Greenland - Profile
- Lying close to North America, but administered by Denmark, Greenland, also known as Kalaallit Nunaat, is the world's largest island. Lying mostly within the Arctic Circle, much of the land is under ice and in places the ice cap is over 2 miles (3 km) deep.
- Greenland is undoubtedly the most challenging cruising destination in the North Atlantic and every year a few yachts brave the elements to explore this wild and beautiful island during the all too short summer season. The deeply indented coasts offer an infinite variety of anchorages in the steep sided fjords or among the myriad islands.
- By June, the west coast is clear of ice between 63°N and 69°N. It can be approached by passing well to seaward of Cape Farvel. Depending on conditions, one may have to pass as far as 100 miles offshore. July and August are the best months for cruising.
- Radar is a must given the fog that is prevalent along the southwest coast.
- Provisions are available only in the larger settlements and the best supplies are to be found in the capital Godthaab. It is also here that the best range of repair facilities is available. Limited repair facilities are also available at Holsteinsborg and Jakobshavn, which also have slipways. Fuel and water are available in the majority of ports.
The weather is cold all year round and the winters are particularly harsh with some ports being icebound until well into the summer. Temperatures are low even in the summer months. The prevailing winds in the southern part are S or SW, while easterly winds predominate further north. Winds are light and variable in summer. Depending on latitude, the midnight sun is visible from the end of May until the end of July.
Ice conditions: Ice Control Tel. 3 52 44, 3 52 54. Ice Control may be contacted via coast radio stations. If the station is out of VHF range, such as when approaching Cape Farvel, contact should be made through Qaqortoq (Julianhab) Radio. Ice Control will indicate ice limits and advise on the best course to sail.
Some of the harbours are accessible all year round, but many are only accessible during the summer, and even then ice-strengthened vessels are recommended. There are ice booms placed across the harbour entrances at Jakobshavn, and one should confirm with port authorities that these booms are slackened off before entering.
Angmagssalik (August to November navigation period) * , Augpilagtoq , Christianshaab (May to November) * , Egedesminde (May to December) * , Faeringehavn (year round) * , Godhavn (May to December) * , Holsteinsborg (year round) * , Jakobshavn/ Ilulissat (May to November) * , Julianehaab (year round, only ice-strengthened vessels January to July) * , Marmorilik (May to October) * , Nanortalik (August to December) * , Narsaq (May to October) * , Narsarsuaq (May to October) * , Nuuk (year round) * , Qaqortoq , Sukkertoppen (year round) * , Umanak (July to October) * , Upernavik (June to November) *
* indicates port of entry