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Skip Novak

Director of Sailing Operations

Areas of Expertise

Sail Racing – Skip’s notable sailing includes four Whitbread Round the World Yacht Races since 1977. In these races, he navigated the British Cutter Kings Legend to second place, and Simon Le Bon’s Drum to third place. Skip also was project manager and skipper of the Fazisi, the first Soviet entry in the Whitbread Race.

Mountaineering – In addition to sailing, Skip is a skilled mountaineer and has partaken in climbing expeditions to Antarctica, South Georgia, New Zealand, the Alps, East Africa, Sikkim, Nepal and Patagonia.

Pelagic and Pelagic Australis

In 1987, Skip designed the expedition yacht Pelagic in response to his desire to combine his two passions of skiing and mountaineering.

In 2003, he built the larger, 23-meter Pelagic Australis.

As the builder and operator of both Pelagic and Pelagic Australis, he has traveled to Antarctica every year for three decades and has set new standards in expedition yacht design and construction. He continues to operate both vessels under charter for Pelagic Expeditions.

Vinson of Antarctica

In 2021, Skip launched the Vinson of Antarctica in collaboration with Nicolas Ibanez from Chile. This Pelagic 77 design has been active in supporting film streaming services and science projects in the Arctic and the Antarctic regions. Vinson of Antarctica is the preeminent high-latitude expedition sailing vessel of her size.In the Media

Skip is frequently asked to comment on high-latitude adventuring and ocean sailing by radio, TV and print media. He is a regular contributor to many sailing magazines worldwide and currently writes a monthly column for Yachting World.


In 2015, Skip was awarded the prestigious Blue Water Medal from the Cruising Club of America for his lifetime of voyaging to high latitudes.

In 2016, he was awarded the Tilman Award by the Royal Cruising Club of London for his work pioneering Antarctic sailing expeditions.