountain at the tip of the peninsula. The national park around the mountain extends all the way from the shoreline up to the 1446 meter high glacial peak! If the weather permits and some of us wish, it may be possible to arrange a guided glacier hike up to the top of Snæfellsjökull.

Day 4-7: From Iceland to the Faroe Islands

 

Turning port along the south coast of Iceland, we pass the lonely lighthouse Pridrangar which stands completely by itself on top of a pinnacle in the middle of the sea. Before we arrive at Vestmannaeyjar. From here we head southeast towards the Faroe Islands! The crossing is around 370 nautical miles and will take about 3 days. Perhaps a bit more or a bit less, the wind will decide! During the crossing we really get the feeling of the high seas, and we’ll experience the forces of nature and the wildlife! Maybe we will receive a visit from a whale or two, and the seabirds will make the journey with us. When we finally reach the coast of the Faroe Islands, we’ll find a good harbor, perhaps in the well-known traditional village of Saksun, or on the island of Vágar.

Day 8: Faroe Islands; coastal cliffs and waterfalls

 

In the northwestern part of the Faroe Islands we find some of the most spectacular sights the archipelago has to offer. Here, the Atlantic Ocean has formed steep cliffs and pinnacles that plunge straight into the sea. We sail past the village Gásadalur with its world-famous waterfall, Múlafossur, and the formations Drangarnir and Tindholmur. Other nice stops are Vestmanna, with its famous bird mountains, and Midvagúr with the hike to Leitisvatn.

Day 9: Thorshavn

 

Before we sail further south, we will stop by the capital of the Faroe Islands, Thorshavn. This is a very charming city, which could easily be the backdrop for the latest Hollywood movie about Vikings. The old town is largely intact and features narrow streets between log houses with peat and grass on the roofs. The town is bustling with life, and we spend some time exploring what this historic city has to offer.

Day 10-11: From the Faroe Islands to the Hebrides

 

From the southern tip of the Faroes it’s about 170 nautical miles to the Hebrides on the northwest coast of Scotland. A significantly shorter crossing than the previous one, and it will take us one and a half to two days. We get another chance to connect with nature out on the ocean, without cell phone coverage, but maybe with playful dolphins on our bow!

Day 12-14: Whisky-sail around the west coast of Scotland

 

We spend the last days of the trip exploring the beautiful Hebrides. Here we sail between medieval castles and small villages with grassy hills and rocky shores as a backdrop. The Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Skye are among the places we will pass by. Here we find whisky distilleries everywhere, and we take time to sail by and have a taste.

Day 15: Bye for now in Mallaig

 

The expedition comes to an end as we dock in the harbor of Mallaig, a vibrant coastal town in Western Scotland. We arrive at Mallaig in time for us to pack, wash and tidy ourselves off the boat and muster off by 16.00. For the journey home, we recommend the picturesque train route The Jacobite Steam Train from Mallaig towards Glasgow and Edinburgh Which is famous as the train used in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express. Thank you for an adventurous voyage!

Changes to the program

 

The program should be seen as a starting point, which we adapt depending on weather and conditions underway. 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 climbs – we are ready for adventure, are you?!

What is included?

  • A trip experience with sailboat – experienced skipper with local knowledge on board
  • Co-skipper and crew/guide on board
  • All food we eat on board 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
  • Survival suit and Search and Rescue (SAR) Insurance for everyone onboard
  • 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 Isafjordur, Icealnd and ends in Mallaig, Scotland.
You find more info 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.

Safety and risk on our expeditions

As mentioned, we take safety very seriously. Even more so on our expeditions, as we then explore really remote waters and terrain, cross open oceans and sail into areas with additional risk factors such as sea ice or poor charts and uncharted waters. We deal with this by having an extra focus on the situations we may encounter among everyone onboard, for each expedition. We sail in these remote areas only in the most optimal seasons; and we use larger and very solid boats for our expeditions. Which are both equipped and sized to cope with this type of expedition trips and waters very well.

We are absolutely certain that sailing is the safest and most accessible way to visit these very inaccessible places we go on our expeditions. However, all sailing in general, and particularly sailing in arctic regions and over open seas, involves a certain risk that you must be aware of when joining.

Level of the expedition

Some have their first sailing experience ever, joining us on an ocean crossing! Please note that our expeditions require a certain physical health and mobility level.

The boats we sail on our expeditions are larger, robust and sit well in the sea. On our sailing expeditions we both sail in more coastal, sheltered waters, and cross open stretches of waters. On some of our expeditions even ocean crossings over several days at sea. An incredibly wonderful and special experience!

Weather dictates our journey, and we adapt each expedition’s program accordingly, often allowing extra days for flexibility in assessing and choosing optimal weather windows. Despite planning and preparations, we can’t control the weather, so be prepared for various conditions. The proximity to nature’s forces on such expeditions is a rare and rewarding experience.

On expeditions, we sail with many participants, forming watch teams for a solid onboard team spirit. Rotating watches around the clock ensures active involvement without overwhelming fatigue.

As everyone participates actively during the week or more onboard, seasickness is rare. If you anticipate seasickness, consider bringing remedies, such as seasickness plasters, often effective for longer expeditions. Consult your doctor for advice on seasickness and any necessary medications. Feel free to ask us about seasickness as well.

Any questions? Need travel tips? Practical information?


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