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Cape to Cape 2019 - Antarctica, Weddell Sea, South Georgia, Cape Town

In our view this is the ultimate adventure under square rig on offer anywhere in the world. If you want to combine hard core sailing in the Southern Ocean with expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea and South Georgia then this truly is the ultimate hands on sailing adventure.  This epic 52 day voyage on Bark Europa is coveted by professional and amateur sailors, bird watchers, wildlife lovers, photographers and tall ship enthusiasts from all over the world. 

Fri, 08-02-2019 - 17:00
Sun, 31-03-2019 - 09:00
Cape Town
52 Days
Voyage No.

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 4-6 Berth Cabin pp. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 9,160 EUR. BOOK NOW
TYPE: 2 Berth Cabin pp. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 10,230 EUR. BOOK NOW
*Booking fees may apply

Europa - Cape to Cape 2019

Cape to Cape Bookings 2019

As this voyage is in such high demand, we have some guidelines to ensure a smooth booking process: 

  • If you have already completed an "Expression of Interest" form for the Cape to Cape voyage, then we will require you to confirm your cabin choice, the names of any fellow travellers and any changes in your personal or medical information in writing and by email to before Wednesday 13th June 2018, 1700hrs BST. 
  • If you haven't already completed an "Expression of Interest" form and would like your application to be considered for the Cape to Cape 2019 voyage, then please select the relevant cabin option above and complete the booking form where it says "Book Now" before Wednesday 13th June 2018, 1700hrs BST
  • Two person cabins are only reserved for bookings of two people. 
  • Please keep in mind that only after medical approval of your booking, is your reservation definite. 
  • After your booking is confirmed, a 30% deposit of voyage fees and any booking fees will be due, after which cancellation fees will apply if you subsequently need to cancel. 
  • All the bookings are processed by hand, so we kindly ask for your patience as it may take longer than usual to receive a confirmation or invoice. 

Health Conditions and Extra Notes

  • Being fit and healthy is extremely important when undertaking a voyage on a sailing vessel in remote areas where no extra medical care is available. Moving around the ship smoothly when under sail can be a challenge for all sailors on board.
  • Meal options onboard are: non-vegetarian and vegetarian, due to the limited size of the galley and storage all other dietaries and meal requirements need to be checked with the cook. A vegan diet cannot be catered for on board Europa. 
  • You cannot sail on Europa if you are pregnant.
  • Sailors that use heart medication or blood thinners or have had treatment recently that has influenced your immune system will require Europa to seek advice from the team of ships doctors about the suitability of the voyage, keeping in mind the intensity of the voyage onboard and when hiking ashore. 
Bark Europa


Experienced sailors or those who know they can handle 52 days living on a sailing ship. If you are looking for hard core sailing in the Southern Ocean with expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea and South Georgia then this voyage is unique.  A popular voyage cavorted by professional and amateur sailors, bird watchers, wildlife lovers, photographers and tall ship enthusiasts from all over the world. Whilst there are plenty of zodiac safaris and beach landings, stunning anchorages and intricate pilotage amongst icebergs, fjords and islands, there is also a lot of sailing: Over 5500 miles of Southern Ocean sailing - mostly downwind in the infamous Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties and even sixties latitudes travelling in the right direction for square riggers like Europa to really 'crack on'

And there is more.....After South Georgia the ship heads North East across the South Atlantic and will try to visit and land on the unique British outpost Tristan Da Cuhna on the way to Cape Town. Whether we can land is always a bit touch and go and sometimes we have to sit out a couple of days of rock and roll, waiting for the swell to be safe enough to land, but we are always well received by the locals and have even joined them for a game of golf.

Wild night on the way to South Georgia. Force 10
Force 10 on the way to South Georgia. Photo Roland Gockel

2 berth, 4 berth or 6 berth cabins (all ensuite).

There are only three two-person cabins so if you want to sail as a couple in a 2 berth cabin, please fill in the booking form for the 2 berth cabin price. It helps to state in the notes on the booking form whether:

(i) you will only accept a two berth cabin OR (ii) would prefer a 2 berth cabin, but are happy to consider 2 berths in a 4 berth cabin with another couple (at the cheaper price of course).


  • Cross the Drakes Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Participate in the sailing and keep warmer
  • Work alongside wildlife guides on deck
  • Zodiac safaris and landings
  • See East and West of Antarctic Peninsula
  • Weddell Sea for Icebergs & Adelies
  • In the Wake of the James Caird
  • Numerous South Georgia anchorages
  • Ocean passages with albatross
  • Tristan Da Cuhna

Please be advised that landing fees for South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha are not included in the cost, once the cost has been confirmed we will invoice you separately for the landing fees around three months before the voyage starts. In 2018, the cost for the landing fees was €280


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.

Getting ready to set sail on Bark Europa
Getting ready to set sail on Bark Europa

DAY 1 Signing on in Ushuaia

The trip, starts in Ushuaia, capital of the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego and commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. It is highly recommended that you will arrive in Ushuaia 1 day before embarkation, leaving room for flight delays or late arrival of your luggage.

The scenery around the touristic city is outstanding, as the rugged spine of the Andes Mountains spanning the entire length of the South American continent, comes right down to meet the sea here at the southern tip of Chile and Argentina.

After signing on and taking your luggage to your cabin, the captain and expedition leader will introduce themselves, the crew and talk about our plans. Then you will enjoy your first meal on board, followed by a short talk by the guides on “Life on board the Europa” to familiarize you with the ship. Usually we will stay in port overnight, but occasionally we already depart during the night.

Day 2 Beagle Channel

After our first night on board, we cast off our mooring lines early in the morning and start sailing the Beagle Channel. This channel is named after Robert Fitzroy’s ship, whose second voyage here brought along a solitary guest acting as the naturalist on board, a young man who would revolutionise the way we view the world - Charles Darwin. The Channel was also defined as the southern border between Chile and Argentina during the 1881 Boundary Treaty. Once on our way, we will conduct a mandatory safety drill, followed by several introductory talks by the crew to further familiarize you with the ship and her many lines, the watch system and your tasks on board.

Black browed albatross
Black browed albatross by Valery Vasilevsky

Albatrosses everywhere Day 3 till 6 Drake Passage

During the night we will enter the famed stretch of 450 nautical miles known as the Drake Passage - a wild part of the Southern Ocean with a fierce reputation. The sailing journey to our first destination - the South Shetland Islands - is going to take around four days.

The winds through the Drake Passage are predominantly from the west and usually are most intense in the northern half. Low-pressure systems formed in the Pacific Ocean traverse the passage towards the southern end. As we sail south, we realise that the surface water temperature gradually drops down, until a sudden change occurs in an area close to the 60ºS, where the cold Antarctic waters meet the temperate Subantarctic ones. This transitional zone is known as the Antarctic Convergence. We are getting closer to Antarctica!

As we sail southwards, the increasing number of icebergs is an unmistakable sign that we are approaching this icy continent. The large ones are visible on the ship’s radar, but the smaller bergy bits and growlers are not, hence the necessity of keeping a good lookout to avoid them! Fortunately, the nights are short during the austral summer.

