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Europa - Ocean Crossings on a Square Rigger

Europa can set Skysails and Stun'sails

Europa Ocean Voyages - The Warmer Voyages

Before Bark Europa became a specialist in Antarctic sailing she sailed the world with sail training crews, following the trade winds and taking part in tall ships races as far afield as Korea and Australia.  She has earned her nick name 'ocean wanderer' over years of sailing around the world and migrating between the North and Southern Hemisphere annually. If you want to experience ocean sailing on a classic square rigger then Europa should be your choice. With 30 sails including a full set of stun sails and skysails and a multi national crew who know how to use them, you can learn a lot about square rig seamanship, ocean weather patterns, wildlife and more on a Europa Ocean voyage. Her home is in the Netherlands, she refits in Cape Town and her annual  season follows a pattern that provides some of the best square rig sailing you could take part in.

Northern Hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere Sailing

Europa's Antarctic Season ends as the snows start to arrive in South Georgia and the ship heads for warmer waters which normally means Cape Town, South Africa.  There are big dry docks in Cape Town so she refits here ready to sail back North up the full length of the Atlantic to Europe for the Summer Tall Ships Races, often via islands like St Helena, Ascension and the Azores.  This creates a series of ocean voyage legs to suit every type of sailor or romantic adventurer.


Sail the ocean blue on a square rigger like Bark Europa
Photo by Debbie Purser: Canaries - Cape Verde - Brazil 2013

Ocean Classroom - learn seamanship and help with ocean research

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.

During the voyage from South Africa to the Azores, Europa crew will not only focus on sail training but also take part in scientific research on the oceans. If you are interested you can help collect data for research on weather observations and on global warming. The warm weather is great for rigging work and outdoor ships maintenance so it is a great voyage leg for anyone thinking about a traditional sailing career, just likes to help the professional crew or who wants to pick up new skills in marlinespike seamanship, or brush up on astro navigation.

Helping with maintenance tasks in the rigging on Europa
Photo Bark Europa Facebook. Helping with maintenance tasks in the rigging on Europa

Cape Town - St Helena - Azores - Norway

In May 2019 join Europa in South Africa. The leg to St Helena begins in the big seas and strong winds off the Cape of Good Hope and enjoys some wild sailing with likely whale encounters, similar to roaring forties but a lot warmer. As the ship moves into the SE trades around the same latitude as Rio de Janerio you have near perfect blue skies, strong breezes and a hopefully a wind on your appear more regularly.The incredibly remote St Helena sits in the trade wind belt, almost in the middle of the South Atlantic. They now have an airport for the first time so you can hop off or join here. 

The leg from St Helena to the Azores takes you through the tropics and across the equator. The temperature of the air and sea keeps going up and the wind gets more fickle.  Europa starts to set her wings with stun sails and sky sails more regularly. This is a voyage leg of contrasts between furious steamy rain squalls and beautiful triopical sun. If you love lots of excuses to go aloft and go walking bare foot on deck or sleeping under the stars high up on the boat deck then this is the voyage for you.  There are air conditioned cabins but the ships camping mats are popular too. Sailing across the line is a real sailors ritual and you will earn your right to wear a turtle tattoo as you change from Greenhorn to Shellback.

St Helena to the Azores would be a great first Ocean passage or something a bit different from those who have already sailed between Europa and the Canaries and want more deep blue.  Azores all the way to Northern Europe is another interesting mix of ocean sailing and back to shipping and coastlines on either side of you.  

Remote Atlantic Islands like St Helena, Tristan Da Cuhna and Ascension love a ship visit
Remote Atlantic Islands like St Helena, Tristan Da Cuhna and Ascension love a ship visit

Autumn Migration to South America 2018

In Sept 2018 Europa waves goodbye to friends in Holland as she sets off again from Scheveningen to Caiscais in Portugal. This is well before equinoxal gale time of year so you can cross the Bay of Biscay in pleasant temperatures, perhaps stopping in Northern Spain.  Close to the edge of the continental shelf this is a brilliant voyage for cetacean spotting as the currents and sea floor changes create an upwelling of plankton and food for fish, whales, dolphins and birds.

Caiscais is on the coast and an attractive and historic seaside town only a short train hop from Lisbon.  A classic mini ocean voyage with cheap flights is to hop on Europa from Portugal to the Canaries.  Sail down the Iberian coast and cross the shipping routes for cargo ships heading for the Straits of Gibraltar. Suddenly you are out in the deep blue ocean without another vessel on the horizon and Europa is free to set t'gallants, royals and maybe sneak out a stunsail or two as she enjoys increasingly pleasant sunshine and blue skies. 

If you want hotter than 'sailing in t shirts and jumpers' weather and really want a deep tan, then the next mini ocean leg is even better as an escape from the European winter. Sail from the well known winter sun climate of the Canaries to the sub tropical archipelago of Cape Verde. You have the trade winds to cool you and plenty of spray on the foredeck if the ship is going fast when you are on lookout. Look out for flying fish, trail a fishing line for wahoo and just chill away from the internet.

Mid ocean swim. Europa hoves to for a dip. Dare to jump off the bowsprit
Mid ocean swim. Europa hoves to for a dip. Dare to jump off the bowsprit

Ocean Wanderer

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.

Change of watch at sunrise. Ocean rhythms on Barque Europa
Change of watch at sunrise. Ocean rhythms on Barque Europa

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