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5000 mile Ocean Passage from Cape Town to the Azores - aiming for St Helena and Ascension

A classic ocean passage from the giant rollers off Cape Town, though brisk trade winds, equatorial calms, tropical squalls and starry nights, this is a voyage for a true sailor. 54 days and 5000 miles of empty ocean, save for the albatrosses, whales and remote island communities like St Helena and Ascension Island. If you have never crossed the equator on a sailing ship you will have to ask Neptune's permission, but once you make the step from greenhorn to shellback there is no disputing you are an ocean sailor and your have earned a turtle tattoo. The Azores has been a staging post for centuries and Horta is the traditional place to stop and draw your ship on the harbour wall. 

Embark
Fri, 03-04-2020 - 18:00
Cape Town
Disembark
Tue, 26-05-2020 - 10:00
Horta, Azores
Duration
54 Days
Vessel
Tecla
Voyage No.
TC-030420

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 2 Berth Ensuite Cabin Per person. AVAILABILITY: Available. PRICE: 4,320 EUR. BOOK NOW

Tecla - Cape Town to Azores

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR...

Those wanting to appreciate the immensity of an ocean and travel the world by wind power and your own efforts. True sailors who feel the call of the ocean and like the routine of watch keeping and relaxing on a medium sized tall ship with only 4 professional crew and 12 guests. By the end of your 5000 miles you will have gained more sailing experience than some leisure sailors do in a lifetime. It helps to have projects on mind to keep yourself busy, whether it be musical instruments, identifying seabirds or cetaceans, writing or helping the crew with maintainenence. If you like to collect remote island passport stamps then this voyage might notch up St Helena and Ascension if the swell is low enough to land.

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Look out for fairy penguins and albatross off South Africa
  • SE trade wind sailing towards Brazil
  • Possible landing on St Helena & Ascension
  • 5000 miles of ocean experience
  • Great voyage to practice astro nav
  • Digital dettox - no phone signal or email
  • Green Transport - travel the world by sailing ship
  • Huge range of wind belts and climatic zones in one voyage

 

professional crew rigging a watersail
professional crew rigging a watersail

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

There are few places in the world where you can spend weeks without sighting other human beings, and oceans like this are the last wild frontier. Every day something remarkable will happen. It might be a sky or a sunset, your room mate washing their sandals, or a small bird hitching a lift. Tolerance and helping each other become second nature when you cant get off and you may make friends for life. The world will seem very noisy when you return to land.Learn about the ocean, stop the ship for a swim in the deep blue or watch an albatross dynamic soaring with its wingtips almost touching the waves.


On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.

terns hitching a lift
terns hitching a lift

Cape Town & Table Mountain

The Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town buzzes with Zulu dancers, fish and seafood restuarants, boat trip sellers and sailors rub shoulders with travellers from all over the world. If you have time to spend a few days here before joining there are some amazing short treks, train journeys, wine vineyards, township tours. Robben Island when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned is well worth a visit. Even after you join, We are pretty sure the Tecla crew will want to make a trek to the summit of Table Mountain before you sail.

There are sea lions in the harbour and fairy penguins on the coast. As you sail out of Cape Town and away from the protection of the harbour wall it is nearly always windy but the backdrop behind you is a panorama you will never forget. Remember the winds and waves that reach South Africa have come from Brazil or perhaps all the way around the bottom of the Atlantic via Cape Horn. The seas here can be some of the biggest in the world, but at least its warm....and you are likely to have albatrosses with you until your reach more Northerly latitudes.

The night skies are still Southern Hemisphere so have fun identifying the Southern Cross and a few upside down constellations. Once every on gets settled into watch keeping and the motion thn its interesting to try and use a sextant, help the cook bake bread or learn about each stretch of ocean. Tecla has a library heavily orientated towards the great explorers, wildlife and unusual travel quests so you can turn your voyage into a educational opportunity if you wish.

Cape Town - and the local wind called the Cape Doctor
Cape Town - and the local wind called the Cape Doctor

 

The Route - Using the Wind Belts

Tecla will follow a classic S shaped course as she uses the predominant winds. From Cape Town the Westerlies will hold your speeds at exciting levels for a bit, and the Skeleton Coast of South Africa and Namibia is not one to get too close to. You may swing towards Brazil with the South East Trades and this takes you towards St Helena, a tiny spec in the ocean.