Day 7 till 9 South Shetland islands and Deception Island

Soon we will spot the South Shetland Islands, our first destination in Antarctica. Some examples of islands we may visit of the South Shetland archipelago could include Barrientos, Half Moon, Greenwich or Livingston Island. All of them are home to impressive penguin rookeries, including Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins and several species of other birds and seals. When we arrive in Antarctica the watch system for voyage crew is discontinued for a while so everybody can enjoy the most of landings on shore. South Shetlands geology is also very interesting, as sedimentary layers rich with fossils are mixed with posterior volcanism. A beautiful example is Edinburgh Hill, a cliff rising vertically out of the water, where a closer look reveals its beauty - a classic columnar basalt formation rising nearly 150 metres straight out of the sea. The columns are deformed into a smooth bellied curve, with their soft grey colour posing a striking contrast to the bright glaciers surrounding it.

On our plan we also have Deception Island, an active volcanic collapsed caldera. The Europa will sail through the only entrance to the caldera, a narrow opening called Neptune’s Bellows. Once inside, several activities ashore are possible, like walks amongst its volcanic craters or a steamy bath in geothermically warmed waters. We may also pay a visit to Whalers Bay, dropping anchor near the ruins of the whaling station Hektor, dating from 1912. Later on it was used as a military base during the Second World War and subsequently as a research station till 1967-69, when it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption.

Weather depending we can spend between two or three days in this area, and afterwards we plan to leave to the Weddell Sea, sailing across the Bransfield Strait to the icy Antarctic Sound. This strait was named after the wrecked ship of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1902 lead by the Swedish geologist Otto Nordenskjold.

South Shetland Islands are the first landfall in Antarctica
South Shetland Islands are the first landfall in Antarctica

Day 10 till 13 Weddell Sea

The Weddell Sea is known as an area where the breaking off of vast ice shelves produce large tabular icebergs. These huge icebergs drift away with the currents and winds, offering a magnificent view to lucky observers. The weather, the winds and the state of the sea dictate our sailing, speed and progress. But especially in Weddell Sea, the ice conditions play a key role on our scheduling. The last few years there was simply to much ice to pass the Antarctic Sound and we alternatively spend some extra days on the Antarctic peninsula.

The captain and the expedition leader will try to find the best places to anchor, land or cruise between the icebergs and pack ice. We may encounter Gentoo and Adelie penguins on our way and have the chance of sighting the rare Snow and Antarctic Petrels. Furthermore, we hope to see Weddell, Leopard, Crab-eater and Elephant seals, and if we keep a good eye on the sea, there is a chance to spot Minke and Humpback whales, or if we’re very lucky, even a pod of Orcas!

In the Wake of Shackleton

HMS Endurance caught in the ice. Shackleton's crew escaped to Elephant Island.Many of us have read the incredible story of Sir Ernest Shackleton. From now on we will follow his steps to South Georgia. About 90 years ago in this area, an epic journey of survival and endurance started. Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the pack ice and sank in the Weddell Sea. After a tough journey on the pack ice and sailing to Elephant Island using their small sloops, Shackleton and his men managed to land on this rocky island. But no help was to be found there, so he decided to sail all the way to South Georgia with a handful of his crew on board the sloop James Caird. After 17 days, they landed on the western coast of the island. From there, they had to undertake a strenuous and dangerous alpine crossing to the other side of South Georgia, where the whaling station Stromness was located. There, finally were back in civilisation and safety. Shackleton still had to rescue the rest of his crew from Elephant Island. That enterprise took several attempts before he finally succeeded.

In the evening of the 13th day of our trip we leave the Weddell Sea and start our sail towards South Georgia. Depending on our progress under sail, we may approach Elephant Island on our way. If the sea conditions and weather are not too rough, it’s worth to have a closer look at this barren and inhospitable island.

Shackleton's grave in Grytviken
Shackleton's grave in Grytviken

Day 14 till 20 Sailing to South Georgia

The sailing to South Georgia “in the wake of the James Caird” will probably take place between the day 14th and 20th of our trip, always trying to make progress under sail. Every day at sea is different. We will learn to see the difference between the Black browed Albatrosses and Light-mantled  Albatrosses. Nature decides the daily work on board. Then, on the horizon the ice-covered mountains of this Sub Antarctic Island will be visible.

Day 21 till 26 South Georgia

Once in South Georgia, we count on approximately six days to enjoy this remote and spectacular oasis in the Southern Ocean, offering one of the best wildlife spectacles on earth.

Please note there is a landing fee for South Georgia which is payable in advance, the price will be confirmed to you before  your voyage starts.

The island is well known for its changeable weather and harsh conditions, located as it is in the middle of the Scotia Sea and completely exposed to the weather systems passing by, predominantly from west to east. It is for this reason, that the chances for visits ashore are highly dependant on the weather and sea conditions.

During this week, we will have the opportunity to make several landfalls exploring the impressive landscapes that the island offers. We will try on several occasions to visit a variety of different landing sites, mixing activities themed on history, wildlife, glaciology and geology. For example, we may visit some derelict whaling stations from the golden age of whaling in the Antarctic area at the beginning of the 20th century (keeping a safety perimeter of 200m around the remains). Also, we could have the opportunity to visit Wandering Albatross nesting colonies where strict rules apply. The incredibly vast King Penguin rookeries spreading over the beaches and lower slopes of the mountainous landscape provide another highlight we hope to enjoy. Other penguin colonies may be visited, including those of the Macaroni penguins. But we need to have in mind that usually they nest in swell exposed areas amongst steep cliffs, making their colonies difficult to reach.

Glacier at the end of Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia
Glacier at the end of Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia

Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia before breakfast.If the weather allows us, we also plan to do some hikes, for example one following Ernest Shackleton’s footsteps on the last part of his epic crossing of the whole island. We may pay a visit to his grave in Grytviken, where he lies side by side with his right hand during their expedition, Frank Wild. There we have the opportunity to walk around the whaling station, which has been taken care of, cleaned and prepared for visitors. In Grytviken, we can also visit the station’s interesting museum on the natural history of the island and its whaling era. 

On the island’s shores, we can also find several shipwrecks, like that of the Bayard. She was a fully rigged ship - one of the first to be built of steel in 1864 in Liverpool. In 1911 she was blown from her moorings and, despite rescue efforts, ran hard aground. This was the very same year the Bark Europa was launched.

Day 27 till 37 Return to the Ocean

After finishing our visit to South Georgia, we will steer the Europa back into open oceanic waters. Even more then during the previous weeks the wind will determine our course, but if winds are from the right direction we will try to visit the most remote island of the world Tristan da Cunha.

As far as our eyes can see, open ocean spreads all the way to the horizon and beyond. On our way we cross again the Antarctic Converge and soon we will be sailing on temperate waters. At that point we leave the Southern Ocean, where we have been since the beginning of our trip, and start sailing the South Atlantic. We will sail through the Furious Fifties to the Roaring Forties, where the winds usually blow continuously.

This often keeps the watches active, helping the permanent crew with steering the ship, setting, taking away and furling sails.

After sailing for about 12 days in this vastness of water, we shall spot the outlines of a very special group of volcanic islands – the Tristan da Cunha archipelago.

Anchored off Tristan da Cuhna
Bark Europa Anchored off Tristan da Cuhna

Day 38/39 Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha is part of the British overseas territory. With a small community of about 270 Tristanians and over 2400 kilometers from any other civilization, Tristan da Cunha as the largest of the four islands, is considered the most remote inhabited place on earth! Anchoring close to the small harbor of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas - Tristan’s only settlement – we hope to pay this fascinating place a visit. However, we need to be lucky to land our zodiacs at the jetty. The harbor is in no way protected from the elements! Due to Tristan’s position in the middle of the Southern Atlantic Ocean and steep coastline, it is fully exposed to open ocean swell and strong winds. Some seasons, hardly any of the visiting ships are fortunate enough to land. Should the weather be in our favor, we hope to enjoy various activities organized by Tristan’s local guides, like tours of the settlement, long hikes up to the base or peak of the volcanic cone or a shorter walk to the 1961 volcanic crater, where the last eruption took place. The islanders also offer to take us fishing or to play golf on their “world’s most remote golf course”. The archipelago’s extreme isolation has lead to a very unique plant and wildlife community. Many species are endemic, meaning they are found only on these islands and nowhere else in the world. Weather permitting, we may visit one of the archipelago’s small outer islands, Nightingale or Inaccessible Island before starting our way to Cape Town.

