Friday Inspiration: Erik ‘The Viking’ Aanderaa

Gadda Stack, Foula 2, Erik Aanderaa

The first time I came across Erik Aanderaa’s YouTube channel I must admit I thought it was some yahoo macho nonsense. I mean who sails solo in the North Sea in Winter? ‘The Algorithm’ at work again. Although how this was related to Sailing Zatara is beyond me.

The sailing was riveting ‘Encountering Storm Force 10’ and I quickly found myself having watched all the videos and eagerly waiting for the next one. What I came to appreciate was that Erik was slowly building up his skill set and taking slow steps towards a bigger journey. A solo circumnavigation of the Norwegian Sea.

Erik was trained as a professional mariner and currently works as an instructor at a marine safety center. He clearly understands the risks of being around the ocean and uses that experience to prepare for his offshore adventures in his Contessa 35, Tessie.

Between Jan Mayen and Iceland
by Erik Aanderaa

If you listen to interviews with Erik you will soon learn that his sailing adventures haven’t been incident free. In 2011 he ran aground just outside of his home port of Haugesund. Sailing in sub-zero conditions he became hypothermic and disoriented. He went down below to warm up forgetting how close he was to land. Tessie ended up on the rocks, sustaining damage that took six months to repair. That experience would have been enough to end sailing for some of us but Erik learned from the experience and was back out sailing as soon as Tessie was ready.

Erik’s winter sailing in the North Sea is epic but equally remarkable are the videos. He has some of the most amazing sailing footage I’ve seen – captured using a drone that he is controlling while sailing single handed! Stunning!

Erik’s epic voyage around the Norwegian Sea was completed just as the world was entering lock down. Check out the multipart series below. To learn more about Erik check out his YouTube channel and don’t miss some of his photos here.

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