Tall Ships or Small Ships?

Say hello to Anousch! She’s been sailing for a good 10 years, and today she is going to share her experience with the different types of ships that you can sail with in the Tall Ships Races! If you know you want to join, but have not yet decided on a tall ship, or a small ship, this post is perfect for you! Enjoy😃

«What kind of ship should I choose if I want to sail? 

That is a question I got asked a lot.

10 years ago, I had no idea what I signed up for when I sailed a month with TS Rupel, a Belgian B – class sailing vessel. 

A what class, I  hear you think.  Well,Tall ships can be divided into different categories. Sail Training International  uses A,B,C and D classes to divide the ships. During the tall ships races, these categories race against each other.

The question now is how to make a choice.

An A class ship is a square rigged ship  where you are with more than 40 persons on board most of the time, sometimes even 100. You get divided into watches of more or less than 10 persons. This group you will get to know very well. The A class ships are very impressive and sailing the ship is like magic with so many people!

Class A: Statsraad Lehmkuhl. Photo: Tall Ships Races Bergen

B class vessels are smaller ships without the square sails. Depending on which ship, you are with 12-25 persons. This means you have watch in smaller groups and you get to know everybody on board. A lot of B class ships are like a big family,  sometimes only run by volunteers.

The C or D class ships are big yachts. This is a total different experience then a big A class vessel. You are with 10 persons max on board and you get to know everybody very well.  A small and tight new family. Sailing is calmer because you don’t have that many persons on board.

Class C: Black Diamond of Durham

In the harbours of tall ships races,  you also feel a difference in ships. I felt that the B,C and D classes click together a bit. Games and parties get organised on the small ships and you meet people from other small ships. This gives you the opportunity to get to know other ships and nationalities. That is what personally love about the small ships. The A class vessels also click together and you get to know different nationalities on board. They also organise games and parties, so you get to know the big ships. 

During crew parades and parties, whether you are at a tall or small ship, you feel the friendship, love and happiness everywhere.  

That is the beauty of tall ships races.  We are all sailors, just wanting to have fun and adventure. 

This is the reason why I don’t have a preference in tall or small ships. Your first ship will always have a special place in your heart. I started on a B class 10 years ago, I am now professionally sailing on a A class ship and I sometimes go back to my first love. 

Every ship is a family in the big sail training family and every year, it is a big family reunion in the summer!

Sounds like fun, right?!

So let’s find a 2nd family, sea you next year and welcome already!»

Fair winds,

– Anousch

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