This expedition will open for bookings on October 27th at 12:00H Amsterdam time.
From New Caledonia, we embark on an extraordinary 56-day South Pacific crossing to Las Malvinas/the Falkland Islands, a voyage that offers a true test of endurance and seamanship. Sailing from 50 degrees south in the Pacific Ocean to 50 degrees south in the Atlantic Ocean, we'll aim to achieve an official rounding of Cape Horn. However, on this journey, nothing is certain: it is the ultimate adventure!
Our route will be entirely shaped by the unpredictable forces of currents and winds, with the ultimate goal: successfully rounding Cape Horn! To accomplish this feat, we will rely solely on the power of our sails. This demanding voyage will require the full dedication and hard work of every man and woman on board. It will be a very challenging journey that will push everyone's limits to the extreme.
Given the intensity of this voyage, we have implemented a slightly stricter booking process. Fitness is of great importance, and this adventure is exclusively suitable for experienced and physically fit sailors. We will ask potential sailors to answer additional questions and fill out a health statement which has to be signed by their doctor/physician. We will ask for your previous sailing experience. For further information, please contact our shipping office.
Remember, this journey demands unwavering endurance—both physical and mental. It's not a sprint; it's a marathon. Embrace the challenge, push your limits, and emerge stronger.
This journey sets sail from the picturesque city of Nouméa, the vibrant capital of New Caledonia. Soon you will experience that New Caledonia is a fascinating fusion of cultures, of French sophistication and Pacific Island charm.
Situated on the main island of Grande Terre, Nouméa is a bustling hub where more than a third of New Caledonia's population resides. The city beautifully showcases the French influence in the archipelago.
As you explore the rest of New Caledonia, you'll be surrounded by nature's wonders. The islands are renowned for their lush rainforests, where ancient trees tower to the sky and an array of mosses and ferns fill the grounds. The purity of the air here is unparalleled, making it a haven for diverse flora and fauna.
Kanak traditions and ceremonies can be experienced throughout the islands, providing a unique opportunity to connect with local culture. Beyond nature, Nouméa boasts a thriving culinary scene. Seafood, fresh and abundant, is part of every menu alongside tropical fruits and pastries. The capital city also offers cultural experiences, including museums like 'Tjibaou Cultural Centre' and 'Musee de Nouvelle-Caledonie' that provide insights into the rich heritage of the region.
While you prepare to set sail, you'll find that Nouméa is the perfect gateway to the extraordinary adventure that awaits you.
Following your embarkation in New Caledonia, we'll set sail to the vast ocean, embarking on an adventure on the Southern Ocean on board Bark EUROPA. This experience will not only provide you with insights into the sailor's life of the past but will also immerse you in the challenges of such a journey these days. Despite the modern safety, navigation, and communication equipment on board, you will experience the challenges of day-to-day life at sea, in extreme weather conditions, of the daily routines that are part of your voyage for 56 days. The simplicity of life will be enduring but also a rare opportunity to find tranquillity.
However, this simplicity should not be mistaken for calmness. On the contrary, between standing watch at the helm or lookout and handling the sails, there's always something new to learn and maintenance tasks to be completed. This voyage offers you the chance to truly delve into the theory and practice of tall ship sailing, encompassing sail handling, rigging, maintenance, navigation, and much more.
Without internet or mobile connection and free from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you'll be left with the endless expanse of blue all around, your destination, and the present moment shared with your fellow sailors, nothing more and nothing less. The rhythm of life during an ocean crossing will both soothe your mind and strengthen your resilience. Wind and weather will have you furling, unfurling, bracing, trimming, setting sail, and taking away sail in the stormy seas of the Southern Ocean. For a Dutchman, it's like traversing mountains while walking from Port to Starboard, as conditions on this crossing can be very demanding.
This simplicity of life and the ultimate connection of feeling nature’s power are what define this experience. The ever-present, towering waves that appear and vanish beneath us, the feeling of vulnerability in the face of nature's magnificence, the indescribable beauty of ocean sunrises and sunsets, the countless stars illuminating the night sky, the diverse wildlife, and the myriad shades of blue all combine to create a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
And during those nights when the world is cloaked in the darkest blue, while the stars silently gaze, the moon murmurs, and the sun illuminates distant horizons, we will persist in our work. The wind will remain our faithful companion, propelling us relentlessly forward across the vast expanse of the Pacific, toward the legendary Cape Horn.
