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Cross the Atlantic and Equator on a square rigger - Bound for South America

A 33 day true ocean crossing on a square rigged ship. Europa specialises in big ocean crossings with charter crew of all nationalities. Not only does this voyage cross the Atlantic, you are also entering Neptune's realm as you cross from Northern to Southern Hemisphere. If you have not crossed the equator before on a ship, you change status from Greenhorn to Shellback. If you survive Neptune's Court you gain an ocean name to suit your character, and you can now get yourself a turtle tattoo to celebrate.  This epic voyage has it all, and the satisfaction of crossing between continents on a square rigger with minimal carbon footprint.

Embark
Sat, 12-10-2019 - 17:00
Sal, Cape Verde
Disembark
Thu, 14-11-2019 - 09:00
Montevideo
Duration
33 Days
Vessel
Europa
Voyage No.
EU121019

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 4-6 berth cabin - en suite - pp. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 2,890 EUR. BOOK NOW
TYPE: 2 Berth Ensuite Cabin Per person. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 3,700 EUR. BOOK NOW

Europa - Cape Verde - Montevideo 2019

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR...

Escaping the modern world and being part of a self sufficent community alone on a big wide ocean. Romantics, stressed out modern workers, eco warriors and sailors who are looking for a classic ocean crossing on a square rigger that specialises in long haul adventures..

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Set skysails and Stun'sails on this voyage
  • learn advanced square rig
  • try astro nav and sextants 
  • Cross an ocean - Incredible achievement
  • Greenhorn to Shellback - cross equator
  • trade winds, doldrums, sunsets
  • Ocean classroom - lectures if you want to learn
  • multi national crew
  • help with ropework, leatherwork, rigging repairs
Europa crossing oceans

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

Not only does this voyage cross the Atlantic, you are also entering Neptune's realm as you cross from Nothern to Southern Hemisphere. If you have not crossed the equator before on a ship, you change status from Greenhorn to Shellback. If you survive Neptune's Court you gain an ocean name to suit your character, and you can now get yourself a turtle tattoo to celebrate.  This epic voyage has it all, and the satisfaction of crossing between continents on a square rigger with minimal carbon footprint.

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.

Ocean sailing on tall ship bark europa
Ocean sailing on Europa by crew Niels Koonstra

Ocean Passage

To experience the routine of a ship sailing in deep waters is to be in a different world – the rhythm of the sea reflected in the passing of the watches. You could be in a different age – take part and enjoy to the full. Your participation helps the voyage make way and when you arrive you have a real sense of achievement.

Crossing an Ocean on a tall ship is a challenge and once in a lifetime ambition you should seize whilst you can. It is possible to live life comfortably and dare we say boringly, but you may never know your true strengths and what you can achieve working with others, or experience the truly humbling effect of being alone in a wide vast ocean. The sailors who followed the trade winds in square riggers were a special breed, and after a your voyage on Bark Europa you will earn yourself a place in a unique ‘club’, and make friendships which will bond you for a lifetime.

helming a 300 ton sailing ship
This could be you.

Do I Need Sailing Experience?

You do not need any sailing experience to go on Bark Europa’s voyage as you will be trained and well looked after. However these are the most challenging voyages we offer and not to be taken lightly. We want you to enjoy it, so if you have never spent longer than a few hours on a boat or ferry then please speak to us for realistic advice. This 33 day voyage is a bit of a baptism by fire for an adventurous newcomer to sailing, as you will not be able to get off if you find the experience is not for you. Seasickness at the beginning is a possibility. Most people get over seasickness after about 24-48 hours, once your body gets used to the unusual motion of your new environment.

On Watch At Four Bells

Being woken up in the middle of the night has its compensations; helming the ship under the brightest stars you have ever seen, being in charge as the ship as she ploughs through the unseen waves and the welcome hot drink at the end of your watch. You do need to be reasonable confident in your level of fitness and stamina for Ocean Passages and settling into the ships routine as she sails day and night is the key to becoming an ocean sailor. Taking advantage of opportunities to rest or sleep when off watch in the daytime will help you enjoy this extended period at sea. Life back on shore will feel very strange once you get used to the rhythms of the sea and shipboard life.

