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Bark Europa - The Big Blue Pacific Programme 2020

pacific crossing on europa

Europa Pacific Sailing Programme 2020 is open for bookings

Barque Europa has put together the best Pacific programme we have seen from a tall ship ever. We like it because they have strung together groups of islands that have been on our own wish list for years.  The route sits pretty much in the SE trade winds all the way so the sailing should be good. The huge choice of individual voyage legs and the reduced prices for those doing more than one leg (see combo voyages) should suit the escape options of most ocean sailing lovers. Our biggest difficulty in the Classic Sailing Office is deciding which legs we want to do!


Leg 1: Sail the Chilean Fjords & hike in the Torres del Paine

Europa has explored the Chilean fjords before but this time she is weaving her way North and deep into the Andes Mountain Range. Enjoy the wild beauty of Puerto Williams, the glaciers, condors and really remote settlements. Puerto Natales is close to the famous granite spires of Torres Del Paine and the intention is to mountain hike with guides in the National Park towards the end of this voyage.

torres del paine in patagonia
Hike in the Torres del Paine with a guide as part of this voyage

Leg 2: Leave the Andes in your Wake and Sail into the Pacific Blue

Leave the Torres del Paine Mountains behind and enjoy the last few miles of fjords and glaciers before you pop out into the Pacific Ocean. The voyage now takes on an ocean passage quality as you head North towards Valparaiso.  You are in prime big whale territory here so find a lofty perch up the mast and look for the tall blow of a blue whale. Sail Europa into Valparaiso - a real sailors port that finds its way into the shanty songs of many nations.

Adam saw Blue Whales on this coastline
Adam saw Blue Whales on this coastline

Leg 3: Pacific Ocean Crossing - Passage to Easter Island

Learn to sail a square rigged ship in the Pacific with Easter Island as your prize at the end. Europa attracts some of the most talented deckhands in the world and they love to pass on their skills. If you want to learn advanced square rig and marlinspike seamanship then this is the ship. Only 56 metres long but with 30 sails there are a lot of pin rains to learn. She has skysails and stun'sails and an impressive library of exploration and wildlife books on board. The life on board is relaxed and no one shouts, but the seamanship is second to none. 

Easter Island Moai
Easter Island Moai

Leg 4: Easter Island to Tahiti via remote Pitcairn Island

Explore the most remote South Pacific Islands on a square rigger. Leave the stone statues on Easter Island in your wake and seek out the elusive island of Pitcairn - last hiding place of the Bounty Mutineers. If the swell allows a landing meet their descendants ashore. Mangareva in the Gambier Archipelago your next landfall. It is 1700km South East of Tahiti so you won't find many tourists here, but it marks the start of a huge swathe of South Pacific island groups to explore by sailing ship. Europa will island hop her way through French Polynesia to her next crew change port in Tahiti.

Leg 5: Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga island groups through to Fiji

Explore in the wake of the Polynesians and learn about how they navigated their outrigger canoes from one island paradise to another by the waves, winds and stars. Ocean Wandering on a square rigger gives you a lofty lookout for navigating the reefs and atolls. You have the benefit of modern navigational equipment and weather forecasting, but the method sailing remains unchanged from when men of war and whaling ships patrolled under blazing sun and colbalt blue skies.

Cook Islands, Samoa, the Kingdom of Tonga through to the extensive archipelago of Fiji sit astride the South East Trade wind belt so Europa will be trying to sail as much as she can.

Soren Larsen tall ship off Suwarrow in the Cook Islands
Soren Larsen tall ship off Suwarrow in the Cook Islands

Leg 6: Polynesia to Melanesia - Fiji island group, Vanuatu and New Caledonia

On a self sufficient square rigger you can explore places tourists seldom see. The islands become more rainforest covered, lush and mountainous as you enter Melanesia. Beachside Villages on stilts merge into the forest and you can still find tribes that have little contact with Westerners in the remote Vanuatu group.

Whilst locals are always pleased to great hard working tall ship sailors, it is easy to imagine a not too distant past of tribal warfare and cannibalism here. Bungee jumping here is still a sometimes fatal test of manhood. Frequently ravaged by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and cyclones the hardy people of the Vanuatu islands, and New Caledonia do their best to pick themselves up and re build.  

