Friday, November 16, 2007


Xplore Expeditions has been accepted as a member of the prestigious International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Founded in 1991, IAATO promotes safe and environmentally responsible tourism practices in the remote, wild and delicate Antarctic region.

Xplore Expeditions is an adventure sailing outfitter specializing in high latitude voyages to the Antarctic peninsula, sub-Antarctic Islands, the Falkland and South Georgia islands, and Tierra del Fuego. The company offers individual berths on scheduled trips; customized charters; and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) accreditation sails.

A relative newcomer to the Antarctic arena, Xplore Expeditions was founded in 2006 when skipper Stephen Wilkins, after three seasons and six expeditions to Antarctica, decided to launch his own yacht and adventure sailing firm with friend and “The Race” winner Nico Pichelin. As a result they’ve found the benefits of IAATO to be many, Wilkins says: first and foremost the “credibility” of affiliation with this leading industry group, and the associated governments and scientific foundations.

Plus, Wilkins adds, “We get constant updates on landing location information and do’s and don’ts as locations change or get too much impact from visitors. It gives us a network of sister vessels and shore-based resources we can call on in an emergency situation; and there’s the gathering of a statistical database of tourism information.”

Procedures and guidelines advocated by IAATO and honored by Xplore Expeditions include regulations and restrictions on numbers of people ashore; staff-to-passenger ratios; wildlife watching; pre- and post-visit activity reporting; contingency and emergency medical evacuation plans; and much more.

Xplore Expeditions offers a variety of passages, spotlighting ice formations; unexplored coastlines; native birds, marine and wildlife; and cultural, geographic, and historical attractions. Other trips focus on photography, documentary film-making, and support for land excursions. Trips take place in the Austral summer (November through March) when temperatures can reach into the 70s, and periods of clear, fine weather are common.

Originally a racing yacht that proved herself in two circumnavigation races, the flagship Xplore was refitted and re-launched in Plymouth UK in April 2007. She carries up to 12 passengers and crew, and can venture into remote anchorages large ships cannot. A fast heavy-weather sailing yacht, she is also swift under power, with generous fuel and water tanks, heat and hot water systems, and a full galley, making her comfortable and self-sufficient at sea for extended periods of time.

A full programme of scheduled trips is available on the website at You can also contact Nicolas Pichelin at +33 681 097 626 or; or Eleonora Mazzonis at + 39 028 905 5320 or For IAATO information go to

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