SV Noorderlicht Review and Specifications
Specifications of SV Noorderlicht
|Builder||Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (Flensburg, Germany)|
|Class||2-Masted Schooner (sailing ship)|
|Speed||7 kn / 13 kph / 8 mph|
|Length (LOA)||46 m / 151 ft|
|Beam (width)||6.5 m / 21 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||140 gt|
|Passengers||10 - 20|
|Decks with cabins||1|
Review of SV Noorderlicht
SV Noorderlicht (translated as "Aurora Borealis" or "Northern Light") is a 2-masted schooner (sailing ship). The vessel was constructed in the distant 1910 for the German navy. Since 1990s, Noorderlicht has been operated as an expedition cruise ship in more remote Arctic locations, particularly Svalbard's islands in Norway.
Originally, the ship was named "FS Kalkgrund II". The original design was a rigged 3-masted schooner. It was used as Feuerschiff (light vessel) on Kalkgrund station in Baltic Sea (off Flensburg Firth fjord). It also functioned as a pilot station and weather ship.
During WW2 (1939-1945), by then in service of Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany and under the name "Flensburg", the middle mast of the vessel was taken out in order to improve stability. Anti-aircraft gun was also added. The light ship service continued until 1963, when the vessel was retired on commissioning of new lighthouse.
Between 1963-1992, SV Noorderlicht had a number of new owners and was used as a workers' hostel. From 1967 until 1986, the ship served as a clubhouse for the sailing association Moltenorter Seglerkameradschaft at Heikendorf (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), then was sold to the Netherlands. In 1991, the ship was found in Leeuwarden (Holland) by its current owners - Gert Ritzema and Ted van Broeckhuysen. They had it restored, re-rigged and equipped with an auxiliary diesel engine. After being renamed as "SV Noorderlicht", it entered service as adventure expedition cruise ship. Since 2011, Noorderlicht has been exclusively chartered by Oceanwide Expeditions.
The Noorderlicht's cruise schedule is based at port Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen, Arctic Norway) with itineraries within the archipelago, Lofoten islands and to mainland sites, all within polar regions. A total of 10 cabins accommodate up to 20 guests. The 2 rigid-hulled inflatable boats are used for landings and wildlife watching in inaccessible places.
During winter, SV Noorderlicht is intentionally frozen-in at Svalbard's Tempelfjorden to provide base-camp accommodation for arctic voyages.