Dancing on Asanvari village, Vanuatu island group
Dancing on Asanvari village, Vanuatu island group

Leg 7: Fast Ocean Passage across the Coral Sea to Brisbane

Tall ship sailing in the Coral Sea. Tropical sun, boisterous sea conditions and possibly quite windy. If the South East Trade winds blow true then this should be a fast sail on a beam reach. Europa has plenty of fore and aft sails as well as upto 6 yards on main and foremast to set square sails on. Set the stun'sails if you dare...

Leg 8: Australian Waters - Visit Lord Howe Island and anchor in Tasmania

Say goodbye to the city of Brisbane and set off on a proper ocean adventure in the Tasman Sea. If you have always wanted to sail the famous Bark Europa here is your chance. She is unlikely to be hopping down the coast as she has arranged to visit Lord Howe Island which is 600km off the New South Wales Coast. Ringed by a protecting Coral reef this 7 million year old extinct volcano rises 4km from the sea bed and has many endemic marine species,  and rare corals. It is a great place for hiking and snorkeling. Seabirds in their thousands breed here. 

Leg 9: Coastal Voyage exploring Tasmania, Bass Strait & Mainland Oz

If you are thinking of sailing Europa on an Antarctic Voyage or a long ocean epic, then why not try Europa out on a coastal adventure. The land might be near but that doesn't make it tame. This Australian voyage starts in Hobart, Tasmania at 40 degrees South so the Roaring Forties can make their presence felt. The Bass Strait on the way to Melbourne is legendary too. In between there are great anchorages like Wineglass Bay, Port Arthur, or if you go anticlockwise around 'Van Dieman's Land' you have real Tasmanian wilderness and incredible National Parks.

Tasmania - Tall ship Westwarde Bound off Point Raoul
Tasmania - Tall ship Westwarde Bound off Point Raoul. Photo D Purser

Leg 10: Coastal sail with a bit of edge - Bass Strait to Wild Tasmanian Shores

Bark Europa already had quite an Australian following already as the ship has sailed the West, South and East Coast as far as Sydney before, as well as Tasmania in 2013.

If you live on the Australian mainland and your seafaring spirit cries out for a square rigger that is sailed with daring flair, then this is your chance to try the Dutch barque Europa. English is the working language and full training to participate as the crew is given. Don't leave it too late to book as she has worldwide fame amongst tall ship connoisseurs. 

Leg 11: Cross the Pacific on the edge of the Southern Ocean and round Cape Horn

The opportunity to sail around Cape Horn on a square rigger like the last great sailing ships of the 19th Century does not come around too often, so 'Carpe Diem.' This 5000 mile voyages is in the Roaring Forties all the way. It is going to be a downwind roller coaster with the Westerly low pressure systems and albatrosses going with you. There may be days when you dip far enough into the Southern Ocean to see icebergs. The ship aims to round the Horn and head Northwards to the Falklands and cross the 50 degrees latitude required for an official Cape Horn Rounding. The whole crew can join the exclusive Cape Horners club if you don't use the engine. There are less people in this group than have stood on Everest.

Level of Challenge

It is 12 800 nautical miles across the Pacific on this route, and that is without the sea miles sailing up the Chilean coast from Cape Horn, or the adventures in Australia and Tasmania. Yes, there are more islands involved than your wildest dreams, but there is also a lot of deep ocean blue. These are real hands-on participating adventures where guest crew and professional crew will stand watches and sail the ship together. Like the new emphasis for the Antarctic Adventures, the ship will be looking for a mix of gender, ages and a decent spread of human power to sail the ship. Everyone will need a base level of health and fitness to be able to live on a moving ship for weeks away from 'normal' civilisation

Classic Sailing Pacific Expertise

You can speak to Adam and Debbie in Classic Sailing office if you need help deciding which leg or combination of legs to do.  We have sailed on Europa many times as guest crew and Debbie has worked as a deckhand. Both have sailed in the Chilean Fjords and Adam has been all the way to Peru on Europa. Debbie has sailed around Tasmania and East Coast of Australia and we have stayed in the Cook Islands. In the past we have helped sailors with travel advice to join other tall ships crossing the Pacific. 

Once we have your booking application via Classic Sailing website, if there are no medical issues that need approval we can reserve a place for 7 days so you can check travel arrangement options. 

After 7 days a deposit of 20% is due. Once paid by debit or credit card or bank transfer in euros, then your place is confirmed and you are safe to book flights. (Europa conforms to EU Package Travel Regulations)

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