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Gap Year travelling or career break for adults - Run Away to Sea


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” Mark Twain

GAP Year or Change of LifestyleGap Year Voyages on Tenacious

Taking the plunge and stepping off the treadmill of earning a living or bringing up children is tempting to us all. Who hasn’t looked jealously at school leavers going off travelling before university and wished they could take a GAP year – satisfy some wanderlust and follow a few dreams.

You are not alone in wanting a career break or GAP year.....and it need not be as long as 12 months to rejuvenate you. About one in five of the 200 000 people surveyed who took a gap year were adult professionals. This makes your GAP year travelling very acceptable.
But beware. The experience might change your life.

GAP Years for Adults - It should be Compulsory!

The Prudential did a study into work/life patterns and discovered that 1.4 million of the working population have already taken steps to simplify their lives and a further one million or so 35-54 year olds are making serious plans to ‘downshift’.
Our skippers have listened to many of our sailing customers expressing a wish to change their work – life balance.....but sometimes they need a decent break away from everyday pressures- meeting new people with different values to really believe they can make long term changes.
Typical Gap Year or Career Break Triggers: Do you recognise any of the following feelings: Burn out, guilt at excess and affluence, sensory overload, mid life crisis(es), freedom from responsibilities, retirement, needing new sense of purpose or fulfilment, children flown the nest, retirement, no need to work, shaking out the cobwebs, once in a lifetime goals, can now afford to travel.


Why live on our ships as part of a GAP YEAR ?

Young or old, there are many lifestyle and career reasons to make sailing and living aboard a traditional boat or tall ship part of your itinerary:
Having a whale of a time!
Finding courage to follow a dream? Co-founders of Classic Sailing Adam and Debbie have consistently had to make hard decisions and work long hours to keep Classic Sailing and the vessels we promote prospering, but we followed our dream and have no regrets.  We chose our lifestyle and we call it freedom.
If you have time to cross an ocean then we have several vessels that sail between continents. We have Trans Atlantic voyages both North and South of the Equator, to and from South America and the Caribbean. A month on a tall ship or traditional boat gives a unique time to reflect and talk with people of all ages and nationalities, as well as the challenge of living as part of a close shipboard community sailing one of the last great wildernesses.
Improve your languages by joining our multinational vessels such as Oosterschelde, Bark Europa, Hildur (Greenland) and Antigua (Spitsbergen). Be an informal ambassador for our British boats. Help us talk to the French and other nationalities at maritime festivals like Brest and Douarnenez.
Working with disabled crew - Worthwhile adventure for your CV
The mission statement for tall ships Lord Nelson and Tenacious is to enable disabled and able bodied crew to sail as equals on a square rigger.  These ships are ocean going and do not compromise their itineraries or destinations for an easy life.  They have sailed to thRising to the Challengee Caribbean and the Azores and race in tall ships races The people who come are an amazing mix of ages from young people injured in the armed forces to 70 year old ex ballet dancers, or crew who have been blind from birth but have sailed on the ship so many times they know it better than home.  Lord Nelson was the first tall ship that is accessible to able bodied and disabled crew to sail 40 000 miles around the world....and take a powerful message to the countries that they visited.
Travel around the world under square sail for a minimal carbon footprint. Why not cross continents from Africa to South America as part of your round the world journey? Combine it with conservation or charity work, or other adventurous activities in either continent. Europa crosses the Equator and sails from North to South and back every year. The Southern Hemisphere summer is from December to March so ideal time of year for trekking or wildlife safaris in South Africa or Patagonia – The famous Torres del Paine Mountains or National Park of Terra del Fuego and Cape Horn are close to the finish ports of Ushuaia or Punta Arenas.
 Simplifying your lifeEuropa the Ocean Wanderer
Gain inspiration from those who have already ditched the TV, taken a pay cut, forgotten about a pension, and be happy to do more physical or creative jobs than their qualifications might suggest they should be doing. It is ok to ditch an engineering consultancy to teach sailing in the sun (Skipper Ian), or sand and paint wooden boats for a living with a master’s degree in landscape architecture (Skipper Debbie).We don’t feel we are betraying our professional calling or expensive training –every skill you learn is useful in some way!   BE HAPPY & HEALTHY there is no better way to enjoy your gap year travelling.

