Sail one of these tall ships

By Lew Toulmin

(Second of two parts)

Last month I described the romance of tall ship sailing. This month I will give some specific suggestions for fascinating tall ships around the world.

Where the tall ships roam

Cruising grounds for tall ships cover the entire globe. There are various tall ships in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan and South America, and of course in America we have scores. Many U.S. cities and states have built or are building tall ships as roving ambassadors, and these often go overseas. There are numerous tall ships in Britain and Europe, and these usually get together each year in the late summer or early fall for races, parades and “sailing in company.” The latter is the best type of event, because an entire fleet of gorgeous tall ships will stay together for several days — the photo ops are fantastic.

The biggest foreign event planned for 2006 will be the tall ships festival in Europe, July 6-Aug. 22, which includes a race from St. Malo (France) to Lisbon, a “cruise in company” from Lisbon to Cádiz and on to La Coruña (Spain) and a race from La Coruña to Antwerp (Belgium). See for details.

A major tall ship event in 2006 on this side of the Atlantic will be the America’s Sail event, starting in Fortaleza, Brazil, on May 27, continuing on to the Dominican Republic and ending in a festival in Beaufort, North Carolina, on July 4. See for updates and a more detailed schedule.

In 2007 a large gathering of tall ships from all over the world (along with, perhaps, the Queen of England) is expected in Virginia for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. A transatlantic race and “cruise in company” is likely. See

Selection of ships

Some of the greatest tall ships in the world, with some of the best voyages, include the following.

• The Sorlandet is a graceful, 217-foot, full-rigged ship (meaning she has square sails on all three masts). She was built in 1927 and sunk in World War II but refloated. She is one of the best-run tall ships in Scandinavia, and since many of her crew, cadets and VCs speak English, she is an excellent ship to begin on.

Sorlandet usually participates in the European tall ships races and festivals. She is based at Gravene 6, N-4610 Kristiansand, Norway; phone (47) 38 02 98 90 or visit www.full

• The Soren Larsen is a brigantine (foremast with square sails; mainmast with fore and aft sails) built in 1949 in Denmark as a Baltic trader. She is 106 feet overall and can carry 22 VCs.

She is now based in Auckland, New Zealand, and each year sails from Auckland to Easter Island, Pitcairn, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and back to New Zealand. This voyage was described by National Geographic Adventure magazine as “one of the 25 greatest trips on Earth.”

Contact Squaresail Pacific Ltd., P.O. Box 310, Kumeu, Auckland, New Zealand; phone (64) 9-411 8755 or visit

• The Lord Nelson (140 feet overall) and the Tenacious (213 feet overall) are two amazing ships run by the equally amazing British Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST). The JST’s mission is to teach sailing skills to disabled persons, regardless of type of handicap. The JST has taken over 21,000 people to sea, of which 8,500 were disabled, among them 3,000 wheelchair users.

Each vessel can carry 40 voyage crew, with 20 able-bodied VCs paired with 20 disabled VCs. Special lifts carry wheelchair users up the masts, and special “talking compasses” allow blind VCs to steer the ship. The vessels usually cruise in British waters, with summer voyages to the Canaries or Caribbean.

Contact JST, Hazel Road, Woolston, Southampton, Hampshire, SO19 7GB, England; phone (44) 870 4435783 or visit

• HM Bark Endeavour is a museum-quality replica of Captain Cook’s famous exploration ship of 1768-71. Endeavour recently completed a voyage from England to Australia, and she will be on display and sail Australian waters in the near future.

The sailing program is run quasi-military style, and accommodations for regular VCs are in hammocks. Four more expensive small cabins are available for persons re-creating the roles of the scientists and officials who accompanied Captain Cook.

Contact HM Bark Endeavour, Pier Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire, U.K. YO21 3PU; phone 44 (0) 8707 458 958 or visit au.

Europa was built in 1911 but was completely refurbished in 1994 and rerigged as a barque (three masts, with the mizzenmast fore- and-aft rigged). She is 185 feet long overall and is very well prepared for long-distance sailing.

She will spend the fall of 2005 sailing from the Mediterranean to Ushuaia, Argentina, and then will undertake three 22-day voyages in the winter of 2005-2006 across the Drake Passage to Antarctica. She will be one of the only tall ships ever to have sailed to that continent. Now, that’s adventure!

Contact Europa, P.O. Box 17402, NL-2502 CK, The Hague, Netherlands; phone 31 (0) 70-331 7475 or visit

• The Pride of Baltimore II is a fast, weatherly topsail schooner (two masts, with fore and aft sails on both masts but with a square sail aloft on the foremast) built on the lines of a War of 1812 Baltimore clipper. This type of vessel was built for privateering and smuggling. She is 108 feet long overall.

Pride voyages overseas and in U.S. waters as a sailing ambassador for Baltimore and Maryland. She is currently in the Mediterranean and will return to the U.S. via the Canaries and Puerto Rico in the fall and early winter of 2005. Training for VCs is very intensive and well thought out. There are three passenger cabins sleeping two guest crew each.

Contact Pride of Baltimore II, 401 E. Pratt St., Ste. 222, Baltimore, MD 21202; phone 410/539-1151 or visit

• The Picton Castle undertakes the ultimate sailing adventure. About every two years she circles the globe, spending about 18 months on a voyage from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, to Panama, the Galápagos, the South Pacific, Bali, the Indian Ocean, South Africa and back to Canada. Accommodations for 40 voyage crew are in pilot berths with privacy curtains. VCs can sign up for one of three legs or for the entire voyage.

The vessel is a 179-foot-long barque with a huge cargo hold. It carries school supplies and trade goods to isolated islands in the Pacific.

Contact Picton Castle, Box 380695, Cambridge, MA 02238-0695; phone 617/532-4446 or visit