What Wildlife Might I see

Around Cape Town latitude Cape Gannet, White-breasted Cormorant, Swift Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern and out into the ocean fanatic soaring birds like Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel,White-chinned Petrel, Cory's Shearwater,Sooty Shearwater, European Storm Petrel. In the sea Sperm Whale and Cape Fur Seals  and possibly African Penguin ranging quite far from land or Atlantic Blue Shark.

St Helena has evolved a unique biological diversity due to its remoteness. There are over 500 endemic species of flora and fauna discovered on the island. The ocean waters surrounding the island host coral reefs and walls home to marine wildlife found nowhere else in the world. As far as the locals wildlife tour operators are concerned - St Helena is the Galapagos of the Atlantic in terms of unique creatures. You might need to enlist the help of a St Helena guide to get to some areas or go for a dive. Hawksbill turtles, devil rays and tropical fish can be found around St Helena.Masked boobies, red-billed tropicbirds and fairy terns migrating across the Atlantic ocean to nest on the coastal cliffs. 

Ascension Island has the largest green turtle population in the tropical Atlantic.

The Azores is a well known hotspot for cetaceans and on the migration highway for many big whale species. see our destination pages on the Azores for more detail

Azores as  destination

 

albatross - the ocean is their domain

South East Trades toward Brazil

Tecla has crossed many oceans. She is a Dutch historic ship but she was build for deep sea herring drifting so she is not flat bottomed and has an elegant and fast underwater hull shape. Tecla has won many tall ship races so you will get some thrilling rides. Her working gaff sails are incredibly tough canvas and you can set lighter jackyard topsails if the wind is light. Her crew have sailed around the world once on her and are part the way around again, so you can ask them about many things. This is a family owned ship. Skippers Gijs and Jet are brother and sister and have worked on other tall ships too.

Tecla crossing an ocean

St Helena - Napoleon can't Escape from Here

For centuries landing here was infrequent and by ship. It was about the most remote place the British could think to imprison the French emperor Napoleon. A new airport has opened recently but it is somewhat dangerous and remained closed for quite a bit after completion. The sense of a very unique British ruled community is still very obvious - a bit like on Tristan Da Cuhna. The locals are very proud of their island so if you get to land its pretty special. The ocean swell wraps itself around this small volcanic seamount so if it is too big then the ship will not be able to stop.

Ascension - Turtles & the RAF

Famous for green turtles breeding on the many beaches and a very big runway. My brother was in the RAF and he loves this island. The climate is tropical with nice beaches so you can swim and put your feet on the seabed for a change. As with all ocean voyages everyone looks forward to island stops but nothing on the ocean is guarenteed.

Tropical Nights, Neptune and Steamy Hot Equator

The sailing either side of the equator is hot and the sea becomes so warm and salty it is no longer refreshing to swim in. The sea seems lifeless and the only punctuation are the sudden rain squalls from the build up of heat. You can usually see them coming by the towering clouds or radar contact showing a torrential downpour. 

The tropical night is more of a treat. Darkness comes quickly, the sun just drops towards the horizon and the stars in the inky dark are amazing. On deck in the breeze is often the place to sleep.

Finding ways to stay cool on Tecla round the world voyage with young crew
Finding ways to stay cool on Tecla round the world voyage with young crew

South East Trades Towards the Azores

At last the winds and refreshing blue seas come back....and the wildlife with it, as you move into the North East Trade winds. lines of clouds in the afternoon make great streets in the sky and awesome sunsets. Much more interesting than a boiling sun in a cloudless sky.

Horta & Peter Sport Cafe

On the Azores the Tecla will be aiming for Horta on the island Faial. Horta is THE place to be for sailors who have crossed an ocean. And you will be one of the few there who have actually crossed two! Most of the sailors there are heading back from the Caribbean and most of them meet in the bar called Peter Sport, just opposite the harbor. 

HANDS ON HOLIDAYS

Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.

SAILING STYLE & LIFE ON BOARD

We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.

topsails in action on Tecla
topsails in action on Tecla

Red White and Blue - Ocean Watches

The Tecla works with a three watch schedule, this means you will be on watch for 4 hours, have 8 hours of watch and then again you will be on watch for 4 hours. So within 24 hours you will be on watch for 8 hours.

The watches are divided into the Red, White and Blue watch.

Red: 00:00 – 04:00 and 12:00 – 16:00 hours

White: 04:00 – 08:00 and 16:00 – 20:00 hours

Blue: 08:00 – 12:00 and 20:00 – 24:00 hours

Each watch has a watch leader, one of the permanent crew. The crew will give you instructions during your watch. For example: your first watch might be filled with instructions on what watch keeping is. You will be told what is expected and you will be informed about the navigational equipment on board. 