Morning watch handover and smell of bacon
Morning watch handover and smell of bacon

Skysails and Stun'sail

Approaching equatorial crossings, the extra skysail 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 square sails normally set are Course, lower topsail, upper topsail, t'gallant, and the highest yard on a tall ships mast is usually the Royal. In light and fickle winds or equatorial waters a mast extension is sent up from the deck and rigged securely on both the main and foremasts. Then a skysail with its own yard and footrope is hoisted up and fixed to the skysail mast.  You can then count 6 square sails towering above you....or if you climb to the top, you migh see 6 sails beneath you!  In addition to skysails the existing steel yards can be extended with wooden booms which carry those amazing stun'sails on either side of the ship.  All good fun until the first squall, when they all have to come down quickly!

stun'sails in action on Bark Europa
stun'sails in action on Bark Europa

Rigging work and marlinspike seamanship

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. The deckhands all have their maintenance tasks, some of them pleasant or in precarious places high in the rigging, some of them in the bowels of the ship.  They are usually grateful of any help which might mean learning some new skills to put a new grommet strop on a block, or simply helping at deck level for a crew member working aloft to guard a coil of rope to prevent anyone from making it fast.

Scrubbing decks in the early morning with cool seawater pump is actually quite a nice stomach core workout, but not compulslory.

 

Europa - serving a new shroud
Europa - serving a new shroud

Entertaining each other

The nice thing about long voyages is that guests and crew always seem to find things to do. There is a library, lots of places to sit and read a book on deck. If the sails are not providing enough shade from the sun then awnings can be created. Europa Captains are old hands at managing harmonious living on ocean voyages. There are quiet times and designated noisy times when the crew might be chipping and painting (The 'Woodpecker Hour'). The ships crew have daily meetings when they change watch and discuss the mood of the ship and are always looking to improve the experience. deckhands are encouraged to run lectures and demos and the mate and Captain have their own pet topics.

Learn or teach guitar. The ship has several on board. Wander into whatever lecture you think might be interesting....or create a talk yourself - it doesn't have to be nautical. Write an article for the ships log on the website (sent by ships sat e mail) or an email to friends and family. There are sextants on board and usually professional crew interested in doing sun sights or star sights.

Swimming in the ocean blue

Europa can hove to and stop for a swim if the winds are light. This involves backing the square sails on the foremast and bracing the main mast yards the other way. There is a wooden boarding ladder you need to be able to climb to get back on board. Jumping off the side is a thrill of about 3 metres. The end of the bowsprit is a bit more daunting at about 7 metres above the sea (point your toes). Mid ocean the sea is incredibly clear and you can see the ship roll in the long swells.

Deep sea swim
Deep sea swim - should I jump from the bowsprit ?

Boat drills and boat rides

The ships crew have to do man overboard drills regularly, which involve launching ships boats when the seas are relatively flat. There is sometimes a chance for anyone who wants to go around the ship in 'sloopy' the rescue boat or one of the zodiacs and take photos of Europa under full sail. 

Food

There are three regular good meals every day. Dietary requirements on not a problem even on these longer ocean voyages, just let us know on your booking form of any dietary requirement you may have. Breakfasts are typically a buffet of sliced cheeses and hams, fresh bread, jams, apple stroop and strange Dutch favourites like chocolate sprinkles, cereals, fruit, natural yoghurt and something cooked like pancakes, eggs in varoius forms, porridge etc. Lunches are amazing soups, cold meat platters, cheeses, salads, tinned or fresh fish, and various cooked specials. Evening meals are always looked forward to and an excuse for a beer or wine if you are not going on watch....and there are puddings.

Fresh bread is baked every day and the ship has large freezers. There is also a bar on board for when you are off watch. On these voyages any opportunity to serve lunch on deck is taken, and people frequently take their meals on deck to eat anyway. Below decks their are two saloons with tables too. 


Experienced and first time ocean sailors

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. If you have already sailed on a tall ship or are an experienced yacht sailor wanting to immerse yourself in square rig seamanship or maybe learn some Astro Navigation, then Europa is an excellent choice.

Astro navigation is easier on a tall ship as a platform than a yacht
Astro navigation is easier on a tall ship as a platform than a yacht

Wildlife at Sea

On a long ocean passage on Bark Europa you are almost bound to see whales and dolphins.  As you leave the continental shelf from Portugal, the upwelling of currents attracts cetaceans. Nearer to Tenerife there is a breeding ground for pilot whales. By the time you get level with the African continent you may see flying fish too. Sometimes land birds get blown off course and you find them trying to hitch a ride.

terns catching a lift on Europa tall ship
terns catching a lift on Europa tall ship

WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

This is an ocean passage so there will be the long swell of the Atlantic every present, so your ship and home will heel and roll, but you should get used to the rythmn within a day or so.  The temperature will change from pleasant winter sun where you might be sailing in shorts and t shirt, to full on tropical sun - tempered by the breezy NE trade wind belt as you get closer to Cape Verde.  Africa is hundreds of miles away but sometimes there is a dusty haze from the Sahara with certain wind directions.  Around Cape Verde the climate is similar to the Caribbean but not as humid, as their is rarely any rain. The leg from Cape Verde to the River Plate in Uruguay begins in the North East Trades with fast downwind sailing and lovely sea temperatures to swim in if the ship can hove to. As you head towards the equator the winds get more fickle and the sea is hot and lifeless. Tropical rainstorms are the feature here which keeps everyone on their toes reducing sail. The next climatic belt is the SE trade winds and the sailing down the South American coast is some of the best in the world (speak to Debbie in the Classic Sailing office) with a lot of cetaceans and sea birds.

