The Carliers are born with a sextant in their hand and navigation in the blood! Three or four generations of sailors definitely leave their trace. “My father sailed with his father, and my sisters and I have always sailed with our father, Philippe” summarises Thomas Carlier, co-founder of Qilak with his father and sister Marion.

This precociousness had the family talked about more than twenty years ago. Philippe took on Tlaloc, a Leisure 730 sailing boat built by his own hands, at the Nieuwport 24 hours for him and his children. Whilst the father was in the cabin, Tlaloc was overtaken by a crew of Le Soir journalists. At this precise moment, it was Thomas, just five years old, who was at the helm, with his sisters at his side. The journalists, amazed, saw no adult at helm of the boat. The story made a few lines in the newspaper the next day.

Even though, from his two passions, Philippe has preferred the air to the sea for his career, that has never stopped him sailing.

Over time, as the aspirations of the sailor grew, the North Sea became narrower and journeys grew longer and further away. So much so that Philippe was one of the first boaters to dock in the port of St. Petersburg, just after its reopening, at the time of the fall of the USSR. There he even met a cruiser from the Belgian navy whose cannons were loaded with … chocolate!

Over the years, sea trips became more and more numerous: Sweden first, finally Norway, to Spitzbergen. The passage beyond the polar circle remains a profound moment, full of emotion. It’s the meeting of the aurora borealis and a geographical space where time is suspended, dilated, which is imprinted on the retina with the same intensity as it marks the spirit. It’s the end of the world, the end of the territory of Man, the frontier of Humanity.

After several family trips, Philippe and Thomas made two observations. The first was that the family boat had reached its limits and that it would soon be time to replace it. The second was that their voyages at sea made their friends dream.

Wanting to share their huge passion for the sea and sailing, Philippe, Thomas and Marion decided to develop a real project that could serve this ambition: to share the magic of the polar circle in a responsible way, without ever damaging the wonders of this still wild region.

The three of them had a fairly accurate idea of the boat they needed to achieve this project. But, on the market, nothing really matched that vision.

It was at the heart of a hot spot of the nautical universe, in the Solent, between the English coast and the Isle of Wight, that the situation became clear. After long conversations with Janeth Bradley, the emblematic owner of the King & Queen, the legendary Hamble-Le-Rice pub and famous seafarer’s landmark, Philippe met Merf Owen, a famous racing boat builder. Convinced by the Carlier project, which represented a new technical challenge for him, he agreed to design a boat for them. For the father and his children to work with such a size is the assurance of having a boat that performs and is distinguished. The choice of the shipyard was also paramount. Philippe, Thomas and Marion decided to work with KMY in the Netherlands. It was the personality of the boss, Eeuwe Kooi, who won them over Eeuwe is a true seaman, accustomed to navigating the seas in northern Europe: his experience brings an invaluable added value to the project.

A boat that is equally comfortable, safe and very efficient yet always on a human scale will leave the KMY shipyard: allowing for integrating with local life in ports, encouraging exchanges and sharing.

The finest vehicle for the values promoted by Philippe, Thomas and Marion Carlier, and above all, Qilak’s dream to conquer the celestial sphere.


The Carliers are born with a sextant in their hand and navigation in the blood! Three or four generations of sailors definitely leave their trace. “My father sailed with his father, and my sisters and I have always sailed with our father, Philippe” summarises Thomas Carlier, co-founder of Qilak with his father and sister Marion.

  • discovery: retractable keel allowing Qilak to reach places that are inaccessible to larger ships
  • adventure: a sailboat of 21m made of aluminium built especially for the polar regions
  • nature : a boat designed and built to respect the environment
  • cocooning: a comfortable living space with a large screen and stove
  • freedom: a yacht that welcomes very small groups (8 guests) which allows for travelling, easily adapting the programme
  • pleasure: a super equipped kitchen and a wine cellar
  • relaxation: sauna and hot showers – a garage located at the back of the boat with a small annex for canoes, dinghy etc…
  • observation: a covered area, to observe flora and fauna sheltered from cold and wind


Depending on the type of trip the crew consists of two to four members. A skipper, a first mate, a crew and a guide.

Philippe Carlier : Captain

Philippe Carlier is a true adventurer. Everything began one evening as the radio broadcast the story of the Belgian adventures in the Arctic: snow, ice, wind, and moments of humanity. On the back seat of his uncle’s car, in the middle of the night, a small flame has just kindled in the belly of young Philippe. It has never since diminished. Later, after a first flight with a cousin and devouring the stories of his hero, Hermann Geiger (famous Swiss glacier pilot), it’s aviation he chooses: the vibrations of the propeller, the roar of the engine, the noise of the air on the fuselage, and above all: leaving the ground!

