Trekking Spitsbergen in support of yacht crew in crisis

February 17, 2022
2 Spitsbergen

A superyacht Master Mariner is taking on an extreme challenge in freezing temperatures this March to raise funds for ISWAN’s Yacht Crew Help.

From 9th to 19th March 2022, Brendan O’Shannassy will tackle the Extreme Leaders Spitsbergen Pursuit Challenge – designed to develop leadership by taking participants past their normal comfort zone and coaching them to a higher level. Brendan and his team members will cross the frozen Norwegian island of Spitsbergen where temperatures fall to -40°C, trekking on skis and towing 70kg sleds called ‘pulks’.

Parallel to personal goals to develop his own leadership, communication and self-awareness, Brendan seeks to raise funds for ISWAN’s free, 24-hour helpline for yacht crew in need of support, Yacht Crew Help. Brendan is an active member of Yacht Crew Help’s steering committee who has shared his expert knowledge and experience with ISWAN to help establish and develop the service.

Superyacht Master Mariner Brendan O'Shannassy training for the challenge in Austria

Brendan said: ‘The Extreme Leaders Pursuit in Spitsbergen represents a challenge to my own personal emotional boundaries. Former elite military members, Alan Chambers MBE and [former soldier and star of SAS: Who Dares Wins] Jason Fox are stewarding the journey into the polar wilderness where polar bears outnumber humans.

‘The trek across Spitsbergen requires emotional strength to get through the days; it parallels working remotely at sea on yachts where you are often on your own and challenges happen in real time. Yacht Crew Help supports crew when they are facing big personal challenges alone on yachts and finding it tough to cope.

‘I have seen the real difference the helpline has made. I also know it requires funding to operate. My days trekking across the ice are dedicated to all the yacht crew out there working hard each day to keep the magnificent yachts in operation.’

Brendan training in Austria: 'My training is about staying injury free and building the strength needed to pull a 70kg sled across the ice for 8hrs a day'

You can help keep this vital service for yacht crew worldwide running by donating via Brendan’s fundraising page at Yacht Crew Help will receive 100% of donations and all costs of the trip have been covered personally by Brendan.

Yacht Crew Help is a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for professional yacht crew anywhere in the world. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide support and assistance to any crew member who has a question or problem or needs someone to talk to. Contact details and a range of information, guidance and resources on issues affecting yacht crew can be found on the Yacht Crew Help website:

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