Next watch you will get more confident in steering the vessel on your own and the longer the watches will continue, the more you will learn. 

Watch keeping means being out on deck, awake and helping out where is necessary. You will sit on the aft relaxing, being on the lookout or with bad visibility you will be on the front of the Tecla on the lookout. You will be steering the vessel in turns. Getting grip of where the ship is going and feeling that you are doing that! Three watches means that the watches are never bigger than 6 people. 

For the comfort of all those on board there is a schedule and we will try and stick to it. While watches are in progress, breakfast will be at 08:00h, lunch will be at 12:00h and dinner at 18:00h. In between there will be tea, coffee and some snack. Hot ones if the weather is bad! 

Tecla at anchor in the mist
Tecla at anchor in the mist

AGILITY & FITNESS

Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks but there will be a bar for drinks off watch
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs

 

 

Cape Town, South Africa

Latest port updates

For vessels using Cape Town, it is likely you will be joining your ship in the Victoria and Albert docks area. 

Any changes will be communicated to you before your voyage start date. Make sure you make a note of the ship's number found in your confirmation email in case of any problems on the day.

Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a victualling station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, as such Cape Town is a very historic port of call for a ship such as Europa. Cape Town has continued to be a classic stopping point for many ocean wanderers, from tall ships to modern race boats and commercial shipping.  It is now the Provincial Capital of the Western Cape and the second most populous city in South Africa. Legal tender is the Rand and most major credit cards are accepted throughout.

How to get here

Air & transfers

Cape Town International Airport serves both domestic and international flights. It is the second-largest airport in South Africa and serves as a major gateway for travellers to the Cape region.

Email: classic.sailing@flightcentre.co.uk

Phone: 0800 188 4533 for personal advice.

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Beaches for Surfing & Kite Surfing

Cape Town is a mecca for kite surfing due to the windy South Easterly 'Cape Doctor' which blows between the mountains and is usually a welcome 'breath of fresh air' when the city is getting  too hot. 

Table Mountain - Hike or Cable Car ?

You must find time to go up Table Mountain if is not covered in its 'tablecloth' of cloud. You can hike up or take the cable car.  Uncover the Cape is a good website for walking hikes in the Cape Town area.

Victoria & Albert Docks

It is likely you will be joining or leaving your ship in this historic dock complex which has been transformed into a buzzing waterside playground of restaurants, shops, hotels, street entertainers and boat trip jetties.  You can book day trips out to Robben Island when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned or simply enjoy one of south Africa's chilled white wines whilst watching the antics of the sea lions in the harbour. Like most tourist honey spots, watch your wallet pockets as there are many wonderful distractions.

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’ http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/travel-insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

Horta, Azores

Latest port updates

The ships exact location in port is often controlled by the port authorities and they will only allocate a docking position a few days before. 

Any changes will be communicated to you before your voyage start date. Make sure you make a note of the ship's number found in your confirmation email in case of any problems on the day.

Horta harbour is approximately 10km from the airport on the island of Faial, Azores.

How to get here

Air & transfers

Horta Airport (HOR) on Faial is the airport to fly into, to join our voyages in The Azores. Regular flights link Lisbon to Faial and flights take about 2 hours. SATA, the regional airline, flies daily to Horta from S. Miguel and Terceira.

Getting Around

Horta is also a port of call for a ship that carries passengers and cargo between the Portuguese mainland and the islands. Rental cars, taxis and local bus lines are all options for getting around the island. The main bus stop in Horta is at Avenida Marginal. Minibuses cover the central area of Horta.

We would recommend taking a taxi to the harbour, and would advise that you fix the price before you depart. That way there won't be any surprises.

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Horta is used by transatlantic sailors as a good safe place to break their journey. This is reflected in the cosmopolitan feel to the town, and the many paintings that are now infamous in and around the harbour.

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’ http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Top Sail Sailing Insurance

We are pleased to advise that Topsail Insurance Ltd offer Tall Ships Travel Insurance Policies with security provided by Canopius Underwriting Limited on behalf of Syndicate 4444 at Lloyd’s of London.

Topsail’s policies are tailor-made for tall ship holidays, whether pilot cutter, ketch, lugger or tall ship, and have no restrictions as to how far offshore you can sail including Antarctica. 

