So what can you expect when you step on board?
A sail training voyage is more than a holiday – it is an adventurous team activity, and you will be expected to get involved in all aspects of helping to run and live aboard the boat. It is fun, exciting but hard work at times – expect to be challenged physically and mentally, but rewarded by the adventures you will have on board with new friends in the crew.
The first day
After meeting the skipper and mates, your voyage will begin with an introduction to the boats covering safety and other practical issues to do with living on board. Once you have received the safety briefing, tried on your life jacket and learnt how to use your harness, you are ready to go sailing!
During your trip, there will be the opportunity to have a go at everything – very little is ‘out of bounds’ and we want you to learn as much as possible. You will learn how to hoist and trim the sails, as well as take your turn at the helm and as a look out. If you are joining us for a longer voyage, you will work in small teams – known as watches – on a shift rota to keep the boat sailing throughout the day and into the night. Even at night, there is plenty to do, such as watching out for the lights of ships and navigation marks. And then you can top it all off with one of the most magical sailing experiences of all, a sunrise on the open sea.
But it isn’t all about the activities on deck – you will also learn about how we use a mix of modern electronics and traditional techniques to safely navigate during a voyage. Of course, there will also be domestic duties such as preparing meals and keeping the vessel clean and tidy!
Take a tour of the boats >>
There will also be time off to relax on board, perhaps by playing card games with other crew members or reading a book, and time to explore the ports that you visit. Depending on where your voyage takes you, you could find yourself anchored in a creek watching the wildlife, or moored alongside other vessels in a picturesque harbour.
We also try to fit in theory training towards the RYA qualifications; including Start Yachting (which can be completed during a weekend) and Competent Crew (on voyages of five days or more).
Our current fleet consists of Ocean Scout and Offshore Scout; two near-identical, modern 49 foot Oyster ketches. They were purpose-built for us back in 1993 and 1997 respectively; each specifically designed and equipped with sail training in mind. Since their introduction, they have been lovingly maintained and upgraded, meaning that they are in as good condition today as they were all those years ago!
Our vessels are equipped and maintained to a very high standard, with all the required safety equipment to meet and exceed commercial regulations. Each can sail with up to 14 people on board – including 2 or 3 afterguard (instructors) and a maximum of 11 crew, although we normally take slightly smaller crews to provide a bit more space for everyone.
The boats were fitted out specifically with sail training in mind and are comfortable, seaworthy and practical. Sailing the boats is a team effort, and there is plenty on board to keep crew busy. You can get an idea of what the boats are like, inside and out, from the online gallery.