Below is a list of frequently asked questions, please note that each voyage and vessel is unique however we have tried to encompass the general questions we receive on a regular basis.
I’ve never been sailing before and I’m worried I won’t know what to do.
There is ‘NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY’ and in fact, the majority of people who take on a sail training voyage have never sailed before. Don't worry! The crew and mentors will explain things and guide you through everything you need to know to be able to sail the Vessel.
I’m joining the vessel by myself and don’t know anyone on board
That’s great! You will ‘all be in the same boat’ most people who join have never met before, and there’s no better way to get to know people who may have a completely different background to you than sailing the high seas on a tall ship or sail training vessel with them.
What age do I have to be to take part?
Most of the vessels and voyages we work with have an age limit of 15-30. If you are outside of this remit, please do contact us as many of the organisations we are linked with can cater for 30+ voyages.
What’s the food like?
Each vessel operator knows how important it is to fuel your body with the right food for a sail training voyage. On some of the larger vessels there is a cook on board, as a trainee, you will have your daily opportunity to assist the cook as a team. On the smaller vessels, you will take turns in small groups cooking for the rest of the trainees and crew but don’t worry if you can’t cook, this is the opportunity to learn how! (You will have some guidance from the crew and other trainees) A typical dish on board would be things like spaghetti bolognese, stews, curries, pasta dishes and cottage pie. There will be three meals per day plus snacks. You are welcome to bring your own treats on board too!
I have dietary requirements, will I be catered for?
Make sure you tell us in advance if you are allergic to anything, vegetarian/vegan, or can’t eat certain foods for religious reasons. Each vessel operator will do their best to cater for you.
What clothes should I bring?
Consider the weather, location and time of year. Even on a sunny day in the Summer time it can be very cold at sea so bring warm layers! Don’t over pack; this is very common. After a couple of days at sea most people begin to sacrifice image for comfort so keep this in mind. Bring your most comfortable clothes not your nicest ones. Bring your kit in a soft, squishable holdall or rucksack. Do not bring hard suitcases, solid, framed or wheeled bags, it must be able to squash down into a small space. Please download our Information pack, this includes a kit list.
NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE SOMETHING ON THE LIST, PLEASE DO NOT SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON THE ITEM/S, TRY TO BORROW THEM OR CONTACT US AS THERE MAY BE SPARES ON BOARD.
Are there toilets and showers?
Yes, depending on the size of the vessel there are at least 2 toilets (heads) on board and shower facilities. Although sometimes you find you will be happier taking a swim instead!
What if I get ill?
At least one of the professional crew members will be trained in dealing with illness or injury at sea. We’ll get you to a doctor ashore as quickly as possible if necessary. You do need to tell us in advance about any condition you already have. We’ve had people on the boat with anything from mild asthma to serious disabilities. Bring any medication, inhalers (and spares) you need - and tell the staff what you are taking.
Seasickness is one of the most common concerns that first time trainees have before going on a voyage. Everyone worries about it before they go but not everyone will experience it. Obviously the rougher the sea is, the more likely it is to affect you but there are a few things that can be done to reduce the likelihood of it occurring. Seasickness is most likely to affect you if you are hungry or tired so make sure you rest properly and eat frequently. Caffeine and nicotine also agitate the condition so avoid them. Also being too hot or too cold can also have an impact so like all other personal care you should be proactive. This is most relevant with anti-seasickness tablets which should be taken well in advance of the conditions changing. Ask your pharmacy for advice.
Where will we go?
Although there is a set departure point and destination, there are plenty of options in between! Some ports of call are set into the sailing programme, others are not. This depends on wind and weather, and where it may be suitable for the size of the vessel. This will be negotiated between the crew and trainees on board.
How can I build up sailing qualifications?
Depending on the vessel you are sailing with, there are different option to work towards sailing qualifications. If this is a particular interest prior to going on board, please get in contact and we will advise you from there. If you decide that a maritime career is for you while on board, speak directly with the crew and youth leader, we’ll do our best to give you as much information needed to make the next step.
I have a special interest in navigation / engines / weather etc.
Tell your youth leader and crew at the start of the trip, and we’ll make every effort to help you learn more about anything on board that particularly appeals to you.
Can we go ashore?
Yes, there will be opportunities to go ashore. There will be scheduled stops to visit interesting local sights, restock, run planned activities and workshops, stretch the legs etc there may also be unscheduled stops due to weather, fuel, fresh water. Prior to going ashore, meeting points and times, contact numbers, and guidelines will be discussed with the Captain, Crew and Youth Leaders.
Do we need spending money?
Each voyage is different, but you will have the opportunity to spend some time on land to stretch your sea legs and may wish to purchase some memorabilia/gifts/toiletries/ snacks (your voyage meals are all catered for). If your voyage is visiting the UK, you may want to exchange some Euros into pounds prior to boarding (or vice versa) otherwise there will generally be money machines in the town you stop at (beware of bank charges). Please do not bring a lot of cash on board, this involves unwanted risk of it being lost, damaged or stolen.
How can I fundraise for my voyage?
Although each voyage we recruit for is already part funded by either Erasmus+ funding or a local bursary scheme we understand that it can be difficult to raise the remaining voyage fee. Here is our fundraising pack full of great ideas to help you raise the remaining voyage fee.
Can I apply for a bursary from my local sail training bursary scheme?
Local Sail Training Bursary Schemes have been set up in partnership with Sail Training Ireland to help fund local participants that otherwise may not have the opportunity to take part. Please see the Bursary Schemes Page for more information.
Can I bring my Ipad, Iphone, camera or other expensive electronic device?
Rain, wind and sea water do not mix well with electronic devices we don’t recommend bringing these items on board due to the risk of them being lost, damaged or stolen.
Can I bring my phone?
Yes, however some vessels have a mobile phone policy for safety/ privacy, engagement with the programme and risk of loss/ damage that restricts use of mobile phones while sailing. This is different for each vessel and will be brought to your attention prior to boarding.
Do I need an adaptor?
Depending on the vessel, UK and Irish vessels use the three pin plug, other EU vessels use the two pin plug and an adapter will be needed to charge your phone.
Can I smoke on board?
Smoking is allowed on board some vessels, but only in the approved area. Some vessels have an outright ban or may only allow e-cigarettes. It is best to check in advance. Please don’t throw your butts over board.
We recommend taking out insurance with Topsail Insurance they are specific to Tall ships and Sail training vessels. If you search under 'single voyages' it starts from €25 per voyage.
Do I need a Passport or photo I.D?
Yes, if your voyage is sailing to foreign shores, you will require a full passport that is valid for six months after the end of the voyage or an identity card. You will be responsible for obtaining any necessary visas. If your voyage is staying within Ireland, you don’t need a passport but a form of ID is recommended.