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Already Hooked - What Next for Intermediate Sailors

Already hooked on sailing? You have come to the right place to discover a lifetime of nautical adventures. We believe there is a lot more to broadening your sailing skills than working your way up the RYA training scheme from Competent Crew to Ocean Yachtmaster.....but we can help you do that too. This page is the tip of the iceberg. There are over 300 voyages to chose from and if that is too overwhelming you can tell us your sailing dreams and we will help you get there. Classic Sailing team are life long sailors that started just like you. We can give you careers advice, give you our 'inside track' on the best vessels to learn a specific skill, or suggest the best tattoo to go with your equator crossing.

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You can sail as crew on an Antarctic Expedition - no selection weekend needed
You can sail as crew on an Antarctic Expedition - no selection weekend needed

What is Next?

Your first offshore passage, braving it aloft, learning to navigate or sailing in more exotic locations?

Once in a Lifetime Voyage ? Unlikely.

Classic Sailing website never uses the term 'once in a lifetime trip' because we are hopelessly in love with our own vessels and destinations so there is always another voyage that appeals (Its a bit like working in a sweetie shop for us!). If you are a keen sailor who has only just got hooked, it may be dawning on you that a great big sailing world is out there...and a community of like minded individuals to share it with. We have news for you. You are only just finding the tip of the iceberg. Even if you have been a salty sailor for years, you may be amazed how much opportunities there out there on traditionally rigged boats and tall ships. 

With our professional crews on board to train you and share the adventure, even an ambitious beginner can jump straight to an Antarctic Expedition or cross an ocean....but there are plenty of memorable voyages and learning experiences to be had in locations closer to home.

Eda Frandsen in the wilds of NW Scotland
Eda Frandsen in the wilds of NW Scotland

Try a New Sailing Ground

We don't grade our voyages in terms of difficulty as the weather can totally change a 3 day weekend break from sublime to a crew bonding epic. However if you do want to progress your sailing in bite sized chunks, there is a logical progression.

A week island hopping in Scotland can be comparable with a short break in Devon or Cornwall in that you can have exciting coastal sailing in day light and can generally find somewhere sheltered and beautiful to anchor for the night. An 8 day East Greenland Expedition on Opal, Hildur or Donna Wood would be offer flat water sailing in the land of the midnight sun.  The location is true wilderness but it is unlikely to make you seasick.

The next level of challenge might be coastal passage making where you have to split into watches as the days are long and there is no escaping the weather until you get to the next port or your final destination. Sailing to the Isles of Scilly, crossing the English Channel or the North Sea or aiming for outposts like St Kilda or Shetland would be another level up again as you are entering the realm of offshore sailing where the land disappears.

Exotic winter sun destinations like Cape Verde, The Caribbean or even the Canaries are not 'coastal sailing with more sunshine'. Once out of the shelter of the islands you could be in big ocean swell or strong trade winds. Lovely, warm, but can be bouncy with plenty of water on deck and spray.

Our Current Sailing Grounds


Cape Verde is hot, windy and wild. Photo by Arthur Smeets
Cape Verde is hot, windy and wild. Schooner Oosterschelde at 10 knots. Photo by Arthur Smeets

Rites of Passage

Not everyone is into setting goals, but we are here to help if you want to:

  • sail with a disability
  • climb the rigging on a tall ship
  • travel between continents by wind power
  • help carry cargoes under sail
  • understand how to set square sails
  • find the right rope
  • Sail amongst the albatrosses
  • maximise your chance of seeing dolphins or whales
  • learn practical navigation skills
  • use a sextant
  • visit a really remote island
  • Sail around Cape Horn, Lands End, Cape Wrath

Tell us your sailing goals  


climbing the futtock shrouds is the hardest part of mast climbing
climbing the futtock shrouds is the hardest part of mast climbing

Career Sailor - Steps on the Ladder

There is a lot more to developing your sailing experience than notching up 2500 miles before you take a Yachtmaster exam.    The gap between a RYA Competent Crew Course and a good pass at day skipper is more than just completing a navigation theory course. Every port you navigate into, every night passage you take charge of the deck, every unfamiliar marina you motor alongside and every crew mix you help to lead will make you a better sailor.  If you have the time then an 8 day mini ocean passage or a 52 day crossing between continents trains you to be self-sufficient and cope with bad weather….and how to pace yourself. 

skills to learn before Day Skipper Practical


navigation in Scotland on Tecla
navigation in Scotland on Tecla

Are you ready for RYA Day Skipper or Higher?

There is much debate on the best way to gain enough skills to take command of a sailing boat.  In our view it is not just about the sailing skills. You need people skills, empathy, humour, respect for the elements, organisational skills ...and leadership.

If you need to fast track to a commercial Yachtmaster qualification then we can help you gain 60 mile offshore passages, and we have a huge number of mile building voyages with plenty of night hours. The classic boats we use for RYA Day Skipper and Yachtmaster Exam preparation are long keeled boats with bowsprits. If you can handle these under sail and power then your colours fly that bit higher.

If you want a more well rounded career path to a paid job or interesting volunteer crew positions, then we can help through well picked sailing experiences that add to your CV. Many of the vessels we work with are run by owner - skippers so they can offer careers advice and have a big network of contacts.

Blue Clipper, Maybe, Grayhound, Leader, Provident all have volunteer deckhand positions that can lead to watch keeping roles, live aboard training placements and ultimately paid positions. There is a shortage of good mates, engineers, cooks and skippers in the traditional sailing and super yacht world.

Sailing Career Advice & Tips    RYA Day Skipper Practical      Volunteer, deckhands and placements

RYA Yachtmaster student Georgia ferry gliding into a tight spot - she passed
RYA Yachtmaster student Georgia ferry gliding into a tight spot - she passed

Experienced Yacht Sailors - Try a Gaffer, Lugger or Square Rigger

If you are a yacht sailor who has just stumbled onto our website, why not just come and try a different type of boat to the one you normally sail.

If you have sailed before then we welcome your experience and we can learn from each other. Our skippers have sailed with many a master mariner, dinghy sailor and even submarine captain's and deep sea pilots as crew!

If you are used to fast racing yachts with fully battened sails and electronics for tactics on deck, don't be deceived into thinking our traditionally rigged sails are primitive. Even on a single masted gaff cutter like Agnes sail balance is crucial and her rig can can take all the North Atlantic can throw at her.

Schooners behave differently from gaff ketches. Add a few yards and square sails on the foremast and you have an excuse to go aloft and the skipper has to make more complex sail choices. Some of our ships have bowsprits with netting that are easy to climb out on. Others resemble a slippery pole and you walk out on wires.

Three masted lugger Grayhound has lug sails without booms but you can hoist topsails and t'gallants above that.

Our tall ships come in a variety of rigs from barques with roller reefing for disabled crews (Lord Nelson and Tenacious), to three masted barques and brigs with stun'sails (Europa and Morgenster). Some of our schooners are steel (Blue Clipper and Oosterschelde) whilst others are made of oak (Opal and Hildur).

See our full fleet of vessels


Pilot Cutter Agnes racing in St Mawes Harbour. Photo Debbie Purser
Pilot Cutter Agnes racing in St Mawes Harbour. Photo Debbie Purser
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Why book with Classic Sailing?

The call of the sea

Destinations for sailors & explorers

Over 300 voyages a year

11, 051 customers introduced to

traditional boats and tall ships.

Tell us your sailing dreams


Office Team of Skippers

6 Times Around the World between Us

Selling Holidays for 22 Years

2 Dogs to make us laugh

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