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SV Noorderlicht

SV Noorderlicht Review and Specifications

Specifications of SV Noorderlicht

Year built1991  /  Age : 28
Flag state Netherlands
BuilderFlensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (Flensburg, Germany)
Class2-Masted Schooner (sailing ship)
OwnerOceanwide Expeditions
OperatorOceanwide Expeditions
Speed7 kn / 13 kph / 8 mph
Length (LOA)46 m / 151 ft
Beam (width)6.5 m / 21 ft
Gross Tonnage140 gt
Passengers10 - 20
Crew5
Decks2
Cabins10
Decks with cabins1

Current position of SV Noorderlicht

Review of SV Noorderlicht

SV Noorderlicht is a 2-masted schooner (sailing ship) operating on polar cruises. It is part of the Oceanwide Expeditions fleet - together with the newbuilds Janssonius (2021) and Hondius (2019), OrteliusPlancius and the polar sailing ship Rembrandt van Rijn. Ship's name (Noorderlicht) is translated as "Northern Light".

The vessel was constructed in 1910 for the German Navy fleet. Since the 1990s, Noorderlicht is operated as expedition cruiser sailing to more remote Arctic locations, particularly Norway's Svalbard Islands.

Noorderlicht cruise ship

Noorderlicht's cruise schedule is based on homeport 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.

History - construction and ownership

Specializing in passenger shipping and navigation in icy waters, with the newbuilds Janssonius and Hondius the headquartered in Vlissingen Netherlands cruise company Oceanwide Expeditions grew not only as fleet/capacity but also as brand popularity and trust.

Founded in 1993, Oceanwide Expeditions (shipowner) is one of the industry's small cruise lines offering regularly-scheduled and flexible polar cruise tours providing its customers with the opportunity to contact with Arctic-Antarctica's wildlife, unique landscapes, nautically important polar regions and historical sites. Oceanwide Expeditions has year-round planned itineraries - during summer (April through September) in the Arctic and during winter (October through March) in Antarctica. Most Oceanwide-organized tours are in sea-only accessible areas, usually without any land/port infrastructure. In most of these locations, the cruise ship anchors near the coast and all passengers are tendered (via Zodiac Milpro boats) to the landing sites. Each boat is crewed and guided by a dedicated expedition team.

Oceanwide Expeditions supports renown organizations dedicated to wildlife preservation and sustainable environmental development projects in Earth's polar regions. Among these organizations are AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators - cruise line organization working mainly in Europe's Arctic / Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard Norway), IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, 1991-founded association of 100+ members/companies) and BirdLife International (1922-founded global organizations dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats).

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. An anti-aircraft gun was also added. The lightship service continued until 1963 when the vessel was retired on commissioning of the 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.

SV Noorderlicht - user reviews and comments

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