He has undertaken a number of controversial voyages, primarily to the polar regions. He is most renowned for his voyages together with Alex Rosén (Norwegian comedian/presenter/musician) in the 27-foot Albin Vega sailing vessel Berserk to Svalbard and Russia, since these voyages became the subject of the Norwegian television series Berserk mot Nordpolen ("Berserk to the North Pole") and Berserk til Valhall ("Berserk to Valhalla") which aired on NRK in 2003 and 2005 and was published as a book in 2006.
In February 2011, during Andhøy's Antarctic expedition, Berserk sank in Antarctica with the loss of three crew.
Andhøy's first major voyage, in 1996-1997, was as a 19-year-old in Berserk; his first 27-foot Albin Vega. He sailed primarily single-handed from his home town of Larvik to the Antarctic Peninsula, although during some legs of the voyage he was accompanied by crews that he picked up along the way. Andhøy wrote a book about his voyage entitled Alene Rundt Kapp Horn ("Alone Around Cape Horn"). Andhøy met David Mercy (American film-maker and author) in Ushuaia, and they sailed across the Drake Passage together. Mercy later wrote a book about the voyage, and crewed on some of Andhøy's later voyages. Shortly after returning from the Antarctic, Berserk sank.
In June 2002, Andhøy, Rosén, and Mercy, sailed to the Arctic in another Albin Vega, called Berserk II; their goal was to sail in the path of Ohthere, the Viking chief, and to sail as far as possible north towards the Arctic ice. According to their own account of the voyage, the expedition set a world record, as no other sailing vessel had ever sailed as far north in open water. Immediately after returning to Longyearbyen on Svalbard, Sysselmannen (the governor of Svalbard) charged Andhøy, as the skipper, with sailing without insurance and for failing to submit a route-plan. He was requested to pay a fine of 20,000 Norwegian Kroner and was refused permission to continue in Svalbard's waters. Andhøy failed to pay the fine, and so the case was taken to Nord-Troms court on 30 April 2003. Additionally, Andhøy, Rosén, and Mercy released a television series which documented their voyage (first aired on NRK in the autumn of 2003). Using their own documentary as evidence, Sysselmannen charged the trio with a number of environmental crimes, including unauthorised landings in protected areas and provoking a polar bear. The case, carrying a sentence of 30 days imprisonment and a fine of 25,000 Kroner, was heard in Larvik court on 29 March 2004. They were found guilty, but the sentence was reduced to 5,000 Kroner and the imprisonment was suspended, pending a 2 year probationary period.
In July 2004, Andhøy and Rosén attempted to continue the voyage. However, the Norwegian Police and Coastguard attempted to stop them since they believed Mercy, who was still wanted in connection with the previous environmental charges, was also aboard. When Berserk II was searched near Vardø, Mercy was not found aboard, although it transpired that he was hiding in Vardø, disguised as a taxi driver. In order to avoid further attention from the Norwegian authorities, the expedition continued towards Russia. They sailed on to Archangelsk, and further through the White Sea-Baltic Canal to the Baltic Sea.
In the summer of 2007, Andhøy undertook a new expedition to explore the Northwest Passage, sailing from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean along the Canadian coast. This voyage was undertaken in a 48 foot steel boat, also renamed Berserk, and with a larger crew, amongst them Mercy and Fredrik Juell. However, in early July, two of the crew, including Juell, were arrested by the Canadian authorities. In August, Andhøy was also arrested by the Canadian authorities for attempting to smuggle Juell back into Canada, after he had been denied permission following the previous arrest. Andhøy published his account of the voyage in another book Berserk gjennom Nordvestpassasjen ("Berserk through the Northwest Passage") and a NRK television series of the same name.
In the winter of 2011 during an expedition to the South Pole, Berserk activated its emergency transponder with three people on board. At the time Jarle Andhøy and one of his crewmates, Samuel Massie, were driving ATVs towards the pole.
An extensive search was coordinated by New Zealand’s Rescue Co-ordination Centre, and involved the governments of New Zealand, Norway, and the United States. Involved in the search were the New Zealand naval vessel HMNZS Wellington, and the private vessels Professor Khromov (Spirit of Enderby) and Sea Shepherd ship "MY Steve Irwin", in addition to the helicopter on the Steve Irwin. On 25 February, the Steve Irwin found an empty, damaged lifeboat from the Berserk and several packages of drinking water, but no sign of the boat itself. After an extensive search by these vessels, the search was concluded on 1 March 2011 with all three crew member presumed dead.
