Tall Ship Bark Europa
Bark Europa – Square Rigger
Bark Europa has a great reputation around the world. Images of her under full sail or anchored in Antarctica have graced many magazines and lured non sailors and experienced seafarers off on epic ocean adventures. Europa is a Dutch ship that flies a European flag and sails with a multi-national crew.
Classic Sailing Office staff Adam and Debbie are not immune to her charms and have been working crew on her for many months in Antarctica, Australia, South America and the Tropics. We can tell you what it is really like to sail on our favourite tall ship so just ring us on 0044 (0)1872 580022.
56m Dutch Barque Europa has sailed the world, doubled the Horn, cruised the Southern Ocean with charter crews, and is well known in ports for sailing in under sail—almost to the dock. This Tall Ship has earned her reputation for piling on the canvas and really sailing. Built in 1911 and completely re rigged as a 3 masted barque in 1986, she follows the trade wind routes to maximise downwind sailing and is equally at home in the roller-coasters of the ‘roaring forties’ or in lighter tropical conditions where she can set an awesome suite of 30 sails.
The working language on board is English but like the tea clippers of old, the cultural mix of guest and professional crew are truly international, so the conversation can get complicated—but never dull.
Warm Ocean Sailing & Square Rig Masterclass
If you are an adventurous spirit sailing for the first time then Europa keeps the romance of sailing alive with a great library, lectures, and enthusiastic crew who can teach a range of topics.
If you are an experienced sailor and want to immerse yourself in square rig seamanship or maybe learn some Astro Navigation, then Europa is a good choice. Approaching equatorial crossings the extra sky-sail masts and yards are sent aloft and the whole crew can easily be kept busy setting the studding sails that few training ships dare rig. The 14 professional crew and guest crew soon become indistinguishable as you learn the ropes, gain a healthy tan and perhaps help out with the ships maintenance.
Stealing the Show at Tall Ships Races
Tall Ships Races are also great opportunities to really push a square rigger. Europa can set 30 sails but this takes a lot of crew action, and everybody needs to keep on their toes as manoeuvring the ship gets quite complicated.
Europa crew rarely shout to get things done, so it appears quite casual - but they are very proud of the ship and like to help you sail it to her full potential. Europa is one of the smaller Class A tall ships but they are always determined to steal the scene and win tall ships race legs (and often do). Over 50% of the crew must be under 25 for tall ships races, so if you think you can show up the energetic young crew, then now is the time to apply for the limited adult berths on these race voyages.
Bark Europa - Antarctic Specialist
The lure of the Antarctic is hard to resist, and for over a decade this tough 330 ton sailing ship has made the long passage down to the southernmost tip of South America. From the Chilean Fjords and Ushuaia, Argentina she runs to run a series of 21 and 52 day sailing expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea and South Georgia. If you want to experience the polar wilderness as Shackleton, de Gerlache and Scott did - then help Tall Ship Europa sail amongst the icebergs. Full instruction from an extremely tough and knowledgeable professional crew and wildlife guides who pull ropes with you too.
These voyages make deep and lasting Impressions on those who sign up before the mast. The sense of wilderness and togetherness you feel as part of the ships company; the teeming wildlife and the extreme weather from sun and lunch on deck to sudden katabatic winds, will stay with you for a lifetime.
Mini Brochures and more pages on Antarctica
We have many more web pages and PDF Antarctic Brochures on what it is like to sail Barque Europa across the Drakes Passage, explore the Antarctic Peninsula, anchor in the South Shetland Isles, dodge icebergs in the Weddell Sea and sit amongst millions of penguins in South Georgia in our destinations section.
More on South Georgia and the Southern Ocean as a destination.
Closer to the Wildlife on a Tall Ship
As square rigger crew you will find it easier to spend more time outside than on an expedition cruise ship. Pulling on ropes keeps you warm, and if the wind is not too strong you can often get away with jumpers on deck. There is still a large warm deckhouse neaby but you are much closer to the action outside if there is an exciting wildlife sighting or evening light over the mountains.
.As you acclimatise to the Antarctic Summer, you are more likely to wander the decks as the sun sets or before breakfast and the wildlife often comes to you. Penguins dive under the ship and acrobatic fur seals perform back flips 'just for you.'
Being on watch gives you a reason to wrap up and spend time out in the elements when you might have otherwise chosen a book. Sighting whales at sea whilst on lookout gets quite competitive, and if they come to play then aloft in the crows nest is a perfect place to take photos. Europa's main deck is only about 2m above the sea so you can get eye ball to eye ball with a Humpback Whale.
In the Wake of the Polar Explorers
If reading the exploits of Shackleton or Captain Scott have lured you to the highest, coldest and driest continent in the world, then sailing around Antarctica on a tall ship will give you a much more authentic and romantic experience than being cocooned on a modern expedition cruise ship. The whole voyage is a team effort of professional and guest crew and much more like a polar expedition voyage that Scott or Shackleton might have run than being a passive passenger. Everybody helps haul the ships boats on deck and your crew mates are relying on you to keep a good look out for icebergs on watch.
Fancy following in the wake of polar explorers ? - then read more about why these voyages really feel like
5500 miles accross the Southern Ocean
If you have dreamt about doing a Trans Atlantic crossing, then Cape Horn to Cape Town is is the ultimate route for a square rigger, but with the Antarctic and South Georgia to explore on the way. The Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties latitudes in the South Atlantic are where the westerlies blow around the world without interruption. If you want to experience the windjammers immortalised by the black and white photos of Newby and Villiers, then Tall Ship Europa is about as close as you can get.. The sailing is awesome but so is the wildlife, so if you are a brave bird watcher, pack your bags and harden up your hands !
Classic Sailing Directors hot tip - this is one of the best tall ship experiences in the world.
Europa Voyage to South Georgia & the Southern Ocean - dates & prices
Bark Europa Captains
Europa has three regular Captains:- Klaas Gaastra, Eric Kesterloo and Harko Lamberts. They generally live on the ship for 3 month blocks. All have sailed Europa for many years, are excellent linguists and have a real love and deep knowledge about square riggers, the marine environment and ocean wildlife.
Wildlife Guides - multi - talented sailors
On the Antarctic Voyages, Europa carries two wildlife guides who are part of the professional crew too. They plan and guide all the zodiac landings, liase with scientists in the Antarctic bases and offer a fantastic lecture programme.
Trip of A Lifetime - Can I Afford It ?
All prices for Europa are fixed in Euros. Payments are in three stages 30% deposit on booking, 30% stage payment one month after booking and 40% balance 12 weeks before sailing.
The ocean voyages are much cheaper than Antarctic Expeditions.
If you book through Classic Sailing we take credit cards, debit cards or bank transfers in pounds or euros.
* For South Georgia voyages the British Government in South Georgia charges a landing fee per person which is not included in the voyage price.
"We travelled between 3 continents under sail, dodged countless icebergs, enjoyed 19 wild anchorages without sight of another vessel, and came home in awe of the vast but fragile ocean and its wildlife."
Jackie, aged 72 from Cape Town.
Whale photo by Roland Gockel.
Captain Klaas. photo by Jordi Plana