66 Norte


From 8 September 2021 to 24 September 2021


Five women who have suffered from cancer will experience the Arctic adventure in its purest form in this seventh edition of the Pelayo Vida Challenge: they will cover the more than 2,500 nautical miles that separate them from the port of Vigo to the Arctic Circle, the famous 66th parallel north latitude, i.e. the border between the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. Surrounded by ice, icebergs and glaciers, they will have to sail at sub-zero temperatures, in extreme waters without any outside assistance. An endurance test for five women who proved that it was possible to overcome a disease such as cancer and that it will be possible to cover this distance in a spectacular, but at the same time very aggressive setting due to its extreme temperatures.



After having explored every corner of every continent, only the two opposite ends of the Earth remained defiant and inaccessible. Those frozen wastelands, where life is almost impossible, became the stage for a mad race of dozens of men who wanted to go down in history. Driven more by a desire for glory than by scientific interest, they set out to challenge the most extreme conditions, both in the Arctic and Antarctica.

From the Vikings to explorers such as Fridtjof Nansen, Robert Peary and Roald Amundsen, they all set off on a race to reach the geographic North Pole, located just above the 66th Parallel North at the exact latitude of 66º33’52” N, the final destination of the Pelayo Vida Challenge in 2021.

Floating ice, winter landscapes, rough seas, endless cliffs, ice floes, sea lions, whales, birds, wildlife. Grey and icy landscapes that, when facing the force of the sun, deploy a chromatic spectacle of amazing beauty and savage energy. Rambling trails between ice and icebergs, which can only be crossed during some summer months, with its polar bear migration centre and where thousands of beluga whales cross its waters during the summer.

The Pelayo Vida 66 Norte Challenge against cancer, now in its seventh edition, aims to spread the word about the benefits of exercising during and after cancer treatment by sailing in such an extreme place on Earth as the icy waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic.


This year, due to the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh edition returns to sea, where our five crew members will remain isolated. With this new edition, more than 1,500 women have already taken part in the selection trials for Kilimanjaro’2015, Trasatlántica’2016, Polar’2017, Annapurna Bike’2018, Andes’2019, Vuelta España’2020 and 66 Norte’2021.

Five women who have suffered from cancer will have to sail 2,500 nautical miles from Galicia to the Arctic Circle, exactly to the 66th parallel north. A sailing adventure through difficult waters and in very harsh weather conditions. They will just join the other crew members on the ship, steering it and being on the necessary watches during the voyage.

Our five sailors will have to face new and demanding experiences and challenges. This expedition has been organised in such a way that the participants are part of the crew; thus, they will have to be on watches every three hours, sleep in shifts in a “warm bed”, while not always having a shower available and taking turns to cook and clean the ship.

Cancer is a huge life lesson that makes you stronger, calmer, more patient, wiser ..., apart from teaching you to value LIFE as the wonderful gift that it is.

Ana, 49, breast cancer

Born in Madrid
Responsible for financial processes

The word cancer popped up in the middle of the pandemic. It paralysed me. I went back home, saw my daughters and said to myself: I'm going to get you and I'm going to do my best. A year later, I look at myself and feel that I am not the same. I see a woman with scars, but stronger, more determined and more eager to live every second than ever before. Ironically, cancer reconnects you to life.

Ana, 38, breast cancer

Born in Valencia

When my body went "I can’t", my mind countered "yes, you can". I trusted that I could, and I did indeed. Cancer taught me not only to live, but to feel alive.

Lourdes, 55, breast cancer

Born in Pamplona
Fitness and sports trainer

Rather than an illness, this experience has been the perfect opportunity to turn my life into the one I always dreamed of.

Natalia, 47, breast cancer

Born in Madrid
Operating theatre nurse

Learning that life is fleeting made me learn to live the present moment, to minimise non-essential things, to be grateful every day for having the opportunity to live and to discover that life is so beautiful, that the will to fight and improve yourself comes by itself.

Susana, 46, breast cancer

Born in Malaga
Civil servant

Pilar Casares

Head of the expedition

A deep-sea skipper, with a degree in Chemistry and a technical degree in Naval Mechanics, she has been the manager of her company Bigboy Náutica, located in Mallorca (Balearic Islands), since 2009. It provides nautical, rigging and charter qualifications. Pilar has embarked on hundreds of journeys. As a sailor, she has participated in major projects, such as the Estrella Galicia, Admiral’s Cup, Comodores Cup, Middle Sea Race, Rimini Corfu Rimini, La Duecento of Lignano. She has also participated in projects with women’s teams, such as Maltesers, and as a skipper in “Aguas de Mondariz” and in the women’s Match Race circuit. In 2007, she was preselected for the BWR and a crew member on the Imoca 60 “Central Lechera Asturiana” in the Cantabrian area of the Sailing Tour of Spain. “It is an honour for me to have been chosen as the head of the Pelayo Vida Challenge and to be able to lead these five brave women to the Arctic Circle. Their life force already sets an example for all of us”, says Pilar.

  • Recognition from the Navy
  • Vigo Port Authority
  • Makers & Shakers Awards Nominees