Link to Topsail Insurance

 

Tecla

Tecla has circumnavigated the globe, sailed around Cape Horn, won numerous tall ships races, and is now carving her name as a great expedition ship. At 127ft overall she has the live-aboard comfort of a tall ship but with only 12 guest crew it feels more like a shared adventure with the multinational professional crew.  Tecla's sailing programme is always bold, often in the wake of famous explorers and always with a love for wild nature. She is an original Dutch herring drifter built in 1915 to fish the North Seas under sail.

Statistics

 

  • Length overall: 127ft (38.00m)
  • Length on deck: 90ft (27.00m)

 

  • Year built: 1915
  • Vessel type/rig: Gaff Ketch

 

  • Guest berths: 12
  • Crew berths: 4

 

 

Tecla exploring the wild coast of Iceland

What Tecla Does Best

Pushing the Frontiers of Adventure Charter Holidays

Tecla is only 90 feet long on deck, but she punches above her weight in terms of adventurous sailing programmes. She is really hooked on sailing in the Arctic and all the exploration history associated with it. After a couple of seasons sailing in East Greenland she is following the pack ice down this virtually uninhabited coast to Cape Farewell and around the corner to West Greenland as far as Disko Bay. This will put her into position to be the first tall ship to make an attempt on the North West Passage (dates soon) through to the Pacific and beyond. Make sure you sign up for our e newsletters (see footer at bottom of the page) to recieve the details as soon as they are released.

Tecla amongst the ice in Greenland
Tecla amongst the ice in Greenland

Pioneered Coastal Sailing Around Iceland

Tecla are as close to being our Iceland coastal sailing specialists as you can be without actually being an Viking. They have invested 3 whole summers into creating and proving their iconic voyages around the West and North coast which all include a chance to enjoy the NW Fjords and the mighty Hornstrandir cliffs and National Park. Sailing along this wild coast for leisure and adventure in Iceland is something fishermen do all year around, but is not particularly common amongst Icelanders and we think they are really missing a trick. The West Coast and NW Fjords are where where the Viking's settled as there were fjords, anchorages, huge seabird populations and rich meadows.

Tecla is a homely ship because for 12 months a year she is the family home. The saloon and galley is the warm heart of the ship below decks, but you also have en suite cabins with hot showers and radiators. When the sun is out there is 90ft of deck space to curl up with a book or journal. With a guest crew of 12, exploration ashore can be as physical as you want: Whether you prefer beach-combing at sea level, or climbing with the more energetic to the highest sea cliffs. Gijs is Tecla's main skipper in the summer and loves hill walking and mountaineering is irrepressible when it comes to exploring ashore.

The North Coast of Iceland is one of the most reliable places in Northern Europe for whale watching, especially if you want the chance to see larger species like blue whale, humpbacks, . Don't just take Tecla's, or our word for it....see the statistics for North Sailing Whale watching day trips in Skaljfandi Bay . Just think how much more wildlife encounters can be possible a longer Icelandic sailing voyage.

Whale sighting from Tecla in Iceland from guest crew Maria Cerrudo
Whale sighting from Tecla in Iceland from guest crew Maria Cerrudo

Wanderlust in the Wake of Great Explorers

The Tecla crew are an energetic bunch. The owner-skippers are ‘up for adventure’ and their sailing programme really reflects that ambition. This is not a tall ship that sits on its laurels. Skippers and siblings Gijs and Jet, research their destinations well, and have a great sense of history and place. The library on board reflects their constant wanderlust, but they also like to really get to know a cruising ground. Their parents, former skippers Janette and Jan, keep a steady hand on the tiller back at base, or you can find them occasionally on board. They have two ships dogs which can join them in some countries.

After carving a name for herself as a winning contender at tall ships races (read about her tall ship victories), she undertook a world voyage with charter crews in 2013-14. Tecla has been island hopping in Cape Verde; explored the Brazilian coast; crossed the South Atlantic to Cape Town. Sailing in company with her bigger companions Europa and Oosterschelde she not only kept up with these ocean going tall ships, but was frequently ahead of them.

Charter crews went looking for the 'Sardine Run' off Mauritius, crossed the Indian Ocean to Australia and took part in a tall ships race from Sydney to New Zealand.  Tecla braved the Southern Ocean, crossing the South Pacific and Rounding Cape Horn, so she proved she was a tough ship, and fast enough to keep up with and often beat her bigger companions Europa and Oosterschelde.

