Arctic Forum" arranged by London's best ship's chandler, Arthur Beale.
We heard about two voyages from the UK, one from the nearby St. Katharines dock, up to 80N and Spitzerbergen. It was all very interesting and if I had a first choice of places to sail this year it would indeed be the Svalbard archipelago.
There was lots of good advice from people who'd actually sailed there, such as this:
this book on "High Latitude Sailing" includes lots and lots of good advice for expedition planners.
Afterwards there was a Q&A which I didn't contribute, though I was tempted to comment, relating to a discussion about the best heater to use, that from personal experience it was indeed possible to sail inside the Arctic Circle in an unheated 32' Contessa.
Or that advice about what to do when you land on a beach to find yourself sharing it with a polar bear (obv. get back to the yacht) is not academic but actually very practical. Also, there was nothing about what to do when out kayaking and you find yourself joined by a polar bear (which happened to a friend of mine).
But the key message is one I'd echo: we are lucky that in the UK we are not that many days sailing from some of the most pristine and beautiful wild landscapes in the world.
Update: interesting article on Arthur Beale in the Telegraph here