Kate and Hamish Laird welcome you aboard SEAL. We designed and built her specifically for high latitude sailing, supporting scientific and adventure expeditions.
After a combined sixteen years of sailing to Antarctica, South Georgia, Cape Horn, and across the Southern Ocean, we worked with Chuck Paine and Ed Joy to design Seal.
In 2002, we moved to Canada with two babies under two to be onsite to make decisions about the metalwork, as Seal took shape at Kanter Yachts. We trucked the empty hull north to New Hampshire and fitted out the interior and the rigging over two years, with the help and advice of local boat builders.
We launched Seal in 2004, when the children were two and four. We spent the next summer in Greenland, before returning to charter in Antarctica and South Georgia for the next five years. In 2011, we decided it was time for a new adventure, so we sailed up to French Polynesia, and across the island chains to New Zealand. We spent most of 2012 in New Zealand, exploring South Island, before heading north to Japan. We arrived in Alaska via the Aleutian Islands in 2013.
Hamish has spent most of the past 34 years working in remote regions since his first voyage to Antarctica in 1988. He spent six years as the full time skipper of Pelagic, one of the pioneering charter yachts in the region, as well as serving as "ice pilot" for superyachts visiting Antarctica and South Georgia. He holds an Ocean Yachtmaster Commercial certificate.
Kate has sailed Seal for the last eighteen years, following three years on Pelagic. Before that, she crewed on many different boats, from a square topsail schooner to whale watching boats, sailed as a foredeck hand in the Southern Ocean, and spent many seasons singlehanding a 28-footer on the coast of Maine. She first sailed to Antarctica in 1998. She holds a USCG 100 ton master's license and an Ocean Yachtmaster certificate and is the author of Homeschool Teacher.
Anna (20) and Helen (22) have sailed over 85,000 miles, and, as far as we know, were the first young children to sail to the Arctic and the Antarctic since the whalers' families long ago. Both are now experienced crew and sail with us during college vacations.