In January 2012, the New Zealand Customs Service mounted a search for the sailing yacht Nilaya, after the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified the Antarctic Treaty parties that it suspected that Andhøy and Massie would again sail to Antarctica illegally. Andhøy had told the Norwegian Ministry of his plans but had not obtained the required permits from Norway. According to the authorities, Andhøy had also entered New Zealand illegally on his way southwards because he had not declared his previous deportation from Canada. It was also illegal to leave New Zealand waters as he did without customs clearance. Also on board were Samuel Massie, a Russian, an Argentine and an unknown New Zealand "stowaway".
The New Zealander turned out to be Busby Noble, an undocumented Maori man in his fifties who claimed to be on board by accident, and who later performed a "karakia" or prayer for the men lost on the 2011 Berserk voyage. The Nilaya successfully reached the area where Berserk was lost, but after a fruitless search, Andhøy set course for Argentina to avoid consequences in New Zealand.
After sustaining minor damage the vessel headed back into Antarctic territory to seek help with repairs, and fuel. In Chilean waters, the Nilaya was then detained by the Chilean Navy because she gave a false name when contacted by radio. Chilean authorities were also aware that a "stowaway" New Zealand citizen lacked a passport, and it was unclear if he was there of his own free will. The crew presented the vessel as being both Russian and Norwegian flagged, and she was flying a pirate flag when she was detained. Andhøy returned to Norway in May 2012.
Andhøy was initially fined 25,000 NOK ($4,500 USD), but in July 2014 it was reported that he'd been fined 45,000 NOK ($7,250 USD) by Norway for violating environmental and reporting provisions of the Antarctic Treaty during his 2012 exploits. He stated that he wouldn't pay--that could subject him to a 50-day suspended jail sentence.
In August 2012, Andhøy announced that, together with Buzzy Glenoble and Thor Heyerdahl's son Bjørn Heyerdahl, he is planning to undertake a voyage to continue Heyerdahl's legacy. The voyage is planned to be made using the vessel used for the 2012 Kon-Tiki film. It was scheduled to start from Larvik in September 2012.
As of Feb 2014, this expedition does not appear to have eventuated, and it seems that "Buzzy Glenoble" (in other instances on the www, "... Grenoble") was a misheard version of "Busby Noble", from the earlier trip.
In 2014 a trial against him started in the Norwegian court system.
- Norwegian Authority for Environmental Crime retrieved 2 April 2009[dead link]
- Jarle Andhøy and Alex Rosén, "Berserk til Valhall", Flyt forlag. ISBN 978-82-92465-29-5
- "Three die in 'Viking' yacht off Antarctica", 27/02/2011, MICHAEL FIELD, stuff.co.nz
- Jarle Andhøy, "Alene Rundt Kapp Horn", Norsk maritimt forlag, ISBN 978-82-90319-30-9
- David Mercy, "Berserk in the Antarctic", Summersdale Publishers, ISBN 978-1-84024-479-3
- Østlands Posten "Dømt for å ha truet isbjørn og hvalross" (Norwegian; "Charged for taunting a polar bear and a Walrus"), retrieved 2 April 2009
- "Dagbladet; Klappjakt på Berserk II" (Norwegian; hunting for Berserk II) retrieved 2 April 2009
- Østlands Posten "Berserk mannskap arrestert" (Norwegian; "Berserk crew arrested") retrieved 2 April 2009
- Aftenposten; "Berserk-besetningen arrestert i Canada" (Norwegian; "Berserk crew arrested in Canada") retrieved 2 April 2009
- Jarle Andhøy, "Berserk gjennom Nordvestpassasjen", Flyt forlag. ISBN 978-82-92465-55-4
- Antarctic Treaty Secretariat; "The Berserk Incident, Ross Sea, February 2011"
- Dagbladet; "Det er over. Vi er lei oss." (Norwegian; "It's over. We're sorry.")
- Polarinstituttet; "Anmeldelse av Jarle Andhøy" (Norwegian; "Prosecution of Jarle Andhøy")
- Andhøy får 25.000 kroner i bot (Norwegian: "Andhøy gets 25 000 kroner fine")
- Weekes, John (February 13, 2012). "'Stowaway' turns out to be Maori political activist". Herald on Sunday. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- – We Maori can learn so much from Samis' political struggle
- - Oppga falskt navn på båten
- Chile stoppet Nilaya på grunn av blindpassasjer
- Her blir Andhøy tatt i Chile
- - Andhøy har ikke dokumentasjon på at skipet fører norsk flagg
- - Jarle vet fortsatt ikke hvorfor han blir holdt i Chile
- - Umulig å gjemme seg når man seiler med piratflagg
- Andhøys forsvarer ba om frifinnelse [Andhøys lawyer asked for acquittal]