Please note there is a landing fee for Tristan da Cunha which is payable in advance, the price will be confirmed to you before  your voyage starts.

Please also note that landing on Tristan da Cunha is NOT guaranteed and is subject to the conditions and weather at the time. 

Bark Europa

Day 40 till 52 Sailing to Cape Town

After this short break from sailing and the sea we return to the ocean for another 12 days. Back to oceanic sailing, our progress will depend once again on the weather’s mood. We will experience our transoceanic sailing trip in the same style as the sailors in historic times.

The last part of the expedition to Cape Town is 1510 NM. The predominant winds are still westerly. Everyone is adjusted to the ship and experienced with the sea in his own way. The ocean is different for the birdwatcher, the biologist, clerk, or sailor. Itdepends on what you are looking for. The sea is a sea from enthusiastic stories, a sea that you deal with carefully and with respect.

We come close to the Cape of Good Hope and now we sometimes see other ships on the horizon.

After arrival in Cape Town we will berth in the harbor. of Cape Town. Seals are playing and taking a sunbath on the piers. On 19th April it is time to say goodbye to each other and the ship. At 9 a.m. we sign off. The return home has started and the EUROPA begins a new chapter. The ship shall go to the shipyard for maintenance. After a long ocean voyage many memories remain. Memories of a cold but favourable wind, long-distance birds on deck, groups of dolphins, petrels staying over for one night, skuas waiting for something to eat, a humpback waving farewell with his tail, a growing moon, but more than anything, memories of a group of people sailing this deep water sailing ship  together to another continent.

Chris: "From the crew we've learned it is possible to do anything two ways, whether a 52 day ocean voyage or and hour long work meeting. You can do it with dignity, kindness and good humour or with ruthless ambition, self-interest and greed, allowing the world to sweep you away like a Southern Ocean wind. A simple choice really, there are no promises - the effort brings its own reward."


See our article on Antarctic Weather


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.


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.


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.


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


  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks but Europa has a ships bar
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Landing Fees for South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha


Ushuaia, Argentina

Latest port updates

For joining your vessel in Ushuaia, it is likely that you will be meeting your ship at the Puerto de Ushuaia. 

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. You will be informed as soon as possible of their exact joining location.

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.

How to get here

Air & transfers

The normal route from Europe is an international flight to Buenos Aries. This arrives at Ezeiza (EZE) International Airport (also known as Ministro Pistarini Airport). You will need to transfer to Jorge Newbery domestic airport / areoparque on the other side of the city and take a 3.5 hr internal flight from Buenos Airies to Ushuaia – with the main Argentinian airline Aerolineas Argentinas. See more details below.

Flight Information from Classic Sailing


Phone: 0800 188 4533

Flights from Europe To Buenos Aires

Direct flight time from the UK is typically 13 hours. Going via a European city takes about 16hrs.
There is more choice of flights for Europe – Buenos Aries to choose from, compared with the availability on internal flight to Ushuaia so check Aerolineas Argentinas times with seats first.

Flights from North America

Direct flights to Buenos Aries and a few west coast routes via Santiago in Chile but I think you then need to fly across Andes to Buenos Aries and then down, so sounds more expensive ?

Flights from Australia, New Zealand & South Africa
Aerolineas Argentinas and Quantas fly from Sydney via Auckland to Buenos Aries.
South African Airways flys from Johannesburg to both Buenos Aries.

Internal Flights from Buenos Aries to Ushuaia

The normal route from Europe is an international flight to Buenos Aries. This arrives at Ezeiza (EZE) International Airport (also known as Ministro Pistarini Airport). You will need to transfer to Jorge Newbery domestic airport / areoparque on the other side of the city and take a 3.5 hr internal flight from Buenos Airies to Ushuaia – with the main Argentinian airline Aerolineas Argentinas. There is no train route and the distance down the length of Argentina is vast. If you plan to do a Che Gevara motorbike epic please leave plenty of time!

Transfers between Airports

It is not difficult to transfer between airports in Buenos Aries. You have two options – bus or taxi.
Bus: buy your ticket from Manuel Tienda Leon Transport Company. They have a desk inside the Ezeiza International Airport. The bus trip takes 1.5 hrs with a stop at the Manuel Tienda Leon company office downtown before proceeding to Jorge Newbery Domestic Airport.

We recommend you book a taxi inside the airport and beware of private car owners / unauthorised taxis offering lifts outside the airport.

Ushuaia Airport into town

Ushuaia is a busy travel hub but a relatively safe place, even if you arrive at night. People you meet are all nationalities and generally very helpful and practical, as you would expect from a frontier town and discerning eco tourist destination. The taxi from Ushiaia airport to town / waterfront is only 10 mins and about 15 pesos. Bark Europa will be docked alongside the pier in the Puerto Commercial. It’s a very small place - not really a city and the main pier is easy to spot as all the cruise ships and expedition ships dock along it. To join the ship you must pass through security who will want to see your papers. Tell them you are ‘passagero’ on Barque Europa. Spanish for sailing vessel is ‘el velero’ and ship is el barco.

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in Argentina. Located in a stunning mountain setting on the shores of the Beagle Channel, it has become starting point for most expedition ships visiting the Antarctic Peninsula. It has plenty of accommodation of all types (see below), restaurants and places to explore nearby if you arrive a few days early. We recommend to plan to arrive in Ushuaia at least the day before the voyage starts as internal flights down to Ushuaia can sometimes be delayed due to Andes weather.

Accommodation in Buenos Aires

There is a wide range of accommodation types in Ushuaia and surrounding countryside. Busiest time is peak Antarctic summer / Andes mountain trekking season in January so do book before you arrive.

Here is a link to a Google Map that shows a selection of hotels in Ushuaia. I suggest you choose one near the quay, but everywhere is very close. It takes 25 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other.

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

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’

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 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.

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.


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

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’

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 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.

Bark Europa

Bark Europa has a reputation as an ocean wanderer and follows the great trade wind routes around the world. She offers a sea faring adventure and a unique way to explore and learn about nature and the elements. She 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.  

In 2001 Europa pioneered the first opportunity for ordinary people to experience an Antarctic Expedition as crew on a square rigger. Since then she has returned to the Antarctica every year. Images of Europa under full sail or anchored amongst the ice and penguins have graced many magazines and lured non sailors and experienced seafarers off on epic ocean adventures. 

If you are over 70 or take any medication you will need to complete a Health Statement from your Doctor saying you are fit to sail. The Health Statement will be emailed to you once you have submitted a booking form. 



  • Length overall:  184 ft  (56 m)
  • Length on deck:  160 ft 


  • Year built:  1911
  • Vessel type/rig: Barque


  • Guest berths: 45
  • Crew berths:  14


Ocean Wanderer with a Multi National Crew

Bark Europa has earned her reputation for piling on the canvas and really sailing at every opportunity.  A popular ship amongst traditional sailors worldwide, Europa has the pick of the world’s deckhands, and the enthusiasm of the professional crew is contagious: It is never too much trouble at night to add more sail, or motivate a bunch of wildlife photographers to put down their cameras and set a decent spread of canvas to hop a few miles down the coast....  Europa is notorious at tall ships races and in ports for putting on a show  - often sailing in under sail – almost to the quay.

