Ocean Passages - 8 days to 79 days
Crossing an ocean on a square rigger - real voyages of discovery
It is possible to live ashore comfortably, and dare we say boringly, but you will never know your true strengths and weaknesses, or what you can achieve working with others. Crossing an ocean sailing on a square rigger or a smaller traditional sailing boat is a challenge and a lifetime ambition you should seize whilst you still can. It is also a very ethical way to go between continents - powered by the mighty trade winds - as part of your world travel plans.
The beauty of the open ocean sailing
Is it boring ? What will I do ? Paint a sunset, mend a sail, follow an albatross, help the cook bake bread, climb higher up the rigging each day, switch to ocean time, breathe deep and take stock of your life.
What did civilisation do before TV, facebook, the internet ? They talked, entertained each other with stories, co-operated with their fellow humans to achieve things, taught each other new skills, read books, shared dreams for the future, set each other challenges, lived in fear and wonder of nature. Without Google you turn to each other and books for information. Let the people onboard surprise you with their indepth knowledge of very diverse subjects. All our ocean going vessels have a collection of reference and inspirational books on board.
You establish a routine that is relaxing and comfortable but keeps you occupied. Sailing at night with absolutely no light pollution makes the night sky brilliant. Experience all the seas moods from glassy calms to white capped swells launching flying fish from crest to crest.
Am I up to extended offshore or ocean sailing ?
These longer voyages are ideal adventure sailing holidays for the ambitious sailor, world traveller or determined romantic. Some love the physical challenge of being hands on crew, others muck in but their real passion might be ocean bird spotting or just finding time for themselves.
Though no experience is required, you do need to know you enjoy sailing and be reasonably confident about your health and stamina. It can be a long way from the nearest hospital - days rather than hours. These voyages are long and you will be part of a watch system helping sail the ship day and night (typically 4 hours on, 8 hours off type rota). The ship will be in constant motion so things like getting into a top bunk or eating meals at an angle can be hillarious but also exhausting. Sleep is not usually a problem, once you get used to the pleasant concept of naps in the daytime, whilst the ship rushes on through the waves.
Mile Building Voyages
Barque Europa - Circuit from Antarctica to South Africa, Europe, South America.
Barque Europa is a classic three masted square rigger with a reputation for ocean wandering, In tropical seas she can really spread her wings with stun'sails and skysails which extend her canvas to an amazing 30 sails. She typically spends summer in the Northern Hemisphere for Tall Ships Races and sails thousands of miles back to the Southern Hemisphere for an Antarctic Summer Season. The warmer voyage legs like Portugal to the Canaries, the Trans Atlantic to Brazil, or returning North from Cape Town involve a lot of traditional ship maintainence in the warm sun and trade winds. You don't have to help with maintainence tasks but you cabn pick and chose to help the crew who will be setting up skysails, stunsails for the tropics and the whole range of 'marlinspike' seasmanship.
There are usually discounts if you sail on several legs on Europa, so you could spend a substantial part of a career break or GAP year signed on as crew 'before the mast.'
South Ocean Roller Coasters & Antarctica
Antarctic Voyages involve some impressive ocean passages including sailing in the Roaring 40's, Southern Ocean in the wake of Shackleton, Scotia Sea, Weddell Sea and the infamous Drakes Passage below Cape Horn. The longest Europa Antarctic Expedition is 52 days and 5500 miles.
British barque Tenacious is off on another ambitious ocean oydessey this winter. As I write, 10th Nov 2015, Tenacious is already on her way to Antigua, via the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. She will then cruise in the Caribbean, before making passage through the Panama Canal, and make a course for the South Pacific.
Schooner Oosterschelde - Caribbean - Sunshine & Easy Ocean Sailing
Mini Ocean Voyages on tall ship Bessie Ellen
If you really want to be a valuable part of a small, close knit team on the open ocean, then our smallest tall ship Bessie Ellen has a maximum of 12 guest crew. This 1904 hist oric wooden ship once carried cargoes around Europe and Africa and now safety coded for ocean sailing worldwide. A gaff ketch with 4 headsails, she has a more versatile rig than a square rigger to sailing in all wind directions.
If you want a genuine ocean sailing experience without expensive air fares then Bessie Ellen often has shorter ocean passages like Cornwall to Northern Spain accross Biscay, or UK to the Canaries or Azores.
We are always adding more voyages of discovery so please watch our News and Updates for the latest information,
or tell us what you are looking for below and we will e mail you.
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