Sailing Expeditions 2018 climbing high in the Faroes with the Tecla Crew

Experienced Ice Pilots

In the winter, Skipper Gijs has sailed as mate on square rigger Europa in Antarctica and South Georgia, and makes no secret about his fondness for high latitudes and wild places. Sailing the iceberg strewn waters of the Weddell Sea and navigating a square rigger in the broken sea ice, fog and blizzards around the Antarctic Peninsula have hugely added to Gijs's ice pilotage experience.

Landing crews by zodiac in remote Antarctic locations with potentially dangerous wildlife is another useful skill he has brought back to his Tecla Arctic Expeditions. The ocean passage between Iceland and Greenland Scorseby Sound brings different pilotage problems. Gijs has run three summer season in high latitudes and added the Denmark Strait, East Greenland Coast and Scorseby Sound to his ice pilot experience. Navigating through the icebergs and sea ice as it breaks up and drifts down the Greenland East Coast requires a certain patience, experience and respect for the elements.

Another added bonus is that Gijs has worked with some of the best polar wildlife guides with Arctic and Antarctic expertise, and he is well read in historic and contemporary polar exploration journals and wildlife conservation.

Greenland sailing on tall ship Tecla
Tecla on the way to East Greenland

 

 

Style of Sailing

Tecla is very much an adventure charter ship so the style of sailing is 'hands on' but her well trained staff recognise that her expedition style voyages attract all types and ages of guest crew. Whether you are a keen traditional sailor who want to learn all the ropes, a bird watcher or a sea lover who just wants to experience a romantic way of travelling, you can all feel part of this little ships community and do what you can manage to help sail the ship and contribute to life on board. She originally sailed with 16 but now prefers to keep guest crew numbers to only 12, so you find the ship pretty spacious. She is about the same length on deck as Irene.

Tecla does some big trips with fairly small professional crew of four for the size of the vessel, so there is more expectation for everybody to help sail the ship on these offshore voyages. Guest crew will be divided into groups called watches and on a passage there will be a watch keeping routine. Watch keeping means that when it is your turn to be on watch you will need to be out on deck trimming sails, steering and helping navigate if that is your interest. You will always have the skipper or mate with you as the watch leader, so they is plenty you can learn, and its a great time to get a bit more individual attention, sailing tuition or if the sailing is straight forward, put the world to rights. It means the other watch team can relax on deck or below decks. knowing you are concentrating on getting the best out of the ship, and notching up the miles towards your next destination, day or night.

On a fore and aft rigged ketch there is more sail trimming, tacking and gybing than you might find on a square rigger, so at times on watch you may be very busy. 

Most of the deck layout of the Tecla has been kept in a traditional style from her days as a herring drifter and then cargo ship. On deck you will find traditional details like dead-eyes rather than bottlescrews, and a lot of wood work. Sails are set by hand, a big part of the electricity used on board is generated by the dynamo on the propeller.

Tecla has a tough riveted steel hull and a lot of sail so she is both powerful and lively to sail. She has a decent sized RIB (check type) for trips ashore. . 

 

Learn to steer a gaff ketch on holiday. Tecla has a big ships wheel

Life on Board

The saloon is a nice place to socialise and relax below decks.  Upholstered seating and a large library of exploration and wildlife books in several languages add to the homely feel and a radiator keeps things warm, as does the galley area opposite.  You can chat to the cook, but don't try pinching the cakes till they are ready.  

There are two person cabins with cozy duvets and linen provided. The cabins have heating (radiators) and a huge amount of headroom. You can latch the door open for more air in hotter climes and there is an opening porthole for natural light. All cabins have a toilet (that doesn't need any pumping!) and a shower en-suite.

Read more about the accommodation below.

Gijs and Jets mum Janette is often the cook on board, when she is not running the sailing business from home.  On some trips the family dogs might be on board, but it depends a bit on the shore-side regulations.

All the family speak good English and the working language on board is English. Some special diets can be catered for, but many of Tecla's voyages are 3 weeks away from provisioning ports and sailing in remote areas with no human habitation or fresh food shops so they cannot accept those who require a strict vegan diet.

Voyages in places like Greenland or even NW Iceland are a long way from any hospital, so you do need to be in good health for these voyages.

Life on board Tecla is a mix of active sailing holiday and exploring ashore

Accommodation on Tecla

Accommodation down below on tall ship Tecla
Tecla Saloon and a library to feed the explorer in all of us

Below Decks Accommodation

The companionway steps dive down to the living accommodation quite a long way, so there is ample headroom for taller sailors. There is a main corridor that all the cabins lead off from. At the far end is the galley and saloon. the professional crew have separate accommodation at the stern of the ship (aft).

