Juho Karhu

Arctic Sailor & Film Maker
Juho Karhu

Juho is a winter sailor and lives on his boat s/v Lumi (Finnish for ”snow”) all year around in the Arctic. He documents his adventures on his YouTube channel 'Alluring Arctic' as he explores Northern Norway, Svalbard, the Faroes and Iceland. 

Juho Karhu Alluring Arctic Sailing

Discovering Arctic Sailing

Juho discovered sailing in his twenties while spending winters free skiing in the Alps and needing a summer activity. After completing a beginner's sailing course and spending a few years exploring the Baltic Sea and the stunning Finnish archipelago on his first small boat, he saw an opportunity to merge his love for skiing and sailing in Northern Europe.

Setting sail from Finland with his partner Sohvi, they spent two years exploring Northern Norway, Svalbard, the Faroes, and Iceland.

Juho's specialty lies in his willingness to sail and live aboard in these high latitudes, even during winter. While others haul out and winterize their boats, Juho eagerly prepares for what he describes as the best time of the year.

Lumi Juho Karhu Arctic Sailing

Meet Lumi - An Arctic Vessel

Their new boat, Lumi, features an aluminium hull and has been modified by Juho and Sohvi to enhance its suitability for winter sailing and overwintering in ice. They've removed all through-hulls, added various heating systems and insulation, and installed a suite of Raymarine electronics.

"I'm not ashamed to admit that we heavily rely on our modern Raymarine gear during the winter months" Juho says. "Especially during the polar night period when the sun doesn't rise above the horizon for weeks. Radar, AIS, and electronic chart plotting are invaluable during coastal sailing. However, our favourite piece of equipment remains the EV-200 autopilot system with the linear drive unit. It's been flawless and indispensable for solo and shorthanded sailing. Winter conditions truly test your equipment.”

Juho Karhu Alluring Arctic

The Northwest Passage & Greenland 2024

This year, Juho and Sohvi face two significant challenges: sailing through the Northwest Passage from Alaska to Greenland, and then spending winter frozen into ice in a remote bay in Greenland.

The Northwest Passage is typically blocked by ice for most of the year but becomes passable for a short period, usually 4-6 weeks starting around the end of July. Navigating through the Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Beaufort Sea, and the Baffin Bay means dodging sea ice and icebergs.

"I anticipate our Quantum 2 radar and CAM210 masthead camera to be invaluable, especially for detecting ice and confirming coastlines" Juho notes. "Charts in this region are unreliable, with island locations sometimes off by a whole mile."

Juho works full time as a filmmaker and documents their adventures on the popular 'Alluring Arctic' YouTube channel. But for him this life is not really about the iceberg-dodging and other challenges, it’s about being able to enjoy and experience Arctic nature.

Juho Kahru Alluring Arctic

"We're really anticipating our time in Greenland", he shares. "We plan to find a cosy bay to park our boat in late fall and witness the transition from fall to winter, then to spring. Observing the changing seasons, from the first snowfall to the quiet darkness of winter, maybe with an occasional visit from an arctic fox, and then seeing the sun and all the life return with it in the spring, that’s so captivating."

In their efforts to give back to the Arctic, Juho and Sohvi offer their boat as a free platform for research projects in remote areas. They've collected snow pollution samples in Svalbard, photographed glacier tongues in Norway, and measured ice layers in Icelandic snow. During their Northwest Passage journey and in Greenland, s/v Lumi will utilize Raymarine transducers and other sensors to gather and store weather data in locations lacking weather stations. This data can aid researchers in understanding climate change effects and improving weather models.