The Cat® S61 on mission above the Arctic Circle with ambassador Juho Karhu

Meet Cat ambassador Juho Karhu, sailor, freeskier and researcher living aboard s/y Sylvia.

Ski touring and sailing have long been Juho’s passions, and the Norwegian coast and the polar nights above the Arctic Circle are, without doubt, some of the memories that had the biggest impact on his adventurous self. Dreams such as heading over the Barents Sea to Svalbard encouraged him to take his lifestyle up a notch and move from between the Austrian Alps and the Baltic Sea to s/y Sylvia, which he describes as his “vehicle to access the otherwise inaccessible Arctic mountains and fjords.”

With a job that allows him to work from anywhere in the world, Juho says that the secret to being able to permanently live on a sailboat is to not accumulate any unnecessary belongings but to wisely choose very few instead.

“It’s a minimalistic lifestyle where I can only have those kinds of things that I really need, and everything that I have must work reliably and preferably have multiple purposes. That’s where the Cat S61 comes in.”

Boat life is mostly associated with palm trees. Why the cold Arctic?

Juho had skied the Northern Way before and was ready to explore places that are reachable by boat only. That, together with some environmental research projects he was keen to get involved in, was his main motivation.

Together with a team from the Gdańsk University of Technology, he is collecting samples to assess the spread of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to the Arctic. These are mostly man-made pollutants like chemicals and pesticides that, through air masses, find their way from inhabited places to all over the planet. The sailboat and skis are key in order to collect samples from remote places where scientists would otherwise struggle to get.

Hoping to set an example and to inspire people to enjoy life with less possessions and a step closer to nature, Juho talks about slow travel being a more environmentally friendly way of seeing the world: “Rather than flying all around I really enjoy staying in one place or area observing everything around me and seeing the seasons and conditions change.”

The role of the cat S61 on s/y Sylvia

Juho uses the Cat S61 as a tool for pretty much everything that he does outdoors, from route planning to avalanche risk evaluation.

S/y Sylvia is not insulated, so the integrated thermal imaging camera is an extremely insightful tool to determine what spots on the boat are losing the most heat. “A real plus in the winter when it’s -18°C outside.”

Diagnosing an overheating engine and checking diesel stove flue, as well as recording weather observations from the snow sampling sites and taking photographs are some other applications Juho has found for the Cat S61 on his life aboard s/y Sylvia.

Keep up with what Juho’s daily marine adventures on Instagram.


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