Arctic Sailing

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Spitsbergen, today known as Svalbard, sits between the Greenland and Barents seas and the Arctic Ocean, halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. It features polar bears, reindeer, arctic foxes and walruses, is 60 percent glacier-covered and boasts an average summer temperature of between 39 and 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the possibility of snow on any given day of the year— yes, including summer — the weather is considered positively balmy compared to other locations at similar latitudes. And, according to a small crew of hearty Dutchmen, it’s a perfect place to go sailing.

The Noorderlicht (Northern Light in Dutch) was built before World War I as a lightship schooner for the Imperial German Navy, but nowadays, between April and October, a Dutch crew takes up to 20 tourists for sailing tours in Svalbard waters aboard this 1910, 152-foot, two-masted steel schooner.

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According to an article in the South China Morning Post, the trip includes hikes that may include polar bear encounters, jumping from ice floe to ice floe to reach the shore, magnificent views, hearty meals and the opportunity to operate the vessel under sail. No prior sailing experience is required, and you will definitely get away from it all. Svalgaard has the lowest crime rate in the world and while on the Noorderlicht you may have a little trouble picking up a cell signal.

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