expedition yacht seal
Featured in SAIL MAGAZINE's "Charters Off the Charts" March 2014 issue
all Alaska photos taken on Seal's 2013 voyage
Grizzly Bear on the Alaskan Peninsula
Explore Alaska on Seal
Sea Otter in Prince William Sound
Expedition yacht Seal with two Alaskan Grizzly Bears
Silent exploring in our 12-foot dinghy
Seal near Cape Horn
latest news from SEAL:
"... a Cape Horner for the 21st century ..."
1 March 2014
"I think there's at least a trace of the explorer in every sailor. ... I got my chance a few years ago, when I spent two weeks in the Beagle Channel with Hamish and Kate Laird on their aluminum cutter, Seal. The sailing was as hardcore as most of us could want -- though all in a day's work for Seal and her crew -- and the wild beauty of the glaciers and fjords of Tierra del Fuego left such an impression that I still recall it, seven years later, as vividly as if it was just the other month. There is an elemental purity to such sailing, and it is not easily forgotten." -- SAIL Magazine, March 2014
We're now exploring new wild beauties: the glaciers and fjords of Prince William Sound and the Alaskan Peninsula.
12 February 2014
Hamish has just finished a six week voyage to South Georgia and Antarctica as ice pilot and expedition leader onboard a private yacht. He revisited favorite anchorages and had "the best sightings of humpback whales in the 27 years I've been coming down here." It's not too early to start thinking about next season if you're planning to head down to the Antarctic on your own boat.
Meanwhile, it's snowing in Cordova, Alaska, where we're living aboard for the winter, and we're appreciating Seal's good heater and thick insulation!
For the summer of 2014, we have two long expeditions to the Alaskan Peninsula scheduled from
June 9-June 30
July 14-August 8
This is a rare opportunity to sail and explore the remote region of the Alaskan Peninsula and southern Kodiak Island - once you leave Kodiak, the route covers about 700 miles of wilderness with only a handful of villages along the way.
This is serious expedition cruising, with strong winds and tides, and remote sailing. With ice covered volcanoes as a back drop, there will be extensive wildlife viewing possibilities, including bears, eagles, foxes, seals, otters, whales, dolphins, albatross. Keen fishermen will find many opportunities to fish including the world famous Alaskan salmon and halibut. This is also an ideal trip for sailors, birdwatchers, photographers, and hikers.
We can also provide custom charters in Prince William Sound or the Aleutians during the rest of the season April - October.
Sailing gear (foul weather gear, harnesses, and boots) is provided for adventurers without their own blue water equipment.
Contact us for more information on the Alaskan Peninsula Expeditions or for a custom charter.
"Both [Kate and Hamish] are first-class seamen.
I quickly develop a great respect for their quiet competence, their
knowledge of the boat, and their love of the area."
-- Peter Nielsen in Sail
"It is not hard to
imagine sailing to Antarctica or any other place on earth aboard Seal."
-- Andy O'Grady in Ocean Navigator
All Seal's trips are non-smoking. No sailing experience is required - our guests have included round the world race skippers, experienced coastal cruisers, novice sailors, and scientists and photographers who have never before set foot on a boat. Guests should be willing to be part of the expedition - helping out around the boat and with meal preparation and clean up (we do all of the meal planning and most of the preparation, unless there is an enthusiastic volunteer!)
We built Seal and launched her in 2004, and have done high latitude charters in Greenland, five years in Antarctica and South Georgia, and arrived in the Aleutians in spring 2013 after a year in New Zealand (including Fjordland and Stewart Island) and a season crossing the tropics through Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Japan.
Personal equipment for basic sailing is provided (foul weather gear, harnesses, life jackets), but guests are welcome to bring their own.
A sailing and rowing dinghy is available for exploring fjords and coves, as well as an inflatable dinghy with a quiet four stroke outboard for viewing wildlife. Scuba diving or kayaking are available if arranged in advance.
We've updated Facebook more regularly than this website while we've been in the Pacific. You can view our page at Facebook without being a member as long as you are working on a full-sized computer (Facebook mobile requires that you are logged in).
If you're heading towards Antarctica or South Georgia in your own yacht next season, Hamish is again available for piloting.
We've given Seal a hard test in the last nine years and over sixty five thousand miles, taking in everything from uncharted Arctic and Antarctic regions to coral atolls and long ocean crossings. There are now several sister-ships to Seal under construction for private owners.
© Kate & Hamish Laird