Maintenence tasks aloft on Bark Europa. Swiss deckhand Jules.
Swiss deckhand Jules with a rigging job aloft on Bark Europa.

Antarctic Specialists

The lure of the Antarctic is hard to resist, and every Southern Hemisphere summer since 2001 this tough 330 ton sailing ship has made the long passage down to the southernmost tip of South America. Once in Patagonia, Bark Europa runs to run a series of sailing expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea and South Georgia. If you want to experience the polar wilderness as Shackleton and Scott did - then help Tall Ship Europa sail amongst the icebergs. These voyages make deep and lasting Impressions on those who sign up before the mast.  The sense of wilderness and togetherness you feel as part of the ships company; the teeming wildlife and the extreme weather from sun and lunch on deck to sudden katabatic winds, will stay with you for a lifetime.


Tall Ship Bark Europa nestled amongst the ice cliffs and snow domes of Antarctica
Photo by Renne Koster

Warm Ocean Sailing & Square Rig Masterclass

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. Europa captains have a sense of maritime history. This Dutch ship was originally built in 1911, and was converted into a barque rigged tall ship in 1986,  with many authentic sailing ships fittings from a byegone era. Her ocean voyages maximise the prevailing winds and generally follow the routes of the mighty windjammers and cargo sailing ships of the  18th and 19th Century.

If you are an experienced sailor and want to immerse yourself in square rig seamanship or maybe learn some Astro Navigation, then Europa is a good choice. Approaching equatorial crossings the extra sky-sail masts and yards are sent aloft and the whole crew can easily be kept busy setting the studding sails that few training ships dare rig. The 14 professional crew and guest crew soon become indistinguishable as you learn the ropes, gain a healthy tan and perhaps help out with the ships maintenance.

Ocean voyages on tall ships. Serving the steel rigging on Bark Europa
Serving the steel rigging. Always something to help with on long ocean passages

Stealing the Show at Tall Ships Races

Tall Ships Races are also great opportunities to really push a square rigger.  Europa can set 30 sails but this takes a lot of crew action, and everybody needs to keep on their toes as manoeuvring the ship gets quite complicated.

Europa crew rarely shout to get things done, so it appears quite casual - but they are very proud of the ship and like to help you sail it to her full potential. Europa is one of the smaller Class A tall ships but they are always determined to steal the scene and win tall ships race legs (and often do). Over 50% of the crew must be under 25 for tall ships races, so if you think you can show up the energetic young crew, then now is the time to apply for the limited adult berths on these race voyages.

Bark Europa under full sail with stun'sails and skysails. Photo by Brett Yates
Bark Europa under full sail with stun'sails and skysails. Photo by Brett Yates

Style of Sailing

Europa is a sail training ship so everyone is expected to take part in sailing the ship. Everyone receives training in how to sail a square rigger and be part of the ships crew. The guest crew are generally split into three watch groups. Whilst on watch you might be on lookout, helming the ship or helping the professional crew set or reduce sail. In cold locations like Antarctica the lookout duties or steering the ship are only for short bursts on deck, and you can escape to the cosy deck-house in between the sailing action.

Lookout duty with the albatrosses on Europa
Lookout duty with the albatrosses on Europa

On adventure charter voyages, like ocean crossings or Antarctic Expeditions, Europa carries a large professional crew to maximise your holiday experience and keep the ship sailing, whatever the conditions. This means you don't have to clean the ship or work in the galley and you can put as much into the sailing side of the voyage as you want. If you are an adrenalin seeking sailor who wants to help furl sails aloft at night (not at all compulsory) then there is plenty of action. If you are someone who will pull a rope occasionally and contribute to the team effort, but doesn't feel up to doing heroic stuff all the time, then that is fine as there are usually plenty of volunteers to set sails, or go out on the bowsprit. 

On tall ships races the crews are generally younger and the pace can be quite energetic. On these sail training orientated voyages you are more likely to be involved in domestic or maintenance tasks. 

Whatever voyage you coose, on board Bark Europa we call our guests 'voyage crew'. This means that Europa's permanent crew will train you to be a sailor. Unlike going on a cruise, on Bark Europa you will be going on a hands-on, active sailing adventure. You will be divided into three watches; Red watch, Blue watch and White watch, named after the colors of the Dutch flag. You will be 'on watch' for four hours after which you have eight hours of free time. 

At Sea - On Watch

During your four hours on watch there will be different tasks that will be divided between the members of your watch. There will always be two people on helm duty. You will together, maintain a steady course on the helm. The crew will explain how to steer the ship and what to look out for. 

During the watch there will also be two people on look-out duty at all times. On the bow of the ship, you will stand look-out. You spot ships, buoys, debris, and icebergs in the water then communicate this to the officer on watch.

The rest of the watch members will be on deck duty. The permanent crew will give you sail training and you will assist in all sail handling. This involves setting- and taking away the sails by hauling- and easing lines, climbing the rigging to furl or unfurl the sails. The crew will instruct you how to work on deck and you will learn how to trim the sails to the directing of the wind. During deck duty, there is also time to assist the crew with the maintenance of the ship. This way you will learn how to work with traditional tools and methods. Woodworking, sailmaking, celestial navigation, and traditional rope- and rigging work will all be apart of your sailing voyage. 

The captains and officers of Bark Europa are easy to talk to and like to get involved in your sail training. They will explain traditional- as well as modern ways of navigation. They will organize and run you through safety drills and procedures. 

Off Watch for Relaxing, Hobbies & Learning

During your eight hours 'off watch', there is time to rest and enjoy the scenery. You can read a book in the library or in the deckhouse. The bar will be open for a drink and a snack. The crew will be giving lectures on various subjects, from traditional sailors skills and knowledge to science and astronomy. 

During your time off watch, you can still assist the permanent crew and the voyage crew 'on watch' with sail handling and maintenance jobs. The galley team sometimes asks for a hand peeling potatoes or apples on deck so they can make yet another of their famous pies. 

In the deckhouse, there will be people playing games, reading books, listening to music, writing diaries and emails. Your off watch time is for you to fill in, you may do as little or as much as you would like. These hours are also for you to catch up on your sleep.

When you are setting sails, reading or working away on deck, in the galley they are always busy preparing meals to keep everyone well fed. Multiple course meals will be served three times a day with coffee and tea times in between. 
In the evenings the crew prepares team challenges and pub quizzes to enjoy together with your watch mates.  

See more about Europa's stun'sails and skysails and how to sail a square rigger

Relaxing on a long ocean passage on Bark Europa. Hobbies like playing a musical instrument

Life on Board

Europa is ideal for ocean crossings and longer voyages with various places for relaxing. The wood panelled library at the stern of the ship has ships models, charts, an inspiring book collection and plenty of seating for all kinds of hobbies. The deck-house is the more social relaxation space. It has good heating for colder destinations, windows all around so you won't miss any action and easy access outdoors to the main deck. There is also a small lecture room below decks.

See more about the accommodation and life onboard by clicking the tab above. 

Ocean Classroom

We think Europa runs the most comprehensive lecture programme of any of the vessels in the Classic Sailing fleet.  If you want to learn about oceanography, the oceans role in climate change, marine wildlife, nautical history and advanced square rig sailing then a long voyage on Europa is like university of the ocean.  You don't have to go to lectures .....but its great to have the option. Without the internet you learn a lot from each other.

