EX­PE­DI­TION CHAR­TERS

Yes, there is life be­yond the av­er­age bare­boat char­ter. Here are six unique ex­pe­di­tions for true ad­ven­tur­ers

SAIL - - Contents - By Zuzana Proc­hazka

o you’re look­ing for ad­ven­ture. Not of the bare­boat party barge va­ri­ety, but the kind where the weather is sketchy, the wildlife plen­ti­ful, the sail­ing se­ri­ous and the boats rugged with se­ri­ous look­ing reels of an­chor rode and line on deck. Whether you’re seek­ing to cross oceans, sail high lat­i­tudes or learn the ropes from ex­perts in an­tic­i­pa­tion of com­mand­ing your own ship some­day, there are lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties to see a bolder side of life on the wa­ter via ex­pe­di­tion char­ter­ing.

Some ex­pe­di­tion op­er­a­tors com­bine sail­ing with ski­ing, moun­taineer­ing and div­ing in their pas­sage­mak­ing itin­er­ar­ies, so your wilder side can be ap­peased and your mus­cles stretched in new ways. Other op­por­tu­ni­ties are run on a shared-ex­penses ba­sis while still oth­ers may set you back a fair bit. How­ever, all of them will cre­ate mem­o­ries and al­low you to hone skills that will never leave you. Let’s take a look at six op­tions for how to sail off the grid.

✧ EX­PE­DI­TION SAIL

Kate and Hamish Laird once worked with Skip No­vak, and now of­fer ex­pe­di­tion sails with some of the same fla­vor. After spend­ing 17 years in Antarc­tica, the Lairds de­cided that the area was too crowded, and in 2004 they sought out new pris­tine cruis­ing grounds in Alaska. Their reg­u­lar cruises typ­i­cally in­clude Prince Wil­liam Sound, with some reach­ing out to the Aleu­tian Is­lands. They of­fer char­ters for four to six peo­ple and of­ten host ad­ven­tur­ous cou­ples look­ing to learn. There is no fixed itin­er­ary; the trips range from a min­i­mum of 10 days to five weeks, and ev­ery­one from neo­phytes to sea­soned sailors are wel­come.

Their boat Seal, is a 56ft Chuck Painedesigned alu­minum cut­ter with a swing-up keel and rud­der for run­ning aground, both ac­ci­den­tally and on pur­pose. You read that right: pho­tos of Seal show her hap­pily sit­ting high and dry on a mud flat dur­ing Alaska’s wild tidal fluc­tu­a­tions. When was the last time you had to “walk in the an­chor?”

Ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude fish­ing, trekking, ski­ing, bird-watch­ing and div­ing. The Lairds try to match their var­i­ous guests based on their per­sonal in­ter­ests and ex­pec­ta­tions. They also ac­tively en­cour­age non-sailors to give it a go. The Alaskan cruis­ing sea­son is April through Septem-

ber, and later in the year you may be able to catch a glimpse of the North­ern Lights. Bud­get about $500 per per­son per day for all that takes place on the boat.

Laird de­lights in how “amus­ing” Alaska is. “The wilder­ness ex­pe­ri­ence in this re­mote re­gion is un­matched,” says Laird. “It’s so vast, it’s some­times hard to grap­ple with the size. Mostly, Alaska is for those peo­ple look­ing for some­thing slightly–more,” he adds.

Ex­pe­di­tion Sail, ex­pe­di­tion­sail.com

Seal lies at an­chor in the glo­ri­ous soli­tude of wilder­ness Alaska

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