It's important to note that sailing around Cape Horn is not to be taken lightly, and it's often considered one of the most challenging passages in the world. Even with the best preparations and adherence to guidelines, it remains an unpredictable venture. We ask sailors who join us to be experienced with being at sea for multiple days and to be physically fit to handle extreme conditions at sea.
Cape Horn, renowned for its iconic lighthouse, lies at the southernmost tip of South America. Among sailors, it holds a distinguished place as one of the world's three great capes, alongside the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin. Discovered and initially circumnavigated in 1616 by the Dutch mariner Willem Schouten, it was named Kaap Hoorn, paying homage to the Dutch city of Hoorn. Cape Horn commands a notorious reputation, as it marks the northern boundary of the treacherous Drake Passage. Named after the British seafarer Sir Francis Drake, this passage stands as the narrowest corridor in the expansive Southern Ocean, bridging the gap between Antarctica and South America. The weather in this confined expanse can be unforgiving, characterized by relentless winds and challenging conditions.
The prevailing winds and currents that circulate through the Southern Ocean converge here, unhindered by landmasses that typically redirect their course. Upon approaching Cape Horn, these weather systems funnel through this narrow channel, met with the obstruction of solid landmasses. For this reason, many sailors know these waters from hundreds of brave stories and to experience them on board a traditional square rigger will be something is truly special. Be ready to practise all you have learned in the last month, be ready to truly test your sea legs, be ready to act on a moment’s notice and brave the weather around Cape Horn.
During the attempt of rounding Cape Horn, everybody on board will participate in the watch system and by doing so learn how to sail a square rigger around Cape Horn, hoping to become an official Cape Horn sailor.
Back in the days when sailing ships sailed the old trade routes, Cape Horn was an infamous part of every sailor’s life. Many sailors reached rock-bottom in the harsh weather conditions of strong winds, large waves and strong currents. At the same time, sailing Cape Horn was considered quite an achievement. In 1933 a group of French captains established the Amicale des Captaines au Long Cours Cap Horniers (AICH). Their aim was to promote and strengthen ties of comradeship between men and women who embodied the distinction of having sailed around Cape Horn on a commercial sailing vessel.
The Dutch section of AICH welcome new Cape Horn sailors and honour them with a token. To be eligible for this token, you must show perseverance and actively participate in the watch system for a longer period of time on a sailing ship rounding Cape Horn by sail alone from 50 degrees south on the Pacific to 50 degrees south on the Atlantic Ocean. Be aware, that only the captain can decide whether you have worked hard enough during the Cape Horn rounding to be worthy of such a special token.
After 56 days, we will arrive on the Falkland Islands/Las Malvinas, with its striking scenery, fascinating wildlife and billowing hills. You can find Gentoo, Magellanic and rockhopper penguins, black browed albatrosses and of course large sea lion and elephant seal colonies. In total there are more than 700 islands belonging to the Falklands/Islas Malvinas, each with their own unique features and animal populations.
Onboard Bark EUROPA we call our guests 'voyage crew'. This means that EUROPA's permanent crew will train you to be a sailor. Unlike going on a cruise, on Bark EUROPA you will be going on a hands-on, active sailing adventure. You will be divided into three watches; Red watch, White watch and Blue watch, named after the colours of the Dutch flag. You will be 'on watch' for four hours after which you have eight hours of free time.
During your four hours on watch there will be different tasks that will be divided between the members of your watch. There will always be two people on helm duty. You will together, maintain a steady course on the helm. The crew will explain how to steer the ship and what to look out for. During the watch there will also be two people on look-out duty at all times. On the bow of the ship, you will stand look-out. You spot ships, buoys, debris, and icebergs in the water then communicate this to the officer on watch. The rest of the watch members will be on deck duty.
The permanent crew will give you sail training and you will assist in all sail handling. The captains and officers of Bark Europa are easy to talk to and like to get involved in your sail training. They will explain traditional- as well as modern ways of navigation. They will organize and run you through safety drills and procedures. During your eight hours 'off watch', there is 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 a drink and a snack.
The crew will be giving lectures on various subjects, from traditional sailors skills and knowledge to science and astronomy. During your time off watch, you can still assist the permanent crew and the voyage crew 'on watch' with sail handling and maintenance jobs. The galley team sometimes asks for a hand peeling potatoes or apples on deck so they can make yet another of their famous pies. 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 would like. These hours are also for you to catch up on your sleep. When you are setting sails, reading or working away on deck, in the galley they are always busy preparing meals to keep everyone well fed. Meals will be served three times a day with coffee and tea times in between.
Have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.