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The Best Ocean Passages for Mile Building

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
Tall Ship Tecla
Pelican of London -barquentine
The voyages below are our pick of the best from the next 1-2 years programme, but for an up to date list of all our ocean voyages on a variety of vessels from 8 days upto 79 day voyages see the full schedule.

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 Barque Europa following a trade wind circuit like the sailing cargo windjammers of the 19th Century and early 20th Century.  

Best website for calulating distances of our voyages is but don't forget theses are shortest distances for aircraft flights. Ships under sail have to go round the dry land and zig zag a bit.


Cape Town to the Azores via St Helena and Ascension Island

Sailing between continents is not fast, but you will gain a humility and respect for the sea – our last wild frontier, and appreciate the true scale of the world that you have been exploring. Bark Europa is a self sufficient ship and prides herself on using engines as little as possible. Enjoy the amazing whoosh of the sea down the side of the hull as 300 ton of ship and 50 souls on board are transported by the wind alone to a new continent or remote island outpost. The communities on remote islands like St Helena look forward to our ship visits as much as you do. This combination voyage crosses the equator so if you are new to Neptunes Realm you will have to be initiated and given your own special name from the ocean deep.

Europa Ocean Voyage from Cape Town to Northern Hemisphere - voyage legs, combination voyage price offers, dates

Europa's Captain Klaas Gaastra in Antarctic Sound

Cape Horn to Cape Town - downwind in the Southern Ocean and two Antarctic Expeditions

Approx 5500 miles. Much coverted by experienced tall ship sailors around the world, but achievable by anyone who likes ocean sailing, the famous 52 day 'ANT5' voyage on Barque Europa is one of the best tall ship voyages in the world. Sail accross the Drakes passage past Cape Horn amongst the albatrosses to Antarctica. Enjoy a week exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, and more remote Weddell Sea before sailing downwind in the Southern Ocean 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 sets sail again for Trstan da Cuhna and some warmer sailing to Cape Town.

 55 days including Chilean Fjords, Cape Horn, Antarctic and South Georgia Expedition on Bark Europe - Voyage Details

Oosterschelde under full sail - dont leave me behindMediterranean to Cape Verde via the Canaries - delivery voyage on Schooner Oosterschelde

Approx 2000 nautical miles depending on start port. A proper 3-4 week voyage from Europe, usually Rotterdam, to the Straits of Gibraltar and then 700 miles South with the temperatures getting warmer and warmer, until you reach tropical Cape Verde off The Gambia and Senegal.  This is what the ship calls a delivery voyage so there are few stops, lots of night sailing under the stars and an affordable price tag for some cracking blue water sailing.  The route goes with the Canaries Current and will pick up the NE trade winds which typically blow Force 4-6 - ideal for a 300 ton three masted schooner that once carrried cargoes under sail but now has one of the nicest saloon and ships bar in the fleet (you can enjoy a beer as long as you are not about to go on watch or climb aloft).. 

Ocean Voyages including Cape Verde  on Schooner Oosterschelde - voyage details


snorkel in the carribean on lord nelson tall shipTrans Atlantic, Caribbean Island Hopping and Conservation Work Ashore

Tall ship Pelican of London has some voyage packages designed for those of you planning GAP years or shorter careeer breaks. The guest crew is a happy mix of all ages, some signed up for months, others just for a 10 day voyage like Christmas in the Caribbean.  You can just chose to do the ocean or island hopping voyages, or tag on a 10 days living on the ship but working on consevation projects ashore in the National Parks of St Lucia or Antigua.

Pelican Sailing Schedule - Trans Atlantic & Caribbean - voyage descriptions, dates and prices







Stunsails in the tropics on EuropaEquator Crossing - Europe to Patagonia - Best for stun'sails and skysails

Approx 7510 nautical miles. You could go to university in September, or you could try the 'University of Life' out on the ocean.  We are not saying signing on as crew on a tall ship will be a better alternative to university course, but the Barque Europa crew is truely multi national. They try hard to give you an education in terms of lectures on seamanship, wildlife, ocean currents and meteorology and you will meet people from all walks of life who may give you ideas on where your life might take you next.  Not just for young people, this voyage takes you away from a European winter to the tropics and south America, before plunging you deep into the roaring 40's and ending in the Chliean Fjords. Voyage legs are Hoorn, NL - Lisbon - Canaries - Salvador-Punta Arenas.  If you can do the whole trip there is a substantial DISCOUNT.

8 Sept - 19 Dec 2015 - 100 days on Barque Europa - 4 voyages combined 




Lifetime Sailing Goals - Are any of these yours ?

Grayhound becalmedFollow in the footsteps of polar explorers -  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

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

Explore the Caribbean and Central America 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





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E.g., 27/05/2015

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"I have very fond memories of my first sailing trip, I'll be going again." Sue, Newbury.
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