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.

ethical way to travel between continents by square rigger Europa
Ethical way to travel between continents by square rigger. Photo Jordi Plana

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.

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
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs

 

 

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
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs

 

 

Sal, Cape Verde

Latest port updates

For joining Oosterschelde and Blue Clipper, and usually any ship on the island of Sal see the above map for the port of Palmeira. It is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport (€15 approx). If you are staying over on the island before joining your ship, please see advice below on where is best to stay. 

Voyages start and end from Palmeira which is a bay and small fishing port on the west of the island, nearer the airport. The large concrete commercial breakwater is cordoned off.  Wait under the shady tree near the bar where the local fishermen unload their catch on a little stone jetty.  The ships dinghy will come in to collect you at joining time.

 

How to get here

Air & transfers

Fly either with Thompsons from either Gatwick, Birmingham or Manchester. 14 day charter flights are the cheapest if you can get dates that fit your voyage. You will need a few days on Sal to use these. Thomas Cook also offers flight routes. 

Or with Portuguese airline TAP which has daily flights from the UK or other European Countries but often go via Lisbon with long stop-overs and arrive late at night.

Vaccinations

None are required for Cape Verde. The winds and dry climate mean there are less mosquitos than the Caribbean in the evenings. 

VISA

Since the 1st January 2019 EU passport holders staying not longer than 30 days will not need a visa. 

Please check with your own consulate or embassy for other nationalities. 

Everybody entering the country will need to pay a tourist tax of €30

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

If you are arriving a few days early then the majority of accommodation, beach bars, restaurants and shops are in Santa Maria, it is about a 30 minute taxi ride to Santa Maria from Palmeira and about a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport. 

If you want to stay near to the port, then the "Yacht Club Sal" has been personally recommended to us by previous Classic Sailing guests. David and Nelly who run the hotel, do not have a website, but you can see the details on their:

Facebook Page here. 

They are also featured on booking.com. 

Call them directly on Whatsapp or Viber: 002389952625. 

Email: Info@pagida.info. 

Santa Maria

There is an old town and a local population, living in low rise housing, but it has been rather consumed by beach side development and apartments. The town does resemble a building site, but the 3 mile beach still offers a perfect place to unwind before your voyage.  The sea is a stunning turquoise with local fishing boats still bringing in a daily catch of wahoo and tuna.  There are several fish restaurants on the beach or in the local squares and a couple of harder to find restuarants with quality menus. Many of the hotels are run by Italians or Portuguese and some have small restaurants too. You can buy snacks from small local shops or street vendors.

You can have windsurfing or kite surfing lessons - the conditions are excellent if you are not a beginner - but it is not cheap.

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)

Currency

The currency is the Cape Verdean Escudo or CV Esc which can only be obtained in the islands. You can take Sterling or Euros to exchange. The fixed exchange rate is 110 CV Esc to €1. Euros are widely accepted throughout the islands but be careful as credit cards are not.

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.

Montevideo, Uruguay

Latest port updates

The exact location where Europa is berthed will only be known for certain a few hours before arrival of the vessel in port. It is likely that Europa will either be berthed at the commercial port of Puerto de Montevideo or the port of Piriapolis, located between Montevideo and Punta del Este.

How to get here

Air & transfers

There are only flights to Ushuaia from Buenos Aries in Argentina but Montevideo and Buenos aires sit on either side of the River Plate estuary so there are regular ferry services between the 2 cities.

River Plate - Ferry Details

See www.buquebus.com for ferry and bus timetables and booking. There is a choice of a direct port to port ferry service from Montevideo to Buenos Aires which takes about 3 hours, or a bus from Montevideo to Colonia (2hrs) and a connecting ferry from Colonia to Buenos Aries (3hrs)

Remember if you take a taxi to the airport there are two airports in Buenos Aires City. You need Ezeiza International for trans Atlantic Flights and Jorge Newbery Aero Park for domestic flights within Argentina.

