Call a Skipper 01872 580022

The Best Ocean Passages for Mile Building

Share this page

The Best Tall Ship Mile Building Voyages - perfect for Gap Year Travel

The beauty of sailing through the day and night on a reasonably large sailing ship is you can notch up thousands of miles without too much effort. You also gain a wealth of experience if you fully immerse yourself in sailing, watch keeping and navigating duties. Its easy to take time to learn as much as you can from the professional crew.

Ocean Wandering Tall Ships 

Barque Europa
Barque Lord Nelson
Topsail schooner Oosterschelde
Two masted sailing ship Bessie Ellen
Barque Tenacious
Three masted lugger Grayhound

Signed on as 'Tall Ships Crew'

These ships are all sail training vessels so you are signed on as ships crew. This means you can log the miles as seatime for various marine qualifications from qualifying miles towards your RYA yachtmaster offshore or sea time for superyacht or merchant navy.
Our professional crews have wide interests and many ocean mile under their belt so you may be able to learn aspects of astro navigation with a sextant, oceanography, meteorology and marine wildlife. Some vessels and some voyages are better for lectures and one to one teaching of certain skills than others, so talk to us if you have a particular interest and we'll help you find the best ocean passage. Living at an angle becomes quite normal after a while. It's not as frugal as Nelson's day. Watermakers and large freezers save the day.

top of the world - view from aloft


Distance in Nautical Miles

Here are some of our longest voyage legs. To help those interested in mile building we are adding a rough estimate of the nautical miles you might cover in the voyage descriptions (click on the voyage descriptions below).  If you have more time you can spend months on ships like Topsail Schooner Oosterschelde and Barque Europa following a trade wind circuit like the sailing cargo windjammers of the 19th Century and early 20th Century.  I

f you prefer a smaller vessel then three masted lugger Grayhound will be offering ocean voyages in a classic circuit around the North Atlantic - including Cape Verde the Caribbean and the Azores.


Europa's Captain Klaas Gaastra in Antarctic Sound

Three Wildlife Expeditions in one trip 

South Georgia, Weddell Sea & Antarctica

A full Antarctic and Southern Ocean Circuit starting in the Falklands. Sail downwind amongst the albatrosses to one of the most most 

prolific wildlife breeding grounds on the planet - South Georgia. After a week exploring the anchorages of this mountainous sub antarctic island with thousands of penguins, seals and seabirds, Europa may repeat her 2011Centennial voyage by visiting South Orkney as she sails further South to catch the Polar Easterlies back towards the Antarctic Peninsula. Dodge the icebergs of the Weddell Sea and explore islands rarely visted by cruise expedition ships on the east side of the Peninsula. Cross the infamous Drakes Passage to Argentina.

21 Dec 2013 - 23 Jan 2014 Bark Europa - 34 Day Antarctic Expedition - voyage description


Antarctica, South Georgia, Tristan Da Cuhna and Ascension, Azores and Amsterdam 111 day Voyage  Just the longest so far.

Look for humpback and killer whales amongst the icebergs. Wildlife safaris ashore amongst the penguins, fur seals and elephant seals. Climb the rigging and marvel at the icecaps, untrodden glaciers and mountain peaks. Sail the same route from Elephant Island to South Georgia as the rescue voyage in the James Caird by Shackleton and his men.....and in the same voyage sail north towards the equator and a warmer climate and set skysails and stun'sails ready for the lighter tropical sailing.

18th Feb - 11 June 2014 Bark Europa - The Big Voyage: Antarctica and journey home - 111 days - voyage description


Challenging Trans Atlantic Voyage on Sailing Lugger Grayhound

This is the old route home following the North Atlantic current, the same route the trade ships sailed. This is a challenging voyage for those who like the idea of being remote and isolated. The passage is 2165 sea miles and we estimate to spend 20 days at sea and the rest of the voyage relaxing in the beautiful Azores. Crew will be fully involved in the watch system and cooking. This is our longest voyage of the year, perfect for learning to use the sextant, building sea miles or escaping from the world for a month. Because of the length of voyage there are only 5 places available. Crew need to be healthy, fit, active and patient !

