elysium arctic erik smallErik de Jong

Captain 

Growing up as a son of an offshore sailing couple, Erik got familiar with sailing before he could even walk. During his teens, the family-summer expeditions became longer and further, and were always heading to northern Europe. After Scotland and Norway, Iceland and Spitsbergen followed, and so on.

The dream to sail to the Arctic as the skipper of his own boat started to appear in his head when he was only 14 years old. There was only one way to make the dream happen fast - design and build the boat yourself.  Otherwise you will be 40 till you can afford buying one! And so it happened. The preliminary drawings of Erik's yacht were made. A university degree of Naval Architecture followed to make sure that everything was up to snuff, reliable and safe. Being taught and helped by his father, who is a professional yacht builder, Erik begun the building process of the 52’ expedition yacht from scratch even before the university degree was completed.

It was approximately 5 years after the keel laying of the boat, that Erik and his father made a shakedown cruise from Holland (their native country) to Norway and back, and shortly after that, an Atlantic crossing via the northern route to Canada followed. Erik and his wife, Ekaterina, are now residing in Canada from where they organize Arctic sailing expeditions with their yacht, while making a living during the winter with a normal job.

During all the high latitude sailing that Erik was exposed to, the love for nature, wildlife and environment came as well. Seeing the Arctic change year by year is painful to watch, and bringing it under the attention of the world by documenting it in a breathtaking way is one of the few things that an individual can do. So when Jorgen approached Erik for this expedition, he did not have to think long or hard to make it work, one way or the other, and assist Jorgen in making this goal a reality.