Two person en suite cabins with heating

Each two berth cabin is has heated with a radiator and there is an en-suite toilet and shower room with hot and cold water in every cabin.   In the cabin itself you will find a simple basin and tap and mirror. Your bed will be either the higher or the lower bunk. All beds are over 80cm wide and 2 meters long. Each bed has a reading light for the evening hours. Your clothing can be stored in cupboard and your bag or suitcase can be stored under the bed.

Tecla cabins have heating and en suite shower wc

Saloon and Galley

The heart of the ship on Tecla is the saloon.  The galley is open plan in the same room as the saloon, so its a very warm social space. There is a big saloon table and seating with cushions all around. On the other side of the room is more seating and tables for meals or for writing journals and hobbies.  Tecla has a ships library full of books that will bring out the explorer in you. Many of the books are in English and there are some great 'coffee table' style books about nautical adventures.

Tecla's crew  love to read up about their sailing destinations whether it is Icelandic sagas or boat building in the Orkneys, so if you run out of your own novels there is plenty to dip into.

Laundry on longer trips is normally divided by cabin, one cabin at a time so easy to sort if a sock strays!

Tecla interior - saloon
Tecla interior - main saloon table

 

Ships Dogs

The Tecla family have two ships dogs who are sometimes on board, if regulations permit. Generally they are at home in Holland.

Tecla's Ships dog Sadie enjoying walkies on Skye.
Ships dog Sadie enjoying walkies on Skye.

 

Tecla - Ship Specification

Photo by Howard Gear - Tecla from the air
Photo by Howard Gear - Tecla from the air

Worldwide Operating Licence

Tecla is equipped to sail the world’s seas and holds all the safety certificates required by Dutch Law. She carries 4-5 professional crew. As you are part of the guest crew you also will be fully trained in some aspects of emergency procedures.

 

vessel type - gaff ketch    
year built 1915 Winkel, NL
length overall 124ft 38m
length on deck 90ft 27m
beam 22ft 6.55m
draft   2.7m
sail area   370 sq m
tonnage 92  
guest crew overnight 12  
professional crew 5  

 

Tecla has a riveted steel hull and deck with watertight bulkheads. She has a fantastic underwater hull shape for deep water sailing. She is a fast ship and has won many awards at Tall Ships Races. When she sailed around the world and all the way to Australia in company with larger Dutch tall ships Europa and Oosterschelde she was more than capable of keeping up with them despite their longer waterlines. Quite often ahead of them!

Sails & Spars

The bowsprit is huge but fully retractable in a few minutes for small harbours.

She has 3 sizes of flying jib, a fore staysail with a sheet on a sliding bar. The main and mizzen are very heavy canvas and gaff rigged. They can be reefed. There is also a storm tri-sail. The topsails are jackyard topsails so you hoist the sail and an extra mast (or jackyard) extending both mizzen and main mast. This is quite an exciting sail hoist and also fun coming down.

Shaft Generator for Carbon Free Electricity

When sailing Tecla can charge her batteries without the diesel generator as the movement through the water spins her propeller and a shaft generator captures the free energy.

Tecla has a normal generator too, but there is no need to have it running all the time. 

Water makers and Radiators

Tecla can make fresh water from sea water which enables her to go on long expeditions. She has big water tanks too.

Navigation & Communications

Tecla has Sat C communications plus saterlite phone for Greenland Expeditions

She also has VHF for coastal and HF long range radio. 

For the NW Passage she will carry a Yellow Brick Tracking device so your friends and family can track the ship.

You can currently follow her on Marine Traffic App as she has an AIS transmitting her position, spread, status etc.

We will give customers fuller information in 2019 as she will be updating some of her equipment for her NW Passage and Antarctic seasons in 2019-20

Gijs - Captain on the Tecla
Gijs - Captain on the Tecla

Tecla - a Family of Captains!

Skippers are Jan, Jet, Janet and Gijs, all one family but two generations!  Don't worry. They take it in turns to be in charge!

Together the Sluik family of Jan, Jannette, Gijs and Jet, muster a large number of years of traditional charter sailing experience and invite everybody to join them aboard to be a part of the history of Tecla. 

The Tecla crew consists of three or four permanent professional sailors. This crew is partially made up of the family and completed with some dedicated sailors that we have met around the world.