Learn more about Europa's lectures and skills you can learn

Astro navigation class on Bark Europa. Photo by Roland Gockel
Astro navigation class on Bark Europa. Photo by Roland Gockel

Protecting the World's Oceans

As you would expect from an IAATO approved Antarctic Operator, Europa takes care not to pollute the marine environment. Europa charter crews are encouraged to be pro-active and have saved entangled turtles, removed floating rubbish and conducted scientific research as they sail. Captain Klaas Gaastra has won awards from the Dutch Meteorological Office for services to modern meteorology and the watch on deck is involved in  weather reporting. 

See more about Europa - and the ships environmental ethos


The deck house on Europa is a social place to write journals or play cards
The deck house on Europa is a social place to write journals or play cards

Below Decks Accommodation

Relaxation spaces include the library, deck-house, lower lounge, poker corner, and many seats around the decks when anchored. The deck-house has a bar selling wines and beers for consumption when you are off watch.

Bark Europa interior - deck house lecture with Elliot
Deck house lecture with Elliot

Cabins with En-suite WC and Shower

Europa has 12 cabins on board for voyage crew. Cabins have heating or air conditioning that you can control (depending on where you are sailing) and all have a WC/ shower/washbasin en-suite. The air conditioning works best with the cabin door shut, but you can also latch it part open for more natural ventilation.

There are four large cabins for 4 persons and four for 6-persons cabins. All cabins are comfortable and have their own shower and toilet. During the Antarctica voyages or the long ocean crossings a maximum of 5 persons will be placed in a 6-persons cabin. If you are travelling as a couple you can decide to book a 2-persons cabin, but there are only four of these and they are more expensive.

A cheaper option for couples that are happy to co-habit, you can also be placed together with another couple in a 4-person cabin at the lower berth fee. Single travellers will usually be placed in a male or female 4- or 6-persons cabin at the lower berth fee. There is a porthole in either the cabin or the en-suite bathroom, and each bunk has its own reading light and privacy curtain. There are drawers each under the bunks and wardrobe space to store your things and hooks for waterproofs.

Duvets and sheets are provided and laundered regularly during the voyage. The cabins have 2 pin European electricity sockets to charge phones and cameras. The power comes from one of 3 ships generators.

We cannot guarantee any specific cabin or bunk to you, we can make a note of your preference, however the final cabin overview will be made on board by the captain.

Bark Europa. Each cabin has a small shower, wash basin and toilet en suite
Bark Europa. Each cabin has a small shower, wash basin and toilet en suite
Bark Europa Accommodation below decks - layout drawing

Plenty of Deck Space

The highest part of the deck is the poop deck where there is a ships wheel outdoors and a chartroom with a good view of the whole ship.

Photo by Roland Gockel

At the same level in the middle of the ship is the boat deck which sits above the deckhouse.

Right at the bow is the fore deck. At a lower level is the main deck, sometimes called the 'waist' of the ship. In good weather the galley teams likes to serve meals 'al fresco' from a big table on the main deck. There are plenty of bench seats and the deck-house if you would rather eat at a table, out of the sun. The main deck on Europa is only a couple of metres from the waterline, which means you sometimes get up close and personal with visiting whales, penguins and dolphins, but it also means in rough weather waves can sweep across it. Nets and safety lines are rigged and there are other drier routes you can take to the poop deck where you steer the big ships wheel, or the boat deck and focastle which are all high above the sea.

main deck on Europa. 'Two o clockie' meeting
main deck on Europa. 'Two o clockie' meeting

What is included

Duvets, linen, pillows, hand towels

Sailing instruction

All meals on board

Wildlife Guide on some voyages

What is not included

Waterproof Trousers & Jacket

Travel to joining port

Alcoholic or canned drinks from bar. (pay in euros at end of trip -cannot accept cards)

Cost of any e mails home by satellite.

There is a landing fee for South Georgia


Satellite phone (emergencies) 2 Inmarsat C terminals SSB and 2 VHF radio plus mobile VHFs

Medical Care

For Antarctic Voyages and long ocean passages in remote locations the ship will usually carry a doctor as volunteer crew. The Captain and several of the crew have medical training. You must have travel insurance and healthcare insurance for your own country. Please make sure you take enough medication for anything you are prone to. It is vital you tell us of any medical issues on your booking form.

Agility and Fitness

Climbing the mast is fun but not compulsory. You do need to be agile enough to climb a 6ft vertical ladder e.g. to get from the ship into a ships dinghy to go ashore. There are quite steep companionway steps and all the cabins have bunk beds.

Europa in Cape Town after 2006 annual refit
Europa in Cape Town after 2006 annual refit

Bark Europa - Ship Specification & History

Europa History

Europa was built in 1911 as a lightship for the mighty Elbe Estuary. In 1986 her potential as a sailing ship was realised and she was brought to Holland for an 8 year transformation into a three masted barque. The restoration was supervised by the Dutch Shipping Inspection Bureau Veritas and she holds certification for worldwide charter. She is an incredibly strongly built ship with six watertight bulkheads and a strengthened hull around waterline for ice.

Ship Specification

Built (converted into a barque) 1911 1986-94
Rig Bark Barque
Length overall inc bowsprit 56m 184ft
Beam 7.4m 24ft
Draft 3.9m 13ft
Air Draft (height of mast above sea level) 33m 108ft
Max sail area - 30 sails 1250 sq m 13 445 sq ft
2 engines and bow thruster 2 x 365hp  
Max guest crew (less on Antarctic Expeditions) 45  
Professional crew 10-18  










Dutch Commercial Safety Certificates for Worldwide Operations - covers lifesaving equipment, staff certificates, operations.

There are also very strict rules for ships visiting Antarctica, which the ship conforms to.

Bark Europa Captain Profiles

Captain of Bark Europa Klaas Gaastra
Captain of Bark Europa Klaas Gaastra. Photo by Jordi Plana

Europa has three regular Captains:- Klaas Gaastra, Eric Kesterloo and Harko Lamberts who generally live on the ship for 3 month blocks. All have sailed Europa for many years, are excellent linguists and have a real love and deep knowledge about square riggers, the marine environment  and the ocean wildlife.

Europa Captain Klaas Gaastra

For someone who spends large chunks of his life living on a tall ship as Europa wanders the world's oceans, Captain Klaas is very well known and respected  in the tall ship sailing world. If you sail with him you soon realise why he is unforgettable !  Hard to imagine Klaas as a submariner in the Dutch Navy, now with a wild mane of hair and blue earring.  Klaas has been with the ship as Captain since she was first re-built from lightship to sailing barque, and loves to sail the ship as close to the dock as he can under sail.  If you follow Klaas on facebook you realise how much he cares about maritime history, wildlife and the worlds oceans.  You don't really need a wildlife guide if you sail with him as he has eagle eyes for identifying whales and dolphins in the distance.  Klaas has recently been awarded a medal from the Royal Dutch Meteorology Institute for his exceptional work out at sea and for services to Maritime Meteorology, so if you sail with him you can learn a lot about ocean weather from experience and years of recording actual conditions. His partner Marianne sails as Cook and they make a great team. Dutch but fluent in English, we suspect Klaas can speak quite a few languages....

Captain Eric Kesterloo

Captain Eric is also an iceberg dodger with many years as Captain sailing Europa in Antarctica and around the Oceans. We would love someone, or maybe Eric to write something about himself.

