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Ocean Sailing

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Ocean Passages - 10 days to 71 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

The beauty of ocean sailing through the day and night on a reasonably large sailing ship is you can notch up thousands of miles without too much effort, whilst gaining a wealth of experience if you fully immerse yourself in sailing, watch keeping and navigating duties and take time to learn as much as you can from the professional crew.
These ships are all sail training vessels so you are signed on as ships crew, so 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. You may be able to learn aspects of astro navigation with a sextant and in the Pacific on Soren Larsen you can find out how the Polynesians navigated.

Oosterschelde off Cape VerdeThree Tall Ships Around the World 2013 - 2014

An Australian tall ships race in 2014 has encouraged three of our tall ships to embark on an epic Around the World Voyage with many classic ocean passages up for grabs.  For the two Dutch ships Europa and Oosterschelde they are truely following in the footsteps of famous Dutch navigators from Cape Town via Brouwer's Route accross the Indian Ocean, and explore around Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand like Abel Tasman.

British barque Lord Nelson is on an even more ambitious oydessey as she is the first ship designed to allow able bodied and disabled crews to sail as equals and working crew around the world on a square rigger. Lord Nelson will be showcasing what disabled people can do to as many countries as she can, plus spending time on each continent to allow crews from those countries and world travellers to try tall ship sailing through a series of coastal voyages. 

Whilst these three ships are wandering the worlds oceans in 2013 and 2014, you are spoilt for choice for ocean passages....but several legs are full so please ring us.

Compare the Round the World Routes of all three ships - plus Schedules, dates & prices

Express your interest in the world voyage or tell us what sort of ocean passage you are looking for in the enquiry section below and we will keep you upto date with the latest opportunties.

Bark Europa Photo by Lucy HollisBarque 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. Whilst she is off on a Round the World Route in 2013 (places still available on some legs) 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.

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.' 

Barque Europa Ocean voyages  - dates, prices, itineraries


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.


Grayhound - Sailing Lugger & privateer for Trans Atlantic and island hopping

Grayhound ocean sailingThis newly built replica was built to go ocean cruising. She set off on her first ocean Atlantic Circuit in 2013 -14 exploring Madiera, Canaries, Cape Verde, a classic trade wind passage to the Caribbean and a series of voyages throughout the Caribbean Sea. She returns trans Atlantic in the spring 2014 via the Azores.Three masted lugger Grayhound will be back in the UK for a short summer season in 2014 before she sets off again on her second Atlantic Circuit with island hopping, mountain walking, surfing and snorkelling on route.  In 2015 once in the Caribbean, she may carry on into the Pacific via the Panama Canal. You don't have to 'sell up and sail' to experience cruising on a family lugger. 

This is a good sized vessel to learn Astro Nav on as both Marcus and Freya love teaching sextant skills on the longer voyages. There are potential berths for anyone wanting to gain their RYA Ocean Yachtmaster qualifying passage but you will need to sail as a watch leader at least so do ring us for details and book early.

Grayhound Ocean and Islands Sailing Schedule - dates & prices

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 historic 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 a 700 mile blue water passage between the Canaries and Azores, as well as an epic trip back to Cornwall from the Azores again each spring. In winter 2013-14 Bessie Ellen is having a well earned refit after 11 months sailing, but is off to the Hebrides and Faroes this summer will be back in the Canaries or similar next winter.

Bessie Ellen ocean passages schedule 


Schooner Oosterschelde - Cape Verde & Ocean Sailing

Impressive three masted schooner Oosterschelde has just sailed around the world with charter guests.  She still has some epic voyages in Antarctica and long ocean passages back from South America to Europe via Acension. Normally Oosterschelde spends each European winter in the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa. On the same latitude as St Lucia, this 'off the beaten track' destination has strong trade winds, tropical sun, hardly ever rains and 9 very different islands to explore.  The passages between the windward and leeward group are no longer than 150 miles but a perfect taste of ocean style sailing with flying fish, turtles, and steering at night in shorts.

Oosterschelde - Next winter season schedule 



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.


photo from aloft by Debbie Purser. Christmas in Cape Verde on Oosterschelde

Charter Sailing in Cape Verde on Oosterschelde




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