A Tall Ships Adventure is a unique hands-on experience. You will become an important part of the yacht’s crew and this involves more than just the sailing – it will include food preparation, maintenance and cleaning.
Our fleet of four 72ft yachts are great fun for everyone whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned sailor. Fast but safe, the Challenger Yachts provide the perfect introduction to big boat sailing.
Each voyage starts with a thorough safety brief before you start your training, which continues throughout your voyage using a combination of practical demonstrations and informative lectures. You are encouraged to get involved with as much as possible while on board and on many voyages you will be able to work towards an RYA qualification. For most voyages you need no previous sailing experience. You will also be issued with a lifejacket and waterproofs for the duration of your voyage and your lifejacket must be worn at all times.
To keep the vessel manned 24 hours a day you will be divided into two watches (teams). Your Watch Leader and other members of the crew will teach you how to do things while you’re on duty and you will get involved with some or all of the following:
- Helming (steering) the vessel
- Setting the sails and adjusting them
- Winding the winches
- Hoisting sails
- Standing watch (looking out for other ships)
- General maintenance on board
- Helping with the vessel leaving and entering port
- Getting involved in Happy Hour (that’s cleaning!)
You will work hard as a team and although it can be tough sometimes, you will always be supported by our Professional Crew and Trained Volunteers. You will be encouraged to participate as much as possible but we won’t make you do anything that you don’t want to. However, we do expect everyone to take their turn in ‘Happy Hour’ which is cleaning your yacht.
Free time and going ashore
You will have plenty of time when you are not on watch to relax and rest. When you enter ports you should be able to explore ashore with a chance to buy souvenirs and stock up on supplies.
All meals on board are included in your voyage fee. You are likely to eat in the Saloon in two sittings depending on your watch and will be required at some point during the voyage to help prepare the food and do some of the washing up! You will be working hard during the voyage though so we will reward you with plenty of delicious food to keep you hunger at bay. You will also be able to help yourself to hot and cold drinks at all times on a self-serve basis.
(We can also cater for special dietary requirements so please let us know about these when booking.)
The yachts are comfortable down below with a big airy saloon (seating area), a well equipped galley and two heads (toilets) with showers. The sleeping area is open plan with snug pipe cots (bunks) and you will be given your own small storage area.
The Challengers can take up to a maximum of 18 crew which is made up as follows:
- Salaried Crew – Skipper (occasionally a fully qualified and experienced Volunteer)
- Volunteer Crew – Mate, 2 Watch Leaders, Youth Mentor
- Voyage Crew – 12 (that’s you)
(Please note not all the salaried and Volunteer Crew positions will be filled on every voyage.)
Typical day onboard
- Wake up early to make the most of the day
- Join friends in the Saloon for a hearty breakfast
- Head up on deck and help prepare the yacht for sea
- Work with the team to hoist the mainsail up the mast
- Wind the winches to trim the sails
- Help prepare lunch and tuck into some pasties and beans
- Have a go at steering the yacht
- Learn to tack (turn) the boat as a team
- Take in the sights along the shore and chat with new found friends onboard
- Help to take the sails down and clean the boat
- Help moor the boat alongside in the port
- Prepare dinner and tuck into a homemade chicken curry
- Jump into your bunk for a well-earned rest!
The Challengers were built in 2000 and raced around the world in the BT Global Challenge. They’re perfect for sail training though as they are very safe and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) gave the yachts the highest rating; they have the safety features, equipment and capability to be sailed anywhere in the world.
The Challengers operate to the highest level of safety procedures and all voyage crew undergo thorough safety training and vessel familiarisation before setting sail. Safety harness, lifejackets and good quality waterproofs are provided. Codes of conduct are also in place and our Permanent/Volunteer Crew will ensure a positive, supportive and encouraging atmosphere on board is maintained throughout the voyage.
What do I need to take?
Download the Tall Ships Challenger Crew Handbook which will tell you everything you need to know.