Bark Europa Captain - Eric  Kesterloo
Bark Europa Captain - Eric Kesterloo


Ships Cook- Marianne Van de Staay (NL)

Ships Cook Renske (NL)

Bosun - Luci (Brittany)

Bosun Finn (Nova Scotia)

Bosun Matthew Morris (Australia)

Current sailing grounds

Kit List for Europa

Wet landing in South Georgia

Kit List for Europa


  • Hand towels
  • Bed linen
  • All meals on board and non alcoholic beverages 

What is not included

  • Waterproof clothing 
  • Waterproof boots
  • Alcoholic beverages

What to Bring 

Please pack your belongings in a soft holdall or backpack as storage space is limited on Europa (no room for suitcases!)

• Passport
• Flight tickets
• Voyage Information
• Any Medication

• Light weight wet weather gear - heavy weight waterproof jacket and trousers for Antarctica
• Sun tan lotion
• Washing kit and toiletries
• Clothing for a warm climate or extra for Antarctica - plenty of layers
• Shoes and sandals that protect your toes - warm water proof boots for Antarctica
• Swimwear - warm wind proof hats for Antarctica
• Beach Towel only

• You can charge electrical appliances if you have an adapter for European two pin sockets.
• A book for the flight - there is a good library of books ,CD's and videos on board.
• Camera and batteries – film, spare batteries and storage cards
• Small musical instrument are always welcome

What not to Bring

Your bunk has a comforter/duvet with cover, one pillow with pillowcase and a sheet
- You do not need to bring a sleeping bag or towels, as they will be provided too  
- Jewellery and other valuables
- It is not allowed to bring any alcoholic beverages on board. We try to limit the amount of garbage we produce on board, so if you bring your favourite snacks, please think about sensible packing!

Antarctic Voyages - Comprehensive Kit List

One extreme to the other - Blizzards and heatwaves in Antarctica - Think Ski resort and you won't be far wrong.

Luggage In each cabin you will have a drawer and a small cupboard where you have to stow all the luggage you bring with you, including the bag. Leaving bags on the floor will create a dangerous situation, the movements of the ship will scatter everything around and tripping and falling can be the consequence.  We kindly ask you to bring soft but sturdy luggage bags that can (partly) be folded. Suitcases cannot be stowed in your cabin. Please remember to clean your bags, jackets etc to prevent takings seeds or bacteria into Antarctica.

Suitcases take up a lot of space in your cabin and cannot be stowed, so we ask your only to sue sturdy but soft luggage bags.

Baggage Allowance and Recommendations

To avoid excess baggage charges on international and domsestic flights, check with your ticketing agent about luggage restrictions. In general, you are allowed two normal sized pieces of luggage per person and one carry-on bag. 

Luggage labels

 Please make sure that you luggage is clearly labelled with your name and destination on the outside of your luggage and also put a second label or big piece of papers inside your luggage with detailed information. Also, mention the ship's Argentine phone number and name. This will be given to you by Classic Sailing on confirmation of your booking. 

A small rucksack (daypack) or shoulder bag is handy for walks ashore to store your gear. Waterproof if possible or put your kit in an inner bag that is waterproof and sealed. 

General clothing
On board it is common to wear casual clothing. Staying warm, dry and comfortable will allow you to maximize the enjoyment of your experience. Layer your clothes to easily adapt to the weather circumstances. Especially at night it will be cold. 

Long voyages to and from Antarctica
We will do our best to make sure there is at least one opportunity for personal washing but we cannot guarantee it because we are bound by the weather. We can only use the washing machine if the ship stable. The crew will provide every cabin with one washing bag to collect the laundry and return it to you when cleaned. There is always the possibility to do a small hand wash. 
Changing daily:

- Socks: 21 pairs

- Underwear: for 21 days

Change every couple of days:

- Thermos-layers: 5 pairs, with at least one made from Merino wool (these won’t smell for quite some time).

- T-shirts: 12 For the whole voyage

- Knitted sweater: 5 or 6 warm sweaters (wool is always preferred)

- Pants: 2 or 3 thermal pants

- 2 pair of normal jeans

- Water tight/sailing pants 

Base layer
- Thermal underwear: a natural fibre such as merino wool is best to keep you warm and will also stay odourless longer than synthetic fibres. The best would be medium thick to thick.  
- Socks: here we would also suggest merino wool socks, the higher the better! Try to find seamless socks to prevent blisters 
Second layer/optional
- Shirts: both long and short sleeves. Shirts made out of 100% cotton are not ideal since it holds moisture and dries slowly. Best would be to have shirts with a bit of elastane.
- Pants: what you prefer. Quickly drying is advised. 
Insulation layer
- Often for this layer fleece is suggested, but we would like to ask you to bring wool sweaters instead. During one laundry cycle, a fleece jacket releases up to 250.000 synthetic fibres. These come into the waste water and eventually end up in our oceans contributing to the plastic soup.
- Down jackets 
Shell layer
- Wind and waterproof. Since we will be sailing to Antarctica we suggest to go for sailing gear. Big brands are Musto, Helly Hansen, Henry Lloyd, but these are also quite expensive. As an alternative, have a look at oil suits, less pretty but just as effective in keeping out the wind and water 
- Gloves: inner and outer gloves.  
o Inner gloves: excellent dexterity and good wicking properties
o Outer gloves: pick one of good quality. Select on warmth, waterproofing and dexterity.
- Hats and scarves
o Hats: bring something warm and which you like. Don’t forget something to cover your ears
o Scarves: a neck gaiter is a good option, because it will not leave you with loose ends which can get caught up in something. 

Feet: If you want to wear two pairs of socks make sure there is room in your footwear!
- Muck boots: during landings we might not always be able to do a complete landing, so you will have to walk through a bit of water to reach the shore. Make sure your boots are as high as possible, just under the knee.
- Walking shoes: for walking during the landings you can bring normal hiking shoes. Shoes with not too much profile are preferred, as not to transfer material from one landing site to another. You can bring them in you backpack to shore. 

Rubber boots are necessary on virtually all landings: for getting ashore out of the zodiac trough ankle deep icy out of the zodiac trough ankle deep icy water, walking through snow and sometimes on deck during the crossing.You will be wearing these daily so they should be comfortable for longer wear and walking. If they are too tight they will give you cold feet, space shaft of at least 28 cm high with soft (for better grip on deck) non-slippery heavily for 2 socks is great. We recommend simple rubber boots with a ridged/waffled soles. Yachting/sailing boots don’t offer enough grip ashore on snow, ice and mud, better opt for Wellingtons/farmers boots. You can find these at farm/fishing co-op stores, work clothing stores and garden shops between 20 to 60 Euros. 

Bring vital documents in your carry on luggage but keep photocopies in your luggage. 

Passport  For a number of nationalities your passport has to be valid for at least 6 months at the moment you enter Argentina. Please check the requirements for your own nationality. 
Visa It is important that you check with your own embassy for visa requirements pertaining to each country. For a number of nationalities no visa is required for a stay of a maximum 90 days. Please check the requirements for your own nationality.
Certificates of medical and travel insurance.
Phone number of the Europa in case of delay on the day of embarkation (Dutch) Ships’ cellphone nr.: +31-6-51 180 679 or our Argentine Nr.: from within Ushuaia: 15 602030; from within Argentina: 02901-15 602030.

- ATM card, cash money, credit card. Please make sure you bring enough cash with you as there might not be that many ATM machines in the Falklands and Ushuaia.  - On board you can pay your bar bill and souvenirs at the end of the trip with EUR and USD. We do not accept credit cards. 

