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Ocean Passages - 8 day voyages to several months

Classic Sailing office crew are in love with the beauty and profound experience of open ocean sailing, but we often get asked:" Is it boring ? What will I do ?"

In a nutshell: it gives you time to paint a sunset, mend a sail, follow an albatross, help the cook bake bread, climb higher up the rigging each day, switch to ocean time, breathe deep and take stock of your life.

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Inspire me more

Truly the voyage of the deep-sea sailing ship is a triumph over circumstance, an achievement of the apparently impossible, an adventure, and an outlet for romance in a world in which there exists too few of either" Alan Villiers 1934

Sail the Seven Seas - The Last Wild Frontier

Crossing an ocean on a square rigger are real voyages of discovery...mostly about yourself and fellow crew. It is possible to live ashore comfortably, and dare we say boringly, but you will never know your true strengths and weaknesses, or what you can achieve working with others. Crossing an ocean on a square rigger or a smaller traditional vessel is a challenge and a lifetime ambition you should seize whilst you still can.  With coastal sailing you can run and hide from weather systems. In a big ocean you just have to deal with what comes and have a healthy respect for the power of nature in all its moods.

Aloft on an ocean crossing by Roland Gockel

Lured by Tales from Eric Newby, Irving Johnson and Villiers

What red blooded adventurer could not be stirred by the old black and white photos of the sailors working the last great windjammers, or the movie footage of laden cargo ships sailing around Cape Horn with decks awash.  If you look carefully at some of the photos you will see female sailors too.  In Alan Villiers book 'Cruise of the Conrad' this square rig sailor bought a tall ship to train young men in Australia, but he had more women than men apply to be crew.

Working aloft

Time to Talk, Learn or Reflect

What did civilisation do before TV, Facebook, the internet ? They talked, entertained each other with stories, co-operated with their fellow humans to achieve things, taught each other new skills, read books, shared dreams for the future, set each other challenges, lived in fear and wonder of nature. Without Google you turn to each other and books for information. Let the people onboard surprise you with their in depth knowledge of  very diverse subjects. All our ocean going vessels have a collection of reference and inspirational books on board. 

You establish a routine that is relaxing and comfortable but keeps you occupied. Sailing at night with absolutely no light pollution makes the night sky brilliant. Experience all the seas moods from glassy calms to white capped swells launching flying fish from crest to crest.


GAP Year - Travel the World by Wind Power

If you are taking a GAP year or a career break and want to travel the world, then could you do some or all of it by sailing ship? 

Occasionally our sailing ships embark on circumnavigations around the world where you can do the whole World Voyage or just sign up for a voyage leg. If you are thinking about a Gap year in the future then it is always worth ring us to see what might be in the pipeline.

Other ocean wandering ships within the Classic Sailing fleet have some significant voyages that last more than a month and cross between continents. Whilst you might need a long haul flight to start or finish your voyage, just spending several months without using the car is a significant contribution to reducing climate change. Ocean sailing can be a very ethical way to go between continents - powered by the wind, canvas sails and your human efforts sailing the ship day and night.

South Sea anchorage in the Cook Islands
South Sea anchorage in the Cook Islands


Sailing experiences you might like
Recommended vessels and why

Vessels for Tropical Ocean Sailing

Tall Ships Blue Clipper, Lord Nelson and Oosterschelde are all doing tropical sailing in a climatic zone that also enjoys brisk trade winds. The Canaries are worth considering too if you like warm sailing in winter. They are not quite tropical but the Canaries are often staging posts on the way to the Cape Verde Archipelago, which definitely is tropical and sits off the Gambia, West Africa, bang in the middle of the North East Trade Winds. On the same latitude as Cape Verde is St Lucia in the Caribbean, so you can sail south until the butter melts and head West across the Atlantic on Oosterschelde, Blue Clipper and either Lord Nelson or her sister ship Tenacious.

Oosterschelde on the way to Cuba
Oosterschelde on the way to Cuba

Ocean Sailing on smaller Ships - Grayhound

If you prefer to be part of a smaller crew then Sailing Lugger Grayhound has done an Atlantic Circuit sailing to Madeira, Azores, Cape Verde and the Caribbean in 2013. She is heading back to Madeira and the Azores in 2019.

South Ocean Roller Coasters & Antarctica

Antarctic Voyages involve some impressive ocean passages including sailing in the Roaring 40's, Southern Ocean in the wake of Shackleton, Scotia Sea, Weddell Sea and the infamous Drakes Passage below Cape Horn. The longest Europa Antarctic Expedition is 52 days and 5500 miles.

Arctic Crossings - Icebergs, Polar Bears & Narwhals

Three masted schooner Blue Clipper is making an epic circuit around the Arctic in 2018, stopping in Iceland, Jan Mayen, Svalbard and Lofoten Islands.  Gaff ketch Tecla has made a name for herself sailing to Iceland via the Faroes each summer. She also crosses the iceberg strewn strait to East Greenland to explore Scorseby Sound as soon as the sea ice melts. 

Tecla on the way to Greenland
Tecla on the way to Greenland

Barque Europa - Circuit from Antarctica to South Africa, Europe, South America.

Barque Europa is a classic three masted square rigger with a reputation for ocean wandering, In tropical seas she can really spread her wings with stun'sails and skysails which extend her canvas to an amazing 30 sails. She typically spends summer in the Northern Hemisphere for Tall Ships Races and sails thousands of miles back to the Southern Hemisphere for an Antarctic Summer Season. The warmer voyage legs like Portugal to the Canaries, the Trans Atlantic to Brazil, or returning North from Cape Town involve a lot of traditional ship  maintenance in the warm sun and trade winds.  You don't have to help with  maintenance tasks but you can pick and chose to help the crew who will be setting up skysails, stun'sails for the tropics and the whole range of 'marlinspike' seamanship.

Oosterschelde - Cape Verde - Caribbean


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