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

The Capital of Uruguay and a key South American port for centuries, located on the mouth of the River Plate -  famous for the sinking of the German battleship Graf Spey in WW2.

Described as a "vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life", Montevideo is the hub of commerce and higher education in Uruguay: its first university, the "Universidad de la República", was founded in 1849. The architecture of Montevideo, considered unrivalled in South America, reflects its history, ranging from colonial to Art Deco, and influenced by Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and British immigrants.

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.

Bark Europa

Bark Europa has a reputation as an ocean wanderer and follows the great trade wind routes around the world. She offers a seafaring 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 65, or take any medication you will need to take our Europa Health Statement to your Doctor to complete to say you are fit to sail. The Health Statement can be printed off from our PDF below:

Europa Crew Health Statement

Statistics

 

  • 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.

4 berth and 5-6 berth cabins - En suite

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.

2 berth cabins en suite for couples sharing

If you are travelling as a couple you can decide to book a 2-persons cabin, but there are only three of these and they are more expensive.

On Europa these cabins are not available for individuals booking on their own. If you are prepared to share with a person of the same gender, then it will need to be in a larger cabin. 

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

Communications

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  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety

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
Europa has a reputation as an ocean Wanderer - Albatrosses in Southern Ocean; Skysails in tropics

Europa Kit List

Wet landing in South Georgia

Kit List for Europa

Included 

  • 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 
 
Extremities
- 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. 

Documents
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.

Money
- 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. 

Sleeping

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 www.reisdokter.nl 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 europa@gmn-usa.com. 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 info@barkeuropa.com 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

 

Off

Europa - Reviews & Blogs

Europa

Ocean Wanderer

Best bit?
En route to Rouen from Horta Azores especially I enjoyed the two days in a force 6 abt. 200miles north of the Azores as it really made one realise that sailing a 500ton sq.rigger requires extraordinary skills in sail handling and as a novice i really felt i could take part working along with the prof. crew. of Europa. Wonderful experience!

What was the worst bit?
Being becalmed in the channel for a day or two!

Why do you sail? 
Really because i've always had that urge & wanted to sail on a tall ship having seen film footage& read several books/accounts of the clippers .

Any other comments
Just like to say a big thank you to Classic Sailing for making it all so worthwhile.
Ocean voyage crew from Azores to France in May 2019. 

Europa
Europa by Mark Walker - Guest crew from Azores to Rouen 2019

Antarctica

Facebook Review 5 stars

I wish I could give more stars! The adventure of a lifetime, my voyage to Antarctica on the Bark Europa was more than I could ever wish for. The experiences of this adventure will stay with me for ever...
The crew are absolutely amazing: hard working, always a smile, and the galley crew are legendary! The guides are very knowledgeable and give lectures, tours and explanations with great enthousiasm as well as humor. I could not imagine this voyage without any of them. My fellow voyage crew members are now friends for life!
If you ever get the opportunity to go on this adventure, do not hesitate for a single second. Just go!
Thank you permanent crew, voyage crew and office staff!!
Elisabeth K, Jan 2016

Enjoyed the Most

All of it. The combination of sailing and shore landings at the various locations, as well as the wildlife and scenery.

Enjoyed the least.

Having people join the ship who had absolutely no intention of joining the Watch System was hugely divisive and caused a lot of angst amongst the Voyage Crew. If someone can go in the Zodiacs and spend all day walking around the shore locations they are capable of doing Look Out. Excuses such as I don't feel like doing Sea Watches, or I am not a Night Person should not be accepted. Everyone should sign to say they are prepared to join the system. Due to sea sickness my particular Watch was, at one point, down to 5 people. Having individuals drinking red wine/Bacardi and coke and then announcing they are off to bed, leaving the remainder to carry on was very selfish and self-centred.

Phil J Antarctica Feb 2019.

Classic Sailing and Europa believe in 'hands on sailing' and we are aware of the problem Phil J mentions above.

We are working to ensure that future participants in all Europa’s voyages are fully signed up to full participation in the sailing including watch keeping at night, sail handling and look out duty, etc. In all instance allowances are made for the weather conditions and that people maybe unwell.

Classic Sailing has and will always believe in 'hands on sailing'. For us, and what we offer, it is the best way to get the most out of the sailing experiences on all our voyages.

Phil Judd - Europa - Guest Feedback
Phil Judd - Europa - Guest Feedback

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

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

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?

Good

 

What did you think of the accommodation onboard?

Good

 

Did you have enough personal attention?

Excellent

 

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

Excellent

 

What did you think of the food quality?

Excellent

 

How was the sailing?

Just right

 

Did you have any rough weather?

Some

 

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.

C

 

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