There’s a lot of ships to choose from, if you should decide to participate in the Tall Ships Races. There are also a few things that you should think about before you decide which ship you want to sail with, and here are some of them:
• The price range
The price range may vary a lot between the different ships, and therfore it is good to check out the prices on each of the ships’ own web site.
• Do you want to sail with a tall ship, or a small ship?
There are pros and cons with both big and small ships, and it depends on how comfortable you feel about sailing and being at sea. If it will be your first time participating in the TSR, I would recommend that you choose a tall ship, in class A or B. The reason is that with bigger ships, you will most likely experience less movement on board and you will meet a lot of people that are in the same situation as well. In addition, most crew on tall ships are very experienced with Sail Training, and they are used to educate trainees who are new to the races (this might vary of course). If you are slightly experienced already, or just fancy a bigger challenge in general, a small ship in class C or D is definetly to recommend. You usually get to be more involved in the different tasks on board, and you get really close with both the crew and your fellow trainees.
• Which leg you would like to join
Not all ships participate every year, and also not all ships are participating in all the legs. There is also a cruise in company leg, which is actually not a race, but a distance dedicated to friendship. You still get to do plenty of sailing, but in a bit more relaxed environment. The races are more hectic, but also a lot of fun. I have tried both, and there is a lot of positive sides to both of them.
• Scholarship opportunities
Several countries, and even some ships, offer scholarships for youth to go sailing. Since I’m Norwegian, I mostly have experience with the Norwegian sail training organization, NSTA, but several countries have a sail training organazation of their own, that offer different types of scholarships. You can find more info about this by googling «Sail training organization» followed by the country you want to apply at. In Norway, the barque Statsraad Lehmkuhl also offer scholarships for youth between 15-25 years old.
• If you feel comfortable with sailing on a foreign ship with a foreign language, or if you prefer to sail with a ship and crew that speak your own language
Being young and setting off to a new adventure is not always easy. Even though crew on most ships speak English fluent, it might sometimes feel a little extra safe to sail on a ship with crew that also speaks your mother tounge. If you feel comfortable enough with sailing on an international ship, that’s great. If not, then it is possible to send an email to different ships, and ask for information.
Here are some links that might be helpful for signing up to the Tall Ships Races:
http://www.sailonboard.com – Here you can find information about WHERE the races take place, WHEN they take place, and also information about a lot of the ships that are participating in TSR 2020, including their websites. It also shows you step by step HOW you sign up for the Tall Ships Races.
http://www.windseeker.org – Windseeker provides booking services for sail training adventures on board tall ships, for youth between 15-25 years old. They also help participants with preparations for their journey!
http://www.lehmkuhl.no – Statsraad Lehmkuhl’s own website. Lehmkuhl is Norway’s biggest and oldest Tall Ship, and it was also the chosen ship for this year’s Vitamin Sea Sailors.
Sail Training organizations in Scandinavia:
• Norway: http://www.nsta.no
• Sweden: http://www.sta-sweden.se
• Denmark: http://www.dsta.dk