SKIRR Adventures, subsidiary of Clipper Ventures which runs Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, is due to set off on its second expedition to the Arctic Circle this July.
Designed for the curious, the restless and those who are adventurers by nature, SKIRR Adventures is opening up the world of expedition sailing by taking explorers under the power of sail, from the UK to the high latitudes of the Arctic to discover the pristine waters, imposing landscapes and wilderness that these icy waters are famed for.
“Nothing really prepares one for the reality of a huge iceberg which is larger than some islands I have visited. The colours on the different faces and sides of the peaks, which rose to a height of over 300m, changed constantly, and the various hues of blue, until it became a pure glistening white, shone in the sunlight as we passed into the fog” Says Rich, a crew member during the inaugural SKIRR Adventures expedition.
Leaving Portsmouth Harbour, UK, on Friday 7 July 2023, the 4,820 nautical mile round trip in the High Latitudes will take an estimated eight weeks during the height of summer. The voyage is split into five individual legs and adventurers can opt to sign up for one, multiple or all of the legs on board the adapted 68-foot expedition yachts.
Chris Rushton, Managing Director of Clipper Ventures, said: “This is a totally different type of sailing – it’s flexible with scheduled and unscheduled stops and the route, especially around the Arctic Circle, is subject to the conditions Mother Nature musters. It’s as much about the journey as it is the destination.”
“The advantage of SKIRR Adventures is that you get to do things which are off the beaten track. In the past, the crews found some hot springs and stopped off to enjoy them and they saw a volcano erupt (from a safe distance!). They were greeted by a Greenland native who had just caught his dinner and had a kick about on a 4G football pitch with local kids. It backed onto a glacier that someone had paid for to be installed so the children could play football. It’s a totally different way to explore the High Latitudes and locals are just as excited to see the two SKIRR Yachts anchored, as the crew are to be there.”
The first leg sees the expedition head to the Scottish Isles, renowned for its rugged coastline and breath-taking scenery. Crew will explore the UK’s South Coast before heading north through the Irish Sea to Port Ellen and Tobermory in the Inner Hebrides for inshore sailing amongst stunning lochs and scenery.
The second leg heads to Iceland and features an offshore passage through the North Atlantic to the south coast of Iceland and the potential for an expedition into the Hvalfjordur fjord- home to natural springs and a spa to relax tired muscles, or plenty of local hiking to explore on land. This leg is ideal for those looking for an adventurous sailing trip with an open ocean passage across the North Atlantic offering opportunities to develop your sailing skills alongside the chance to enjoy the hours of darkness getting shorter as you sail north.
Both Leg 3 and Leg 4 are flexible multi-stop Arctic Circle exploration legs and offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore one of the most imposing and majestic landscapes on the planet, inaccessible by land and only possible to explore during a few weeks in the summer. Depending on the ice flow, the expedition will take one of two routes: head northwards into the Arctic Circle and to Scoresby Sund, the longest fjord in the world, or alternatively, head west towards Tasiilaq, a town set inside a fjord on the East Coast of Greenland that is often quite full of ice.
The fifth and final leg is a dynamic one, for the truly adventurous sailor. Starting along the south coast of Iceland, it features sailing in the North Atlantic, and returns back to the UK via the Danish Faroe Islands and either the Isles of Scilly or The Hague. The 2023 High Latitudes expedition will conclude back in Gosport, UK, on Tuesday 19 September.
Toni Wilson, who completed the entire High Latitudes expedition in 2022, said: “There were so many magical moments but one that sticks with me is the pink dawn. The pink sky was reflected in very calm waters and the dawn followed shortly after the dusk which was totally different again. It isn’t a race, the pace is much more relaxed. The Skipper and Mates have made the trip the perfect adventure – the environment on the boat is warm and fun and it couldn’t have been better.”
SKIRR Adventures is open to all. Those with no prior sailing experience can participate in the expedition after completing a course provided by the Clipper Race training team or at leading RYA training centre Hamble School of Yachting. This equips crew members to have confidence and undertake longer passages which involve sailing at night and keeping watch systems – essential to get the most out of exploring this spectacular arctic wilderness.
Chris added: “Whilst the focus remains on the expedition, there are three professionals on board each Clipper 68 yacht – a Skipper and two Mates – from whom crew can learn a wealth of sailing skills and expertise. There’s a lot of contact hours there for those who would like to take advantage of them, too.”
SKIRR Adventures equips all crew with the technical clothing and safety equipment needed for the voyage including state-of-the-art safety life jackets and outer layer clothing from Musto’s technical sailing collection. All meals, snacks and soft drinks on board are included.
Crew places for the 2023 SKIRR Adventures expedition are available to book via the SIRR Adventures website.