The crew give their heart and live to sailing the Tecla and can show all the tricks of trimming the sail to the fullest and teach anybody how to bake some amazing homemade bread.

Gijs -Captain of the Tecla.

Gijs shares the command of Tecla with his sister Jet.

Gijs started sailing when he was a young boy. Professionally he started sailing in 2001 as deckhand on the Aagtje, Eenhoorn and later Stad Amsterdam. He worked on the Stad Amsterdam as deckhand, quartermaster and third mate over a period of 3 years.

After that his full attention was directed to the Tecla, where he has been the full time captain for several years. Gijs has a passion for fast sailing, he is devoted to the Tecla and loves working on her deck as well as in the chartroom.

Debbie in Classic Sailing office has sailed with Gijs when he was the first mate on a square rigger sailing from Brazil to Antarctica, and also more recently in Orkney, Shetland and the Faroes. If you can't pronounce his name Dutch style then 'Heiss' is close. He speaks great English, loves to sail every ship he works on to the max....is happiest when he can run around the deck and pull sails with the guests. Gjis has a strong interest in maritime history and exploration and always wants to take Tecla to new places.

Jet is relief captain on Tecla.

Jet started sailing professionally in 2005. Before that she spent many weeks a year sailing with her parents. Sitting next to Jan steering, was the best spot on board. After getting her bachelor degree in Communication, Jet worked in the office of Amnesty International for 2 years. Jet could not resist the call for adventure when the opportunity came to buy the Tecla. Jet has sailed as cook and first mate but after experience on other ships she now sails as skipper too. Jet uses her marketing and communication skills to advantage to promote Tecla and the family business too.

Captain of Tecla - Jet receiving an award
Captain of Tecla - Jet receiving an award

Jannette - co-owner and manager of the Tecla.

Janette started sailing after she met Jan. Together they bought an old Dutch vessel, the “Aagtje” and restored her to full sailing condition. For more than 10 years they sailed together on the Ijsselmeer and Waddenzee. After a short adventure with the Eenhoorn (Unicorn) the step up to the open ocean and the Tecla, was not difficult. Until recently Janette was always on board, but now she spends more time as shore manager, together with the pensioned dog Nyske and the young springer spaniel Sadie, to organize better contacts between ship, authorities, trainees etc. Missing the sailing? Of course, but she does make a few guest appearances during the season.

Tecla manager Janette and Jan have run charter sailing ships for years
Janette and Jan have run charter sailing ships for years

Captain Jan - With Us in Spirit

Jan Sluik sadly passed away in 2018 but he is such an important part of Tecla's story, we feel you should know how it all started.

Jan  sailed and owned vessels from an early age on. Rebuilding and repairing traditional beauties is in his blood, he used to work on old timers together with his dad. In 1991 Jan and Janette launched the two mast tjalk Aagtje as a charter vessel from Hoorn. Later they switched homeport to Harlingen to sail on the Waddenzee more. In 2002 the sold the Aagtje and bought the Eenhoorn. Which they sailed from Harlingen as well and sold in 2005, after which they bought the Tecla to start a new project together with their children, Gijs and Jet.  Gijs and Jet have grown up with the sea in their blood and now are the full time skippers of Tecla, replacing their parents out of the water.

Tecla sails with a Captain, Mate, Cook and deckhand and for Iceland and Greenland a wildlife guide.

Current sailing grounds

Tecla - Kit List

tecla-sourcetecla-iceland-skipper.jpg

Kit List for Tecla 

THIS IS TECLA standard voyage kit list. Specialist Antarctic kit list to follow shortly

Included

  • Sailing instruction 
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to including refreshments throughout the day.
  • Bed linen, duvet, pillows and towels. 

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from the start and end port. 
  • Optional trips or tours taken ashore
  • Meals ashore
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Personal towels

 

What to bring

There is limited storage space on Tecla so please pack all you belongings in a soft rucksack or bag.

  • Footwear: Shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes. (Sandals are great for beaches but you do need toe protection for sailing). Tecla has steel decks so waterproof walking boots are fine at sea in moderate winds and dry conditions and great for voyages where you might do some rough terrain walking like Iceland and Scotland. 
  • Rubber Boots or second pair of shoes for wet weather or getting in/out of dinghies. 
  • Swim suit & beach towel
  • Suntan lotion & sunglasses
  • Sun hat / warm hat, scarves, gloves
  • Clothes that dry quickly like fleeces and thermals. Mix of warm, waterproof & windproof layers. Wool jumpers are warm, even when wet, but can take a while to dry. Merino wool type shirts are good for under layers.
  • Small rucksack for going ashore
  • Travel insurance documents/any travel tickets
  • Personal medicines/ spectacles/ seasick tablets –check which brand if you suffer from asthma or are on regular medication.
  • Camera/binoculars etc
  • Modest quantity of alcohol for evening meals
  • You are welcome to bring musical instruments

 

Off

Tecla - Reviews

Tecla crew enjoying afternoon sun

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What did you enjoy the most?

