expeditionsail.com: Alaska aboard Seal

home to www.expeditionsail.com alaska expeditions sailboat seal information kate and hamish laird bios remote cruising workshops expedition support and piloting past expeditions in antarctica, south georgia, greenland, and alaska



explore Alaska in 2020

Aleutians Islands, Alaska in Summer 2020

Contact us now to reserve your space

Alaskan Brown bears

guest sailing yacht seal

Sailboat Seal shorelines

tidewater glacier in Prince William Sound and the sailboat Seal

humpback whales feeding

backcountry skiing from sailboat Seal in Alaska

Alaskan Sea Otter

Alaskan Salmon

yacht seal near cape horn photo Skip Novak

photos from Seal's voyages

Antarctica, Cape Horn & South Georgia in your own boat

Remote Cruising Workshop

Featured in SAIL MAGAZINE's "Charters Off the Charts" March 2014 issue

latest news from SEAL:

"... a Cape Horner for the 21st century ..."
Ocean Navigator

Cordova, Alaska December 2019

We spent most of the summer sailing the Aleutian chain from Unimak to Adak - you can see footage in the Aleutians 2019 video at the top of the page. The birdwatching and hiking was spectacular.

In August, we sailed the 1000 miles back to Prince William Sound for the second half of the season. We had an amazing visit with the bears on the Alaskan Peninsula en route, followed by two months in Prince William Sound, enjoying the hiking and supping by the glaciers.

More videos from the summer can be seen on our YouTube page: Youtube/expeditionsail.

To see the rest of the summer pictures, visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/expeditionsail. (You don't have to belong to Facebook to view the photos.)

Follow us to have the Friday picture sent to your Facebook account.

Cordova, Alaska February 2018

Seal is snug in her winter harbor of Cordova, Alaska as we begin preparations for the coming season.

We spent last season exploring the Aleutian Islands, including 500 miles of cruising without seeing another boat in some of the remotest waters of the United States. Projects included a micro-plastics survey of the Aleutian Islands, an expedition along the Alaskan Peninsula with Great Lakes sailors, and two trips in Prince William Sound with families with children.

Follow us on Facebook/expeditionsail to see some of last season’s photos and videos or check out our Youtube/expeditionsail channel for the videos.

Contact us now about our 2018 trips - the season is filling up fast.

Near Cordova, Alaska 27 October 2016

We're still enjoying the last days of the season in Prince William Sound, with the Northern Lights overhead and crisp fall days, but the harbors are beginning to ice up, and we're starting to think about next season's schedule.

We spent this season in South Central Alaska, climbing mountains, wildlife watching, and studying biology. Trips included several with families aboard, an Introduction to Remote Cruising Workshop, and a month-long biology trip. Long days with orcas, river otters gathering on the rocks twenty feet away, and as always, the stupendous views of the Chugach National Forest made 2016 a memorable season.

To see the summer pictures, visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/expeditionsail. (You don't have to belong to Facebook to view the photos.)

Follow us to have the Friday picture sent to your Facebook account.

Looking ahead to next season, we're planning three long expeditions, sold by the bunk:

Alaskan Peninsula (Cordova to Dutch Harbor) May-June (3 weeks)

Aleutians (Dutch Harbor to Dutch Harbor) June (3 weeks)

Alaskan Peninsula / Kodiak Island (Dutch Harbor to Kodiak) July (3 weeks)

29 November 2015

We're again back in Cordova, Alaska, putting the boat to bed for the winter after another great season in Prince William Sound, Kodiak, and the Alaskan Peninsula. This summer's highlights include some extraordinary wildlife contacts including long sessions of bear watching and having a humpback whale use Seal and our shorelines as a fish pen. We had a great backcountry ski trip in April with a New Zealand group who cut fresh tracks in little visited regions, followed by later trips with lots of mountain climbing and hill walks once the snow melted. Hamish has been keeping up our Facebook page with pictures and videos from this season. Kate is working on an overhaul of the website, but for now, please contact us to discuss projects for next season. We'll be doing a similar route -- skiing in the spring, hiking, sailing, and wildlife viewing in the summer, and more hill-walking and exploring, and perhaps a remote cruising workshop in the autumn.

5 October 2014

We're back in Cordova, Alaska after a fantastic summer season in Prince William Sound, Kodiak, and the Alaskan Peninsula, including several expedition charters and two Remote Cruising Workshops. We're currently working on next summer's schedule and loading up new pictures onto the website.

In the meantime, you can scroll through the summer's photos on facebook. (You don't have to belong to Facebook to access the page.)

Kate's article Wilderness Found is now online at SAIL Magazine's website.

Contact us to find out more about joining next season's expeditions.

2 July 2014

We're currently in Kodiak, Alaska after five weeks in Prince William Sound and the glaciers and mountains of the Kenai Peninsula. There are new pictures up on our facebook page.

This month's SAIL magazine features an article about last summer's expedition -- it's on newstands now or available online for subscribers.

19 May 2014

We've just arrived back in Cordova, Alaska, after a fabulous month of backcountry skiing, whale watching, glacier watching and exploring in Prince William Sound. (See the top four pictures to the left, or visit www.facebook.com/expeditionsail for the whole album.) We're now hauled out to paint the bottom, before setting sail for Kodiak and the Alaskan Peninsula later this month. There is still space available this summer -- contact us for more information on the Alaskan Peninsula expeditions or the Remote Cruising Workshop in Prince William Sound in late September for those dreaming of sailing to these waters in their own boats or considering a sister-ship to Seal.

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.

-- Hamish & Kate Laird

"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

"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.

If your heart is set on visiting Antarctica, South Georgia, or Cape Horn, feel free to contact us for advice on available yachts.

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.

Email or phone for more information.

© Kate & Hamish Laird
Sterna Corporation

October 2014