* A 450 F in the ice - Lagoon inside

Travels Diary

A 450 F in the ice

4 December 2019 | | Reading time 5 minutes

Combining skiing and sailing is an amazing idea that allows you to discover some magnificent landscapes, in comfortable conditions, from the warmth of your catamaran! Let’s follow in Julien’s and his crew’s footsteps as they travel through the far north.  A change of scenery is guaranteed!

Who is Julien?

Passionate about mountains and the Far North, I became an outdoor guide and adventure designer. I work as a guide in France, Slovenia, Norway and Spitsbergen for activities such as skiing, hiking, kayaking, climbing, mountaineering, among others. In 2017, I took over Natur’all, a young adventure tourism company. The Natur’all spirit is above all to bring together people united by common passions, a particular vision of travel and strong values such as a respect for the environment. Two friends, Charles and Hugo, help me in this project. The focus of travel is right there: explore the far north under sail to share this passion and get a taste of the Arctic!

The project:

The Ski & Voile (skiing & sailing) adventure was launched in March 2018. The purpose of this trip is to sail through the fjords, discovering the vastness and splendor of the Far North and to take advantage of its mountains to ski the snow-covered slopes.

The stories and accounts of others will tell you that at these latitudes, you’re better off sailing a monohull and preferably one made of steel, but I opted for something completely different, a catamaran, a Lagoon 450 F, named the Arctic Princess. I then contacted my favorite skipper, Marc, who fully validated my choice, and so the adventure began.

The crew:

The team I bring with me is made up of two adventurers from La Rochelle, Marc the skipper and Floriane his crew, Philippe the cameraman, Yannick the adventurer/guide, as well as Guillaume, photojournalist and skier. And so the captain (Julien, ed.) completes the crew, and we can cast off!

My shipmates have no idea of the landscapes they’ll be discovering and the adventure they are about to experience. The mountains, dressed in their most beautiful colors, are opening the way for us to experience a unique adventure beyond the Arctic Circle.

Why choose a Lagoon for this adventure?

The Lagoon 450 F provides us with a large living space, spacious and comfortable cabins, a warm atmosphere, stability and a 360° panorama through her windows. All this is a guarantee of well-being and satisfaction for everyone on board.

From a technical point of view, the Lagoon 450 F fully met our requirements during the Ski & Voile trip, whether to store the equipment we had put on the aft deck under cover, thanks to the complete cockpit enclosure. The insulation and the powerful heating make the cabin pleasant and we were able to dry our belongings. There’s efficient ventilation, to avoid condensation and keep us dry. The sheltered and functional cockpit is great for the helmsman, allowing him to act quickly, efficiently and safely. Little things that make life on board easier.

The Nordic Environment

Our route extended from Tromsø to Senja Island. This region, which is still little visited, has weather conditions that sometimes make it difficult to access by boat.

Late March in Tromsø, at 69°N, the temperatures are cold but not insurmountable either, the gulf and the jet stream that runs along the Norwegian coast to Spitzbergen give temperatures that feel like -5 to -8°C (23-18°F). While a hundred kilometers (60 miles) further inland in Finland and Sweden, temperatures are flirting with -30°C (-22°F). The port of Tromsø is known to be the starting point for major Arctic expeditions exploring the far north. Situated beyond the Arctic Circle, this small town is a strategic point before taking on the harshness of the far north. To reach Senja Island, we had to weave through a maze of islands and peninsulas. The landscapes are magnificent. On either side, snow-covered peaks line the inlets. At the head of these inlets, small fishing villages seem to cling to the mountains.

On board, the team were sometimes shaken by a big sea kicked up by the katabatic winds found at these latitudes, but nobody got seasick! Sometimes the weather, the shallows and the sharp islets forced our skipper to make big detours to reach our destinations, because here the fjords are pretty big. During these detours, sailing conditions were sometimes difficult because of the vagaries of the sea in areas beyond cellphone range.

The waves, the Arctic breeze and the snow falling horizontally all present a spectacle as majestic as it is disconcerting at times.

This part of Norway is subject to sudden changes in the weather. I personally believe that each trip in this region of character is unique because visitors are so subject to the changeable conditions. This didn’t prevent us from discovering magnificent landscapes, of an incredible poetry. For example, on the way back, we landed in a beautiful bay lined with cliffs and a magical beach. The water was transparent and emerald green. At the water’s edge, the multicolored houses faced us. The place was simply beautiful.

This adventure left us enthusiastic and fully satisfied, and all that remains is to welcome you along to our next polar cruise by catamarans. Do you fancy coming along? Discover our forthcoming trips by clicking here

As you can see, living the Arctic with passion aboard a catamaran is possible, exciting and exotic and is therefore an adventure to add to your sailing bucket list!