I've met and discussed Arctic sailing with the couple who took the first private yacht into Hudson's Bay since...well...Hudson: Leslie and Carolann Sike in Aqua Star
, a customized Goderich 40 steel cutter.
I've been aboard prior to Leslie selling her...you don't see many yachts of that size with a crow's nest on the mainmast, but Hudson's Bay has reefs and ice, and neither are well-charted. Another good Arctic crewing narrative is "Tuning the Rig" http://www.amazon.com/review/product...owViewpoints=1
which is set aboard a tall ship in Arctic waters.
My impression is that while the physical, mechanical and bodily demands of Arctic sail travel is considerable, there is a strong psychological component relating to both the isolation of the environment (Canada may not save you, folks, if you are too far away), and the utter dependence on one's shipmates and the trust you must have in their abilities to keep ship and crew safe while you sleep.
This seems difficult if not impossible for some (not all) to experience, and a lot of high-latitude narratives seem to feature unhappy crew who can't find that trust within them and who succumb to indifference, depression or hostility.
demonstrated, the right crew can take a very minimal/borderline boat into the extremes of the Arctic successfully, but the crew must be the right psychological mix.