Mastering the Art of Tall Ship Sailing:
Learn To Sail A Tall Ship
On Trinovante we take our sail training for adults seriously but firmly believe learning to sail should be fun. When you learn to sail a Tall Ship you do so as part of a team and you’ll go home feeling a sense of achievement. Throw in the mix good companionship, some time to chill out and enjoy the view plus good food and you can see why so many people get the bug.
At SchoonerSail we have many years experience teaching people sailing skills and how to be part of the crew on our schooner Trinovante.
The focus is on learning by doing, teaching good practice and solid seamanship skills whilst visiting some of the best sailing areas in the world.
The style is informal and because crew numbers are much smaller than on bigger ships you get more individual input, more time on the helm and more time being hands on with the sails.
Every voyage is an adventure where you can learn to sail as you go.
If you are a yachtsperson or looking to become one, it is important to be clear that we do not run RYA courses which are geared towards learning to skipper a yacht. Having said that sailing on Trinovante would certainly give you some additional tips and tricks.
Tall ship sailing where you are member of the crew develops a specific set of skills. Learning to sail as part of a team, mastering a traditional ‘tool kit’ of knots, handling sail and mooring lines, steering a larger vessel and getting a grasp of the rules of the road amongst many other things.
If you are looking for something more ‘in depth’ about sailing schooners check out the links to our Learning To Sail A Schooner Articles at the bottom of this page.
I’d done quite a lot of dinghy sailing but had always wanted to experience sailing a “proper ship”. Finding SchoonerSail online it looked like an ideal combination of a small friendly crew and keen sailors.
As a beginner what type of voyage should I choose?
Some people like to try one of our UK Sailing Weekends first before committing to a longer sailing holiday but there is no obligation to do so.
Many first time sailors go straight for something much more challenging like one of our 14 night voyages.
If you find it difficult to choose or are not sure what any of our voyages will involve feel free to give us a ring on 07977 594649 or send us an email. Remember, we are not an agency booking for many boats so you will be speaking directly to the people you will be sailing with in the summer.
Learn to Sail a Tall Ship.
Exactly what can I expect to learn on Trinovante?
For starters you are going to learn some new nautical words!
Initially most beginners feel quite daunted – that’s normal. From the moment you step onboard you will learn to sail by being totally immersed in the world of sail and the sea.
On a multi masted schooner we need you, our guest sailors, to be involved in everything. From hoisting sail and steering to dropping the anchor. It’s in our interest to teach you as much as possible. The boat sails better, Trinovante gets competent crew, you learn and enjoy the sailing more.
There is always a mix of abilities on board from beginners to experienced sailors so whatever level you’re at you won’t be alone.
Every year Trinovante sets sail on a different voyage. See all our 2024 UK sailing holidays here. You can view the voyage map here. Join Trinovante for anything from a few days to a couple of weeks and sail on a taster weekend, enjoy some coastal sailing or an offshore voyage.
New Sailing Skills, New Experiences, New Horizons.
Helming The Ship
Yes, really, right from the start and because we only take a maximum of 8 guests you will get plenty of time at the helm.
There’s no shortage of opportunity to steer and learning to steer a compass course or the best course for a particular wind direction is an important core skill you will have time to master.
In your first few days onboard you’ll be learning the basics. By the end of a week you should have a pretty good idea of how to put up the gaff and fore sails and may even feel confident to have a crack at the fishermans topsail. Love it or loath it, one of these can add a knot to Trinovante’s speed.
This video was made some time back sailing in the North of Norway.
Handle Ropes Like A Pro
You will get plenty of practice coiling mooring ropes and halyards. Trinovante has winches for the jib sheets but all the sails are hoisted with ropes and blocks – it’s an efficient mix of traditional and modern. cleating them off on the pin rails when we hoist sails.
Then there are five basic knots you can learn – the reef knot, clove hitch, round turn and two half hitches, bowline, and figure of eight. Many people know one or two of them already. Think of them as your basic tool kit.
If you want to learn something before you come onboard try learning to tie a bowline. Watch this video and learn the ‘seamans’ way not the cub scout way.
Learn To Feel The Wind
It’s amazing that a boat can sail into the wind. On land we rarely pay attention to the wind – at sea on a sailing vessel we notice every tiny change in direction and speed.
What is the wind doing now, what is it going to do in twelve hours, or five days time?
Understanding why we tack or gybe or how to sail the best course to windward are all part of the learning experience.
And of course there is the Shipping Forecast. You may become a keen listener.
Anchoring A Ship
Trinovante does a lot of anchoring under sail which is not something many boats do these days.
How much chain do you let out? How do you know your anchor is holding? How do you choose your anchorage in the first place?
SchoonerSail Learning To Sail A Schooner Articles
John, Trinovante’s skipper started writing these articles after some Trinovante Crew asked for more information on the fundamentals of schooner handling. None of these articles are invented theory. These are all specific situations that have arisen.
Seafaring is an ongoing learning process and John cautions against set piece manoeuvers. You need a plan but it needs to be flexible because things don’t always go according to plan.
Sail Training involves learning how to safely handle ropes, some basic knots and using winches among other things. Why we need these skills is to be able to carry out manoeuveres under sail or power.
Full knowledge of the why is not essential. Dip into these Learning To Sail articles only if you want to.
Most people just learn to sail when they are onboard.