Very difficult to separate out the various events but certainly the fjord voyage was better due to the increased variety of the programme.

What was the worst bit?

A shore-to-ship rib transfer in rough and windy conditions.

Why do you sail?

Freedom, adventure, commonality of purpose.

Summary of the voyage.

Any initial doubts as to the number and experience of the crew were very quickly dispelled and we were impressed with the knowledge and the handling skills of the skipper and the 2 mates. Every opportunity was taken to enhance our enjoyment on both voyages and at every stage we were made to feel relaxed and under no obligation to crew the ship under sometimes testing (but enjoyable) conditions. As an observation, we must congratulate the skipper for her culinary skills under difficult conditions..........the food was perfect for the voyage.

Two voyages on Tecla Spring 2019 

 

This was a great voyage.  A great mix of sailing in Scottish waters, some super hikes and an opportunity to see some of the immensely important historical sites in the Orkneys and Sheltands.  Mooring alongside in Fair Isle was a great privilege.  The ocean passage to the Faroes was quiet but as a result we were blessed with clear skies whilst slinking in and out of the islands and some of the best coastal views one could hope to see anywhere.  The ocean passage to Iceland was a bit of a bimble until we were 60 miles off and then it got exciting.  Thanks to a great skipper and permanent crew we snuggled into a fjord whilst the cruise ship ran aground in Reykjavik harbour.  A good holiday, an adventure and fun. K Barker, Tecla Ullapool to Reykjavik, May 2018

What was the best bit?

Sailing under the Skye Bridge on a windy, sunny morning. ..

What was the worst bit?

Being sea sick on the first day, but I can't blame the boat or the crew for that - just the stormy weather.

Why do you sail?

I have never sailed before, this was a 'give it a try' holiday - it hasn't put me off doing it again sometime

Any other comments

An enjoyable week in less than ideal weather conditions. The crew was competent and friendly, the catering excellent - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a voyage on Tecla." Jonathan E. Sailing in Scotland

 

"Brilliant, I would do it again tomorrow. And good value too. Food was excellent. I loved the spicy meat balls and my wife loved the fresh langoustines." Steve.

The voyage was " a delight. A competent and engaging professional crew, an interesting voyage with some challenges and some great rewards. Good companions to make the log spin around." Mike 

What aspects did you enjoy most? "The sailing from Faroes isles to Iceland in perfect weather." What aspects did you enjoy least? "cannot answer this question as enjoyed every single moment"  If you could sum up the trip? "It was my first voyage. I just thought I like being out, I like being active, and I like the sea, so I will have a look at sailing.  After that marvellous experience I will certainly continue." Annon feedback form  May 2015

Sailed on Tecla to St Kilda in June - amazing crew (Gijs, Janet, Barbara) and great company. I loved everything about the trip and strongly recommend to join the Tecla folks. Most enjoyable classic sailing with great food, true sense of teamwork, great guidance and good sense of humour. Can't get any better." Cheers, Thomas M.

"Best Experience Ever (5 stars for sailing, crew and food) " David on TC28/04/14

I sailed aboard Tecla from Oban to the Scillies in very early May. It was cold, wet and mostly pretty windy. It was thoroughly excellent. The Tecla is a great little ship, but it was the skipper and crew (paid and "trainees") that made it for me. Great job, thanks guys. I plan to come again. Steve W

I‘d never been sailing in Iceland or on Tecla so this was a double first for me. What I like about remote places is that the people you meet are welcoming and pleased to see you. They seem to be secure in their communities and proud of where they live. In 8 days in Iceland I only saw one policeman very very briefly. Not at the airport but following us for about 30 seconds in a police car in Reykjavik. Was it cold in Iceland, Yes and No, on arrival there was no need for more than 2 layers on top and one below. But later when sailing and the wind picked up from the north it did require 5 top layers and 2 below but we were less than 30 miles from the Arctic Circle!  Overall I really enjoyed the voyage and the wildlife. Adam Purser June 2018

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