Experience the traditional Lofoten cod fishing by sailboat!

Sail & Fish in Lofoten
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Every winter, huge numbers of the Barents Sea cod (skrei) migrate to the Norwegian coast and Lofoten to spawn. At the same time, fishing boats from all over Norway come to Lofoten to take part in the famous fisheries for these huge numbers of “skrei”. The phenomenon is an important part of Norwegian coastal culture and has been a crusial part of our country’s economic history. Now you too can join this adventure, with our Sail & Fish-trip in Lofoten! Along the way, we will sail, fish, gut and eat fish in every way! Fresh cod, salted cod, bacalao, mølja, cod tongues, sushi and fish & chips – you name it!

From Svolvær to the fishing sites

The grandfather of SeilNorge-founder Emil, Asbjørn, sailed no less than 55 seasons from Ylvingen to Henningsvær for fishing. The dream of trying the life as a fisherman has been with us in SeilNorge for a long time. When the corona crisis hit us hard in the face in 2020, we had to rethink. As we had our skippers and guides ready at the pier in Svolvær, but without guests, it left us two choices. Sail home or sail out.

When we tried our luck as fishermen

We sailed out and tried our luck as fishermen. It was hard work, long days and sore hands. Yet also great nature experiences, fantastic food and an exciting deep dive into our coastal history. We learned a lot and felt a completely new sense of mastery! This year we want to bring you along to experience this wonderful fishery, history and food our coast is offering!

If you look at the map of Lofoten, you will see the fishing villages are situated all along the coast. There is no doubt where the fishermen and the fish live. On this trip, we will visit some of the fishing villages, such as Henningsvær, Kabelvåg and Svolvær, and perhaps we will make it all the way south to Ballstad. Around us we will have all types of fishing boats, from the small one-man show boats (sjark) to the larger vessels (skøyte). Fishing with nets, lines and lures. Perhaps there is the occasional sailboat in between, but these are rare. We will mainly fish with the classic lure line, but we will also try our hand at sea fishing rods.

Eagles, northern lights, sail & fish

Sail & Fish in Lofoten is for those who want to experience fishing, the northern lights, sailing, wildlife and all the magic Lofoten has to offer. At the most beautiful time of year. Perhaps we’ll have white tailed eagles circling around us for a bite to eat, whales blowing on the horizon, or the beautiful northern lights dancing in the sky.

With the Lofoten mountains plunging straight into the fjord and the sea boiling over with boats and fish, the stage is set for the roughest trip of the year! And who gets the first “Coffee Cod” in SeilNorge?

Be part of the crew on board

As on all our trips, you do not need to know how to sail to participate. Even though 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 also an excellent opportunity for those who want to test out winter sailing, learn more about navigation in the dark, and sail in changing weather and wind under the conditions that 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 coaching and navigation on board. While the co-skipper/guide will assist with knowledge of the area and marine life. We bring you on board as part of our crew. In this way you get the opportunity to join in on all tasks: stand at the helm, hoist sails, cook, navigate, take a morning swim, gut fish, serve anchor dram, tie knots, etc.; the complete sailing experience!

Get inspired!

Check out our SeilNorge recipe for Bacalao. A famous mediterrainian dish, which has been made with the dried cod and stockfish from Lofoten during thousand years!

An experience I will never forget. Feeling of pride and mastery. Pride also for Norway and our fishermen through the generations. What a struggle. What a life. What an adventure. What a wealth that the sea holds. Thanks for the trip - sign me up again for next year!

Mathea, Fish & Sail, 2020


Day 1: Meeting in Svolvær and first evening on board

Welcome on board! We meet at the quay in Svolvær at 16:00, check into the sailboat and get to know each other. We familiarize ourselves with the boat and go through safety routines on board, and we prepare the fishing equipment for the first day of fishing tomorrow! We prepare supper/dinner on board, but recommend that you have eaten dinner before we meet. This is because we want to spend time going through the boat and equipment so that we can get away and towards the fishing grounds already this first evening.

Day 2: What would we do without the sea? Carry the boats?

We are ready for the first day of fishing and get out of the harbor in a reasonable time, and the voyage out to where the fish are takes a couple of hours. Along the way, we train on man-over-board and other emergency situations. The skrei bites well both morning and evening, so we want to make use of the magical light. Small and larger fishing boats with nets, lines and lures in the hundreds around us. How do we avoid getting stuck in other people’s nets? This day we go through how we fish and how we handle the fish once it has caught the hook; gaffing, gutting and fileting. You will also become a racer on the necessary fishing knots. It will be exciting to see what we get on the hook on the first day. This is the dress rehearsal, it’s tomorrow we go for the largest ones.

Day 3: Henningsværstraumen

Today it’s serious and we do what the fishermen do – we go out on the Lofoten Sea at the crack of dawn. We are heading for the fishing grounds in Henningsværstraumen, which is the favorite spawning ground of the Skrei cod. How many fish can we catch in one day? Who gets the biggest fish of the trip? And who has the best haill (north norwegian fish luck)? We should have gotten some skills with the fishing by now, and today we are betting everything on maximum results. If we even get more than we can need ourselves, we will deliver the catch on land in Henningsvær. Our own record from 2020 was over 450 kg in one day!

Day 4: Enjoy the catch in Henningsvær and sail to Trollfjorden

This morning we calm down and enjoy the catch with a round of sightseeing among fish drying racks and art galleries in Henningsvær. For lunch today we prepare a hearty traditional fish meal onboard! In the afternoon we set sails towards Storemolla and Trollfjorden, and if the weather permits when evening comes, we will anchor in one of the beautiful bays around Storemolla. Then we’ll have to gaze towards the sky and hope for the blazing light show only the Northern Lights can offer!

Day 5: Trollfjorden and thanks for now!

On our last day together, we sail into Trollfjorden; one of the most spectacular fjords in all of Norway. Here we are surrounded by 500 meter high mountains that plunge into the 45 meter wide fjord at the narrowest. Trollfjorden lies among Lofoten’s highest mountain peaks and the area has the archipelago’s most alpine and dramatic landscape. Around lunch we sail back to Svolvær, clean, pack and tidy ourselves off the boat and say bye for now latest at 16:00.

Changes to the program

The program should be seen as a starting point, which we adapt 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 climbs – 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 on board during the trip
  • Our Comfort Package, which consists of accommodation on board 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 if available: dinghies, kayaks, fishing equipment, etc.
  • 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
  • Fishing and sailing every day
  • Use of our shared fishing equipment during the trip.
  • All the self caught cod you manage bringing back home in your luggage!

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. kayak, 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

Departure and arrival

This trip start 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 on board

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.

On board 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 on board, 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 on board and so we build a capable team on board.

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 on board, 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. On board 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 on board). 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 on board

On our trips, you will be part of the crew on board 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 on board. 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 on board!

Life on board & 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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