'University of the Ocean'

If you have to justify a career break or GAP year then an 'apprenticeship before the mast' like this has a lot going for it. These ships are very self sufficent and the professional crew have a wealth of knowledge you can tap into. Skills range from metal welding to advance meteorology; oceanography to wildlife guiding. Your fellow crew will have come from all walks of life. On Europa trips I have learnt about husky dog sledding, how to tell a fake diamond, what it is like to overwinter on an Antarctic base and how traditional kayaks are constructed from my fellow guest crew. Apart from being on watch and helping sail the ship, you will slowly find the energy to be busy in busy in your off watch too. Both ships have lots of tables and chairs and libraries to work on your own hobbies and projects.

Imagine how easy it is to talk to locals on a remote island when you have travelled their by sailing ship and your own physical efforts. These ships recognise the value of inviting local people aboard where ever they go.

Best Tall Ship Voyages for World Travel & Career Breaks


Picton Castle Round The World Voyage - including The Galapagos and the South Pacific

Barque Europa's Antarctic voyages


Walrus in Spitsbergen


Shorter Voyages in 'Bucket List' Destinations

If your main aim is to see the world, and you are looking for an unusual place to stay then basing yourself on a traditional boat or tall ship has many advenatages, even if you have never sailed before. Firstly all meals and accomodation is included.  You have the company of your fellow crew and a skipper and ships crew as your local guide.  Sailing ships travel ethically through a wild landscape leaving only the ships wake.  Under sail you can see and hear the wildlife and come very close to them in their natural element without threatening them.  As working crew, you feel less like a tourist becuase you have arrived through your own efforts, and communities ashore are often facinated by your mode of transport.
We have plenty of shorter coastal and island hopping voyages which might fit the places on your bucket list:

Career change to sailing ?

Grayhound Sailing Lugger in the Caribbean

Interested in a Sailing Career? Gain RYA qualifications, experience on gaff rigged and square rigged boats. On Eve and AJ we also run mates training voyages and have reduced cost places for voluntary mates on some longer passages like Scillies and Brittany voyages. Our skippers can suggest the best way for you to get the experience you need to find paid work on boats.
Want to work on tall ships or large private yachts?
On the Stavros S Niarchos they run a Tall Ships Academy so you may get recommended to come back as a watch leader or deck hand and work towards STCW 95 qualifications which will help you gain employment on large private yachts or sail training ships. Speak to staff that have come up through many career routes from merchant navy, navy, engineering, catering or yachting background. They can tell you some of the pros and cons of working in this competitive but rewarding industry.
Tall ship deckhand placements

HistoBessie Ellen good for work experience.ric sailing ship Bessie Ellen is sailing in the Canaries and Azores this winter and has voyages around UK and France in the summer. She occasionally has a vacancy for seasonal deckhand (unpaid but all food and accommodation on board provided).

If you can't spare the whole season then we have created some month long deckhand placements with full training on Bessie Ellen at a signicantly reduced weekly voyage fee of  around £200 (normally £699 per week for charter crew). This is hard physical work and involves domestic chores and maintainence on a historic wooden ship.

12 Month Apprenticeship on an Ocean Going Lugger

Alas nothing in this life is free, but this mates training on a unique wooden charter boat will give you huge head start in the industry and the training fee will cover taking your RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exam and you should also have gained enough experience to take your Ocean Yachtmaster too by the end of your year.  Grayhound is a 106ft three mast lugger and will run her first charter season in 2013. Apply now.

Classic Sailing Current Job vacancies - paid and voluntary

See job description and person specification Deckhand for a month


 Continent to Continent by tall ship Europa.

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