Rite of Passage

Crossing the Atlantic is on many experienced sailors hit list as well as the goal of the adventure traveller.  To make the crossing in a three mast lugger is so unique that you many well be the first crew to do it for over 100 years.  Pete Goss sailed from Newlyn to Australia in a two masted lugger called Spirit of Mystery recently - which sounds braver....but then he is famous for slightly challenging epics. Pete Goss was following the footsteps of some brave Cornish fishermen looking for a new life during the Australian Gold Rush, and his boat was built by the same shipwright as Grayhound.

Grayhound Antigua to Azores Voyage Details

Oosterschelde - Azores to Rotterdam

Azores to Rotterdam

This is the final leg in Oosterschelde's circumnavigation. Having spent 5 months away from the crowds in the North Sea, Oosterschelde will once again return to her home port of Rotterdam, and join the 'real world'.

Starting in Horta, in the Azores, she will set off for her last journey to complete her circumnavigation, and although she may well be close to home, this passage will still be an adventure. The Atlantic swell will be with you almost to the very end, only in the last few days, will it ease off as you enter into the North Sea. At this point it will seem very busy for the permanent crew, who will have become used to being alone at sea. 

15 days is a great length of time to get into the rhythmn of blue water sailing. A great way to build up miles, or to test you sea legs with a longer voyage in mind perhaps. The Azores is a lush, beautiful archipelago of islands, host to a myriad of wildlife, flora and fauna. Why not combine this voyage with a walking holiday, or arrive a few days early to explore on foot before going on board. 

Osterschelde azores to Rotterdam Voyage Details

Lifetime Sailing Goals - Are any of these yours ?

Grayhound becalmed2014 is the 100th Anniversary of Shackleton's attempt to cross the Antarctic Peninsula. Sail downwind in the Southern Ocean amongst the icebergs and albatross to South Georgia, following the epic route of Shackleton's desperate rescue bid in open boat 'James Caird' - Check out Bark Europa voyages

Sail a wooden sailing ship in the tropics and maybe sleep on deck under the stars - see Grayhound voyages in Cape Verde and the Caribbean

Cross the roughest stretch of water in the world - Drakes Passage below Cape Horn - Check out Bark Europa voyages

Cross the Atlantic,  tropics and the equator on a ship with stun'sails and skysails - See Bark Europa Ocean wandering voyages

Sail a tall ship down the Antarctic Peninsula to about 65 degrees South - see Bark Europa expeditions

Sail a square rigger in the Arctic Circle & spot polar bears - See Barquentine Antigua voyages

Explore the Arctic on a wooden sailing ship - see our Greenland voyages on Icelandic schooners

Sail up the Caribbean Island Chain on a square rigger that can take able bodied & disabled crew - See Lord Nelson voyages


Talk to the Experts

If you can't find one that fits your dreams then ring us on 01872 580022 as we know what is in the pipeline for future voyages

Full List of all our current Ocean Voyages






One Email every 2 -3 weeks.    Privacy Policy    You can unsubscribe at any time. 

"I have very fond memories of my first, but certainly not my last sailing trip. Your postcard is on my wall next to my skiing posters." Sue, Newbury.

 Jump on Board  



What's your Sailing Ambition?

I would really like to start sailing!

I have sailed a little but want to enjoy lots more!

 I have sailed a lot and love to sail as much as possible!

Pick your Sailing Holiday

E.g., 29/07/2014

Customer Comments

 "Simply Perfect." Bits I enjoyed most - "Vessel/Crew/Area/FOOD" 5 stars for website, b...

"It exceeded expectations in every way. The aspects I enjoyed most was the relaxed approach of James and Becky and g...

I could not let too much time to pass before putting a few thoughts on the website. Have had the most marvellous wee...

Follow us on Facebook

RSS Feeds