He pursued an exciting career as a pilot, first as a fighter pilot and as an instructor (notably on F-104s), where he became Captain and then an airline pilot for various companies where he finished as a Boeing 747 pilot. A man faithful to his passions, his aerial adventures never turned him away from his other passion: the sea. When he is not in the air, Philippe Carlier is at sea. In fifty years, he has covered the globe: North Sea, North and South Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Persian Gulf, Norwegian Sea … Parachutist, diver, balloonist, paraglider … for Captain Philippe, the world is never big enough, and above all … you can always go little further. In 2015, he obtained the Yach-Master Ocean and PPR (Professional Practices and Responsibilities) certification, recognised by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). The sacred fire of adventure burns more than ever in Philippe’s eyes, but he now dreams of sharing this passion, of taking others on the adventure. A measured, controlled adventure, where randomness and uncertainty are eliminated but the adventure nevertheless. Philippe has the reputation of “correctly calculating his actions”, from this point, the Captain now wants to put himself at the service of others.

Ashley Perrin, Skipper

Ashley Perrin has over 16 years of professional experience in the maritime industry as crew and then as captain on a large number of ships. Over the years, Ashley has developed a significant number of skills, such as safety at sea, special navigation in uncharted areas, diving, mechanics … Travelling thousands of miles across the Pacific, Atlantic and in difficult areas such as Antarctica, San Francisco Bay, Drakes Passage, the British Isles, we can say that Ashley is an experienced and distinguished sailor. Add to this an significant regatta experience and you will soon realise that Qilak is very fortunate to be able to count on Ashley to have her discover the Southern Hemisphere. She could also, depending on its availability, take Qilak to the northern hemisphere to Spitsbergen, Greenland or elsewhere. For more information about Ashley, visit her page http://www.antarcticicepilot.com

Merfyn Owen, Skipper

Merfyn Owen is a Chartered Engineer, a member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, a graduate of University College London and a member of Glamorgan University. He has registered over 160 000 offshore miles, including many major races in multi-hulls and mono-hulls. In addition to numerous trans-ocean crossings he has completed, including the Jacques Vabres double Transat, he has twice rounded Cape Horn, including once as a skipper in the BT Global Challenge 1996/97.

And to top it off, it is from his imagination and from the tip of his pencil that Qilak was born!




Thomas Carlier

Thomas Carlier, the son of Philippe, has, like his sister Marion, jumped at the adventure that their father involuntarily laid before them. Passionate about sailing and navigation, he nevertheless chose to study management. Graduated in 2007, he made a career in the business world. Entrepreneur and businessman, he contributed to many projects, from computer consultancy to positive engineering. Good blood not knowing how to lie, he did all this without ever being very far from the helm of his father’s boats, with his sisters Marion and Valerie. With Qilak, he holds an opportunity to reconcile happiness with professional skills and an all consuming passion.

Marion Carlier

Marion Carlier, daughter of Philippe and therefore sister of Thomas, has a rich and eclectic path. A graduate in communication and tourism, she took up successive challenges with Sony, Sanoma, and the Rossel group. Passionate about travel and exploration, she also worked for several years for travel agencies. Like Thomas, the passion for adventure and discovery drives her to join her father in his nautical adventures off the coast of Norway. His latest professional experience took place in an iconic international boating venue: the King & Queen, in the Solent (opposite the Isle of Wight), as the manager of the famous Janet Bradley’s pub. To her professional experience, Marion adds Competent Crew and First Aid from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

Michael Schneider, First Officer

Michael is the owner and principal of Germany’s biggest RYA Training Centre Sailing Circle. He is an experienced skipper and instructor. He has more than 50.000 Miles under his belt and undertaken many ocean passages  including expeditions in Svalbard. He has sailed and instructed in many regions, including the Solent, his playground, but also in Asia and Australia. His passion is celestial navigation. As he is an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean instructor you will benefit from his expertise should you wish to undertake one of our passages as a Yachtmaster Ocean Qualifying Passage. Michael followed the build process of QILAK very closely so it was a natural decision to adopt him to the QILAK family in a position as First Officer and Relief Captain, but he is also your personal RYA instructor- and to top that of, Michael has a reputation of cooking some delicious meals even when the going gets rough!
More information about his training centre can be found under www.sailingcircle.de