Skip to main content

The Cruising Club of America Proudly Introduces our Newest Guide,


CCA Essentials Passage Guide to the Viking Route:
Includes Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland & Labrador


 The CCA Essentials Passage Guide to the Viking Route offers mission-critical information in a logical, manageable format.

This has never been a simple route, even from the beginning. Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian explorers achieved unrivaled boat-building, navigational, and seamanship skills, allowing them to travel widely throughout the North Atlantic for over 400 years beginning at the end of the 8th century. Even with the added challenges of the high latitudes, the Vikings made their way to North America 500 years before Columbus arrived in the Caribbean. Our knowledge of Viking exploration comes primarily from the Icelandic Sagas, oral histories written in the 12th-14th centuries.

There are few references to the Vikings navigating through ice in the Icelandic Sagas. The Vikings knew that a battle with the ice was one they could never win, and the same remains true to this day. The average cruising boat is not designed to withstand a collision with even a modest-sized piece of ice and is certainly not designed to be trapped in the pack ice to be found in the more northern areas covered by this guide. But the ice is beautiful and beguiling, and the more adventuresome among us will want to experience at least some of this unique natural phenomenon – be it under their own keel or via an armchair.

Sailing through ice requires a skill set very different from even long-distance voyaging in temperate waters. Skipper, vessel, and crew need to be fully prepared and understand the vagaries and challenges of high-latitude sailing and ice navigation. The CCA Essentials Passage Guide to the Viking Route was created with that in mind: Distill the essential information necessary to passage the Viking Route safely.

A chapter on timing and passage planning begins the guide, allowing a skipper contemplating the voyage to get their arms around potential itineraries. Next comes Weather, describing high latitude weather patterns, how they are different, and how to keep out of trouble. Ice and Arctic Navigation follows, and the subjects continue: Gear and Equipment, Communications, Safety, Skippers, Leadership and a Culture of Safety, and Overwintering. All are written with a focus on transmitting essential knowledge succinctly.


Good passage-making guides for high latitude and Arctic waters already exist, so you might ask – why another? Current treatises can appear as technical, complex, and difficult to assimilate. This guide integrates essential information from pilots and guides, periodicals, and online sources, with added experiences of high-latitude sailors.

In his Foreword to The CCA Essentials Passage Guide to the Viking Route, Captain Bob Shepton answers the question of “why another guide” in this way:

Because this guide is different; it does not follow the pattern of a general Pilot. It stands alone and is perhaps unique in that it pursues a different course — literally. It follows a specific route across the Arctic, the route the Vikings took all those years ago. In so doing, it pulls in a whole lot of information and knowledge from a whole lot of different sources and resources relevant to that route and those parts; it is able then to give an in-depth account of the essentials, and more, along the route of Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland, or the other way round, chapter by chapter. In-depth, but not complex or complicated, and therefore suitable both for those who have not been to the Arctic before, and also for those who have, as there is much included that would be helpful additional information…

Also dear to my heart, it may encourage people to stretch themselves, to enter new frontiers, and even in our hopelessly risk-averse society, to embrace and manage risk…This is a valuable additional resource for Arctic sailors of whatever vintage, and I strongly recommend it.”

Readers will find harbor chapters are selective, not exhaustive, as are lists of necessities for the boat and activities for you once you get there. Harbors are chosen for location and accessibility, activities, history, or passage-making benefits. The information provided focuses on marine services, land-based activities of tourist interest, hiking and day-tripping opportunities, museums, Viking history, cultural sites, and significant geographical attractions. 

The CCA Viking Route Guide is not intended to be a single source but an essential one. Prospective passage makers will also review other compilations and complex texts before heading off. But life will be easier if The CCA Essentials Passage Guide to the Viking Route: Includes Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland & Labrador is read first. We know you will find it innovative and endlessly useful.


In USA and Canada

In UK and Europe