If you like the idea of experiencing travel from a bygone age, to hear the creak of the rigging and watch huge square rigged sails billowing in the wind, then why not join a Tall Ship as a trainee crew member? If you’ve watched and loved the Onedin Line, Hornblower and Master and Commander then why not get on board and see for yourself what it is like to travel under sail?
Or perhaps you've watched things like a round the world yacht race and wondered what it would be like to be part of a smaller crew, closer to the water and at one with the elements.
Trainees can be of any age from 15 upwards. Indeed, many older people in their 70s and 80s have already enjoyed the experience, while hundreds of thousands of young people have found hidden talents and confidence that comes from working as a team against the temperamental and unpredictable seas.
To get a feeling for what it's like to sail on a Tall Ship, click here
to view a nine minute film about the sail training experience. A copy of the DVD is also available from your country's National Organisation or Sail Training International.
There are sail training operators all over the world using many different types of vessels, from racing yachts to the impressive square-riggers. Many run day, weekend or week long voyages during the summer months, while others also run much longer programmes.
Many people experience their first Tall Ship voyage while taking part in The Tall Ships Races, a key rule of which is that 50 percent of each vessel’s crew must be aged between 15 and 25 years old. No experience is necessary to become a trainee crew member - indeed many people taking part have never set foot on a boat of any kind before but once bitten they tend to come back time and time again for another Race.
There are several ways you can find a ship on which to take part in The Tall Ships Races or for any other voyage:
The cost of sail training differs from one organisation or ship or country to another. Many ships take all nationalities so it is worth trying organisations and ships based in different countries from your own. Bursaries and funding is available through Sail Training International, many of the National Sail Training Organisations and At Sea Sail Training, so contact them directly to find out more.