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Life on board

When you decide to join us one of our voyages, you will be doing so as part of the voyage crew. This means that EUROPA’s permanent crew will train you to be a sailor. No experience is needed, our crew will learn you everything along the way. Everyone is welcome to take the helm, set sails, assist with maneuvers, navigation, weather observations, furling the sails on the yards and much more. The permanent crew will give lectures and instruct you during the voyage in steering, navigation and sail handling. This will be done in a ‘Dutch’ style, so without yelling, blowing whistles or uniforms.

We take a maximum of 48 voyage crew members on board and on Antarctica trips a total of 40 guests. Together with 16 permanent crew members you will form the crew of Bark EUROPA. Unlike going on a cruise, on board Bark Europa you will be going on a hands-on, active sailing adventure. You will be 'on watch' for four hours after which you have eight hours of free time. 

During you time on watch you will share the tasks of steering the ship and standing on look out with your fellow watchmates. During your eight hours ‘off watch’ there is plenty of time to rest and enjoy the scenery. You can read a book in the library or in the deckhouse, the bar will be open for drinks and the crew will be giving lectures on various subjects, such as traditional sailor skills, astronomy or oceanographic science. If you want to keep busy, you can also assist the permanent crew with maintenance jobs and the galley team sometimes asks for a hand when peeling potatoes or apples on deck. In the deckhouse there will be people playing games, reading books, listening to music, writing diaries and emails. Your off-watch time is for you to fill in, you may do as little or as much as you like.

Teamwork is key

One hour on board Bark EUROPA and it will instantly be clear: “teamwork” has to be the key to this beautiful traditional sailing vessel, powered by canvas and cooperation. No winches but an infinity of lines; at first glance a complete jungle. The hundreds of blocks look like spiders in their webs. The novice sailor will be introduced to these matters every day and, after a few weeks, all those lines, blocks, stays, booms with their impossible names and functions become an open book.

The mix of beginners and more experienced tall ship sailors creates a learning atmosphere on board where each person can contribute in their own way to the team which is needed to keep the ship sailing.

Mixed international voyage crew

On each trip we enjoy the company of an international crew and voyage crew. Having up to fourteen different nationalities on board during a voyage is no exception. This creates a mix of people that might have many different visions on the world, different backgrounds and different ages that can lead to interesting talks or discussions. At the same time, everyone is united in their dream to sail the oceans. Your social background doesn’t matter anymore. On board you work together as one team to sail the ship. Most of our sailors come as individuals but we happily welcome couples and groups of friends too. Some are used to solo travelling, while others are taking the plunge for the first time. You will not be alone in your excitement, hopes and fear.

With all those different languages on board we have one common language: English. All communication and instructions are given in English. A basic understanding of English is required to be able to communicate with your fellow crewmates but more importantly to understand the (safety) instructions of the crew.

The average age on board varies as well. We have voyage crew on board from the age of 15 but also voyage crew up to the age of mid-60 years old. The most important factor to sign up for a voyage on board Bark EUROPA is being healthy, having enough strength in your arms and legs and be willing to participate in the watch system. The level of participation will depend on your interest and physical condition. Some are always high up in the mast while others prefer the duties on deck.