Swimwear for a polar plunge or possibly a thermal bath at Deception Island.

Warm pyjamas (the cabins are less warm than the rest of the ship).
Hiking boots.
Extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses
Sunglasses (uv filter) and sunscreen. The sun is very strong as the area has little
ozone and light is reflected by snow, ice and water.
Clothes for gateway cities. It is summer in Buenos Aires and one can expect
temperatures of 30°C.

Please not that your rain gear, daypack, camera bag, tri-pod and boots, etc are clean when you join the ship. We advise that you vacuum and clean these items to avoid taking any small seeds or bacteria to Antarctica. 

Cameras and other gear

Please ensure that you test your equipment before you leave. 

Digital photographers spare (rechargeable) batteries, memory cards Bring twice as much storage as you think you might need! In case you bring your own laptop along: empty CD’s or a spare memory stick to store your photographs onto.  

Analog photographers: sufficient rolls of film (100/200 ASA for sunny days, 400 ASA for cloudy days) If you have one: a tele zoom lens (~300mm) allows you to take good pictures of wildlife without disturbing it. A polarization filter is not a must, but it can be useful to bring if you have one. Binoculars for watching wildlife (birds, cetaceans) 7x or 8x is fine  Electricity on board is 220Volt/50Hertz, standard European plugs with two circular metal pins.  Wall socket adapter

Please note that drones with cameras are not allowed in Antarctica or South Georgia. If you bring one on the ship you will not be allowed to use it.

Eating and drinking: It is not allowed to bring your own drinks or large amounts of food on board. 


Your bunk has a duvet with cover, one piollow with pillowcase andd a sheet, so you do not need to bring a sleeping bag. Towels will be provided too. If you sleep light you might like to think about taking ear plugs. 

Medical care: If you have or have had a disorder or sickness for which you use medication we ask you to inform us in advance and we ask you to bring enough medication for the entire voyage. Because on board the ship we live close to each other, colds or influenza are easily passed on to others. We advise you to take an anti-influenza injection before departure. In the Netherlands you can visit to make an appointment for the vaccination. If you have questions about a specific health problem, we advise you to get in touch with the office. We can put you in contact with one of the ship’s doctors.

Seasickness A sailing ship under sail is steadier in the water in strong winds than a motor vessel. Once in Antarctic waters, we will be sheltered and the wind will be calm, so no one should suffer from seasickness. In the Drake Passage, the winds can be very strong and some people on board will get seasick. Most will get used to the motion of the ship after one day. Healthy eating and sleep are the best ways to prevent seasickness. If you fear that you might be susceptible to seasickness, you can take anti-seasickness pills. Please buy these before you leave home. We advice Primatour or Cinerazine. We don’t recommend strong (Belgian) pills or plasters to stick behind your ear. If you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Keeping in touch with home while you are away In case of an emergency, the ship can be contacted 24/7 via the office of the Europa. They keep contact with the ship on a daily basis via ship's radio or Satellite communication. Please contact Classic Sailing for the contact details. 

There are two ways to send small messages directly to the ship: Messages for somebody on board can be sent to The ship will download these messages directly via satellite communication. Make your message in plain text (so no HTML). Mention the name of the receiver in the subject field. And do not save this address in your contact persons or use this for bulk mail. The receiver on board will pay for the message. The costs are about 1.50 euro per kilobyte. Half a page of plain text is about 2KB (kilobyte). A larger message for example in HTML text, with colours, fonts etc can easily cost about 15,- euro

The second option is to send emails to our Inmarsat C terminal. To be able to do so, the sender has to subscribe to the provider of the satellite connection to be able to send emails directly to the ship. Please contact our office at for further information. Trainees and crew aboard the Europa can send text messages to any onshore address, and have to pay cash at the end of the voyage. The messages you want to send must not contain attachments or pictures or any other graphical items. Sending plain text without layout will keep your messages small and therefore cheaper. The satellite telephone number of the ship is: Iridium +88 163 182 9696. Costs may vary with your own telecom company. But they are extremely high in any case! Please remember that there might be a time difference. You can also send a letter or a card to our office in Rotterdam. When new crew or trainees fly from Amsterdam to the ship they can take the mail to the trainees and crew members on board. Please check with the office in the Netherlands if crew is flying and if it is possible for them to take mail. There is no internet connection on board.  Note that: cell phones will stop operating once we get out of the Beagle Channel.  Note that some email accounts, like hotmail, will be blocked after not being used for 1 month. 

Remember to write down the correct email addresses and phone numbers of the people you would like to contact from the ship (otherwise your emails will be automatically returned at your cost)

All guest will be asked to provide a next of kin address in case of an emergency. 

Furthermore, you can check the location of the ship under 'follow the ship'. We have frequent contact with the ship so in case you contact us we can tell you about the whereabouts of your relatives/friends. 

Bark Europa
Bark Europa



Europa - Reviews & Blogs

Snowballs in Antarctica

Customer Comments - Cape to Cape 2018

What did you enjoy most?

On the southern Ocean with the bark rolling out to 40 degrees, water flooding the main deck as we hauled on the clews and buntlines to take in sail

Cape to Cape sailor 2018

Bark Europa, view through the port hole in Antarctica
Bark Europa, view through the port hole in Antarctica

What was the best bit?

All of it!! Maybe seeing over 100 Fin whales feeding on route to Elephant Island - that was pretty cool.

What was the worst bit?

Being stung by a Portuguese Man of War whilst swimming off Tristan da Cuhna....but that in itself was amazing so not really the worst bit!

Why do you sail? It really helps us to know your specific reasons.

Freedom and curiosity

Any other comments

It truly was a life changing experience and one I will treasure for the rest of my life!" - Lucy M - Cape to Cape 2018

Trying to sum up what this journey has meant to me

LOGBOOK 10-01-2012 10:00

We have passed Cape Horn. In a short time the Bark Europa, which has been our home for the last couple of months, will re-join the wider world.

Having spent 47 days in this little island of metal and wood in a very large ocean, and this having been my first time on a sailing ship, I've been trying to sum up what this journey has meant to me in a few lines.

Its not been easy, I keep wanting to use words like "magical", "fantastic" or "otherworldly" to describe the journey into the Antarctic, but it simply can't do justice to the trip as a whole in a few words.The best I can do is draw out some of the most precious moments for me from the trip.

- having the chance to honour Sir Ernest Shackleton - my personal hero - at a short ceremony at his grave,
- to see two humpback whales swimming 25 feet from the ship on Christmas day,
- to see two elephant seals - both the size of family cars fighting.

(also as an ultra-marathon runner being able to run in the Arctic as in the Antarctic was another goal I can tick off after this trip).

This has been an amazing journey, in an amazing ship, with amazing people! Thanks!"


Simon the Ultra Runner on Europa
Simon the Ultra Runner on Europa

Not Going Home - I am Home

LOGBOOK 13-01-2012 10:00

It's difficult to talk about intense experiences. I'm English, and we are notorious for our stiff upper lips, so please excuse the lack of hyperbole. As a group, we now know how to differentiate between 5 different types of penguin by smell alone, how to fend off a 'harem-less' male fur seal with a raised hand and a hard stare.

And what it feels like to be helmed through fields of ice-bergs by a captain who nobody would want to be in front of in heavy traffic ('Come on, you could get a three-masted square-rigger through that gap!'). Who will we talk to about these last weeks? Each other? I don't know; we've seen the best and the worst of each other, and that's not always a comfortable place to be, socially. Can we talk to anyone else about it? Yeesh. Antarctica bores alert!

