The Call of the Sea 01872 580022

Sail Training

Photo by Debbie Purser: 17 year old Mickel and 50yr old Gert rig the skysail yard on Europa, 140ft above the deck.

What is Sail Training?

The Difference between 'Informal Sailing Training' and 'Formal Sail Training'

Sail Training has two very different interpretations which causes a lot of confusion in the public mind:

‘Informal Sail Training’ can be simply learning how to sail different sailing vessels and all the nautical skills that go with it. On all Classic Sailing voyages you are technically a trainee and the ships you sail on are classified as Sail Training Ships.  All it means is that part of our remit is to train you as crew, whether you are a novice or master mariner on holiday. We don't take passengers. You are the real crew.

Formal Sail Training’ is also an internationally recognised term to cover the concept of going away to sea on sailing ships to become a better person.  A large number or organisations worldwide believe that a the challenges of living with others in a close community on a boat - with no way of opting out of that microcosm of society – brings out the best in most individuals.  It works for troubled teenagers, but Classic Sailing founders have great faith it works for adults too. The voyages we offer are more adventure holiday than personal development agenda, but sometimes the good effects work by osmosis….

Sailing Training Courses

If you are looking for a new activity or leisure pursuit that will fulfil and fascinate you for a lifetime then learning about sailing is a big enough topic. Understanding how to sail different types of ships and rigs, developing and all the personal and leadership skills needed to cope with the elements and a motivate a motley crew, plus getting your head round traditional and modern navigation will provide goals for many a year.

>>See Classic Sailing webpages on our Sailing training courses and voyages.

Hands on sailing training around the world

If you simply want to dip into the world of traditional sailing and tall ships then we have sailing training on pilot cutters, Brixham sailing trawlers, luggers, historic cargo carrying sailing ships, schooners, brigs, barques and brigantines.  We only have a small fleet of around 15 vessels but collectively they have voyages starting in over 180 ports around the world from Longyearbyen to Sydney.  All are sail training ships with vastly experienced professional crew who enjoy teaching you about sailing and gently stretching you to attempt tasks that you will look back on with pride…

>>See our great fleet of eye catching tall ships and traditional boats

Sail Training with Classic Sailing– the philosophical version

Adam and Debbie Purser founded Classic Sailing after years sailing with sail training charities. We both found a voyage on a tall ship fundamentally changed our outlook on life, and have seen it work for many people of all ages when they are having a mid life crisis. If you are at a stage in your life when running away to sea seems quite appealing, then speak to us on 01872 580022 and we can help find a voyage and vessel crew that might just change your life.

If you are looking for a sail training course for a group for specific personal development outcomes then we have a great range of traditional boats and tall ships that can offer more structured sail training courses for a whole boat charter.  The majority of our skippers have worked in both adventure charter and youth development / adult team building.

>>See our pages on group bookings

American Sail Training Association – sums it all up very well

“For some, sail training offers first time successes. For others, it is a much needed refresher course in life when we find ourselves, for instance, knocking hats off passerby's or staring too long at funeral processions -- which Herman Melville describes as "high time to get to sea" in Moby Dick. For all, sail training offers an absolutely unique experience.
A ship at sea has been described as a microcosm of the planet. Resources are finite, waste must be managed responsibly and success depends on one's ability to work as a team. One quickly learns that many hands lighten a load. In a similar way, so do good shipmates -- those who are focused, considerate, and good humored. There is no place on earth which better illuminates leadership qualities, nor marks the path so clearly towarCrew bonding. Sitting on the boom of Eve of St Mawesd achieving them. The rewards of a smoothly run ship are immediate, obvious and sweetly satisfying. As sailors have said for centuries, take care of your ship and she'll take care of you.

Aboard a sail training vessel, as in life, our small piece is a critical part of the whole. The quality of work, and the spirit in which we do it, has a profound effect on the well-being of everyone else aboard. Leadership, paradoxically, is arrived at by learning to take direction. Becoming a team player. Pulling your share of the load. Being absolutely responsible. Dependable. And, learning to depend on the responsibility of others. For no matter what the particular mission of a ship might be, it is essential that she be safely navigated and handsomely attended.

This is true of the larger world, but in the larger world, the quality of our actions are not so immediately apparent. In our day to day lives, most of us do not have at hand accessible evidence of collisions we've safely avoided, environmental conditions we gained advantage from, or courses accurately steered no matter the conditions. Our actions seem at times to be in a vacuum and feedback is often clouded by other issues. It often takes years to measure the efficacy of our navigation and our ability to "hand, reef and steer" our lives. Nor do we often have the simple yet somehow completely thrilling affirmation of perfectly set sails in a stiff breeze and a ship "with a bone in her teeth." On a sail training vessel, it's right there. Right now.

So no, we don't just teach sailing. Tall Ships America's member vessels and programs foster opportunities for intensive personal development -- intensive life experience in order to advance leadership development, an utter reverence for nature, a sense of time and place, an appreciation for history, and teamwork ability. Sail training really teaches the qualities of stewardship, resourcefulness, pride, humility, bravery, strength and grace. And we learn to sail, too.” ASTA

Sailing Training UK Organisations

The Lobby Group for Sail Training UK is ASTO (Association of Sail Training Organisations). Their main remit is youth sail training and many of the member vessels are large ocean going yachts.  Their sail training courses are typically a week long and each charity organisation can often help with bursaries for young people.

Classic Sailing offers the largest range of sailing training UK if you want to sail on traditional boats with blocks and tackles, be part of our maritime heritage, understand gaff and square rig and experience the thrill of working aloft. We like to think we are the most vocal supporter of Adult Sail Training UK. Age or disability is not a barrier if you prepared to give it a go. We even have two purpose built tall ships designed to allow disabled and able bodied crew of all ages to sail as equals.


Photo: Bessie Ellen can take groups of 12 easily for sail training courses - whatever the aim of the voyage.

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