The ship EUROPA was built in 1911 to serve as lightship on the river Elbe in Germany and brought to the Netherlands in 1986 to be completely rebuilt as a barque (three mast rigged ship). Since 1994 EUROPA was fully restored and since then roams the seas of the world in the best seafaring tradition. Bark EUROPA is a special purpose sail training ship and sails with a voyage crew and permanent crew. The sailing trips are for everyone who, regardless of sailing experience, wants to experience the adventure of sailing over the seas and oceans on a tall ship. The mix of different ages and nationalities among the crew and guests creates an international atmosphere on board.
Bark EUROPA is a sail training vessel and we call our guests '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. Unlike going on a cruise, on 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.
The permanent crew will give you sail training and you will assist in all sail handling. This involves setting- and taking away the sails by hauling- and easing lines, climbing the rigging to furl or unfurl the sails. You will see that after your weeks on board EUROPA you will disembark as full-fledged tall ship sailor.
Bark EUROPA is best known for her Antarctica expeditions which she undertakes every year between November and March. From Argentina's southernmost point, the ship crosses the infamous Drake Passage on her way to Antarctica. Dolphins, albatrosses, petrels, hunters, terns and gulls will accompany us along the way. After a few days we reach the South Shetland Islands, just north of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our journey of discovery can begin. In Antarctica we anchor in sheltered bays almost every day and go ashore to view the glaciers, lichens, seals and penguin colonies. In these waters we will also meet different whale species, the most loyal visitors of the Southern Ocean. Sailing to Antarctica is a unique adventure that you won’t ever forget. Being able to visit the wildness and pure wonder of Antarctica and to see the beautiful creatures in their natural habitat will be a memory for life and hopefully an inspiration in protecting our planet.
In between the Antarctic seasons, Bark EUROPA prefers to do what she does best, wandering the oceans, following the traditional sailing routes. These crossings will give you a taste of what tall ship sailing is like at its most spectacular. Some voyages will be in rough waters, others in calmer waters. Imagine filling your days with playing around with stun sails, going to sail training lectures outside on the sunny main deck or helping out with maintenance projects. Colorful sunsets and new-found friends will give us some memorable evenings and after sunset the watches continue throughout the night, when you and your watch mates will continue to keep course under a sky full of stars.
Every summer gather famous tall ships and international crews in Europe to test their sailing skills during the Tall Ship Races, the biggest international ocean races for sail training vessels in the world. Both at sea and in port the tall ships races are a real sailor’s treat. During the race the ship and crew will be challenged to perform to the very best of their abilities in order to finish first. Sail racing is all about teamwork, excitement and strategic thinking for that one shared goal. Whenever our sailing schedule allows us, we like to test our strength against the other tall ships, show the beauty of tall ship sailing and invite young and old to participate in this highlight of the Northern Summer.
Respect for the oceans plays an important role in the philosophy of EUROPA and its crew. In addition to sailing training, we therefore try to increase the awareness of the trainees during our travels and to draw more attention to the ocean and the dangers it faces every day. We hope to inspire our trainees with lectures on board and inviting researchers to sail with us on our travels. The ship often travels in areas hardly visited by other ships and can therefore contribute to the collection of important data related to weather forecasting and climate change. EUROPA is often involved in various research projects and we are always looking for new ways to contribute to a sustainable future.