Maybe we'll take some time to process these sensations before we share them; the sound like thunder as a glacier creaks its way towards calving, the feeling of helplessness as the katabatic winds sweep off the ice-fields and make the ship heel even though there are no sails up (yes, yes, and they're all beautifully furled already...), the sight of a quarter of a million penguins choosing to nest in one particular spot. Maybe we'll tuck these memories away, hoarded like a miser's gold.

It's as damned sure as mustard, though, that something in our futures will trigger a memory of this. It might be a mention of some previously-unheard-of-but-now-familiar sub-antarctic island, it might be the smell of a basin full of disinfectant (don't pack a pest and whatever you do, don't tread on the moss!),or even just the sight of a teabag in a bar glass, but we now have within us the capacity to call up at will our own, personalised picture of the serenity that we have experienced, and this empowers us- we will be somehow better: serene, content, sorted.

Maybe that's the whole point. I mean, who'd choose to go on a trip like this anyway? Returnees and retirees is an easy but inaccurate answer. Of the 40 voyage crew on this leg, about half fulfill those criteria, but that's just who, not why. We are the mid-life crises, the career breaks, the bereaved and the mad-as-a-monkey-on-a-trampoline types. We're Red, White and Blue watch, helming and looking-out in all kinds of weather, (and Green watch, lying down and groaning in all kinds of weather). We are ruffty-tuffty... oh who am I kidding? A boat full of middle-aged accountants? Nope. Not that either. I've been on this trip since Rotterdam in September and the only thing that's been predictable is the quality of the soup, Yes!

So come on, Europees, and Europites and Europophiles everywhere. Learn the difference between a clew and a buntline, and one day... no, I can't pretend that will make any difference...That's the point. When you need a change, or a challenge, come aboard. Don't cruise the world's oceans in a floating block of flats with its own casino and cinema. Do it the hard way.

We've dodged cross-channel ferries and Brazilian fishermen, We've swum in the horse latitudes and in Antarctica, We've watched Orion cross the night sky closer and closer to the northern horizon until the southern midnight sun hid him from view. Feel every mile...

That's why the hardest time is the morning of our departure. The monstrous bags (I never packed that much stuff, surely) , the hearty handshakes, (English- stiff upper lip, remember), the swapped addresses (if you're ever in Outer Mongolia...), the surreality of wandering around Ushuaia, over 10,000 miles away from where you live, and bumping into people you know all day, (from the ship, obviously, unless you have a fabulous social network,) and that thing that we all say., "Safe trip home".

And you step out of our tiny, dangerous, intense, unbelievably exciting world, back into anonymity, and the spell is broken. And you go home. And some are ready to go home, and some aren't, and the luckiest buggers of all realise that we're already there.


Kate the Theatre Stage Builder sailing from NL to Antarctica on Europa
Kate the Theatre Stage Builder sailing from NL to Antarctica on Europa

A Personal Pilgrimage on Europa

 LOGBOOK 19-12-2011 10:00

Grytviken on South Georgia contains the ruins of an old whaling station. "Old" in this case, is a matter of perspective. These particular stations were actively processing whales during the lifetimes of some of the Europa's voyage crew.

To many people, seeing these ruins is perhaps like seeing the ruins of an old concentration camp. To them. it is a place of unimaginable horror. Without doubt, these are very sad and mournful places.

Part of my sadness is nostalgia, because unlike many people these days, I have the rare distinction of having been a child in an active whaling town. When I was very young, my town had the last active whaling station in my country - and this was as late as the 1970's. The two primary industries in my town were whaling and salmon - and when the whaling station closed and the salmon cannery shut down, my town was devastated.

My town hunted Southern Right Whales and Humpback Whales, but especially we hunted Sperm Whales for their superior quality oil, their ambergris and the spermaceti organ they used for echo navigation. I have dim memories of watching the whale-catchers steaming out of the harbour through my father's binoculars. I also recall watching those same boats return, towing whales behind them, and the orca's and sharks attacking the carcass as it was towed to the station. They say the water at the end of the flensing ramps used to boil with the frenzy of feeding sharks and orcas.

My father taught me how to mix whale oil with bran & pollard to attract fish. I can still remember the unique silky smoothness of the oil and it's peculiar smell. One day he found two enormous teeth in a friend's garden - they were Sperm Whale teeth, six inches long and wickedly curved. To me, a boy of seven years, they felt as heavy as lead ingots.

My father polished them and used them for scrimshaw - a classical scene of a square-rigged whaler at a quay-side. One still sits above the fireplace in his lounge room and even now, as a man of forty years, it feels as heavy as a lead ingot to me.
Perhaps some of that weight is the guilt of what was done to the Southern Whale Fisheries for greed and profit.

Mikkie from Austraila.

Mikki learning his knots on Europa
Mikki learning his knots on Europa

At Sea when Steve Jobs died

It made me think that it would be nice to share a couple of words from Apple Founder Steve Jobs, an innovator, technology adventurer and creator of at least one great gadget stowed away in every cabin on Europa during this Atlantic crossing, who sadly died earlier this week.

In a speech to the graduates of Stanford University, Steve Jobs advised them: "live each day as if it were your last, as someday you'll most certainly be right. Every day I look in the mirror and ask myself, if today were my last day on earth, would I want to do what I am about to do today?".

And at 3.45am as the lamp by my bed switched on for the 4am watch, were it not for the fear of waking two thirds of our motley training crew who'd been up on watch all night, I would have shouted at the top of my lungs "_YES! This is what I would want to do_!" because another glorious day on the beatuiful Europa was waiting for me on deck.

YES! To more sizzling sunshine, good wind and deep blue sea
YES! To outrageously delicious food - steak and wine, biscuits, tea and cakes. Pina Coladas!
YES! To dolphins, whales and Penelope the pigeon, our voyage stowaway
YES! To thinking up new excuses for why I'm more likely to get us to St Lucia than Salvador when left alone at the helm
YES! To thinking up more excuses for why I've spent the past few days genuinely thinking the schools of flying fish were flocks of birds
YES! To beating the fear of heights and conquering the 'yellow monster' platform
YES! To handstands and gymnastic classes on the deck while Europa rocks and rolls
YES! To the waves that gurgle and lap at the porthole of our en-suite showers where we wash the salt from our hair
YES! To absorbing as much information as possible from Europa's fantastically talented, dedicated and charming professional crew
YES! To new friends, birthdays, and 'thanks giving' all in our first week
YES! To the experience of a life time
YES to all this and more. Many, many, more happy sailing days aboard Europa.

Riss, CREW LOGBOOK October 2011




Voyage Number or start date.

February 8th 2019 from Ushuaia via Antarctica to Capetown.



What did you think of the safety briefing?



What did you think of the accommodation onboard?



Did you have enough personal attention?



Did you think of the Captain/Skipper and the paid crew?



What did you think of the food quality?



How was the sailing?

Just right


Did you have any rough weather?



Did you feel the voyage had?

A good mix of sailing and ashore.


What was the best bit?

Hard to decide. Seeing Humpback whales feeding, the green flash as the sun set - a first for me for both these things. The open ocean with only natural noises from wind sails and sea.


What was the worst bit?

Struggling to get out of the bunk and get dressed at 0400 to go on watch when Europa on a good angle of lean - kept me in well but hard to get out!


Why do you sail? It really helps us to know your specific reasons.

Love feeling close to nature away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and enjoy meeting like minded people


Any other comments

A fantastic trip. Tough as away from land for so long but worth it. Luckily I don’t suffer from seasickness, but many did.


Christine K.





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