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Last minute - Sailing the North Sea

Long summer days at sea and a night watch under a starry sky!

  • 14
    days
  • 1000+
    nautical miles
  • cost €1350,- p.p.
    4/6 person cabin
  • cost €1350,- p.p.
    2 person cabin

In the middle of summer, with long days full of daylight, the Bark EUROPA sails from Harlingen over the Wadden Sea and North Sea with an unknown destination. Do you need a fresh breeze, the salty sea air, and a night watch under the starry sky? You can still join in!

This last-minute summer holiday on the North Sea is a spontaneous journey where we are open to all kinds of possibilities. The route and destination will remain a surprise, also for the crew, will be sailing just at sea and enjoy the beautiful shorelines of Norway for example or are we even able to make a landing?

Departure from Harlingen, Netherlands

We depart from Harlingen, the Netherlands, and set course for a, as yet, unknown destination for a wonderful time at sea. The first nautical miles we will sail over the Waddenzee. With a bit of luck, the wind will come from a favorable direction to immediately set a few sails. There is not much space in deep water on the Waddenzee, so our possibilities to put up all the sails is limited in the first hours. We need a bit more water to let the Europa really move.

Fortunately, there is plenty to see on the Wad. The fishing fleet, the skippers of the ‘bruine vloot’ (that is how we call our traditional sailing fleet) who can sail over the sandbanks with their flat-bottomed boats and around low tide seals can be seen on the sandbanks in the distance. To starboard a glimpse of Terschelling, to port the contours of Vlieland. We choose the open sea and sail out!

Being part of the bark EUROPA team

The voyage crew consists of solo travelers, friends, or couples of all ages and of all nationalities. All our guests have one dream in common. Finally making an active sea voyage aboard the Bark EUROPA! At the start of the voyage, you will receive a Sailors Handbook containing detailed descriptions of the ins and outs on board the EUROPA. This way you can practice with all the terms in your cabin.

After arrival on board the crew will tell you everything about the coming period at sea. This way you will quickly hear how the watch system works and what time your first watch will start. You will also receive a detailed explanation about safety on board and the crew members will introduce you to all the lines on board. They explain how to safely climb the mast and how to sail a stable course. As a voyage crew, you quickly become part of the team. By turning the watch and the friendly guidance and directions of the permanent crew, the guests can quickly set the first sails and take over the helm, even without any prior experience. All fellow crew sails the ship together, a really close team is born.

One of the things that makes the EUROPA unique is its traditional rigging. The imposing masts and yards with dozens of sails and miles of rope make many new guests dizzy. And yet…. After a few days, you will get used to all the ropes around you and you will discover the logic of putting a staysail up and trimming the square sails, which is quite impressive from deck!

The watches

All guests participate in the watch system. You are on watch for four hours, after which you have eight hours of free time. Together with the permanent crew, the captain ensures a balanced watch with enough manpower every hour of the day to set sails, climb the masts and sail maneuvers. And not to forget, the permanent crew ensures enough rest hours for every person on board!

During the four hours on watch, there are always two people at the helm and two on the lookout. The crew will teach everyone how to keep course and speed and what to keep an eye on as a 'lookout' on the foredeck. In any case, you pay attention to other shipping traffic, buoys, and also animals in the water and immediately let the officer on duty know if you see anything special. The other members of the guard help on deck. You will set and trim sails and untie or roll in sails high above the deck. Together you trim the sails as soon the wind direction or course changes.

As soon as your watch is over, there is plenty of time to rest. For example with a book from the ship's library. Of course you can also socialize in the deckhouse, play a game of cards and have a drink at the bar with the fellow crew members. It's amazing every time how much knowledge everyone takes on board. That makes for very interesting conversations!

The North Sea

At night you have an important task on the lookout. Much of the North Sea is a busy sailing area and if you are assigned as a lookout you have the task of helping the captain and mate navigate through this busy water. You see ships of all sizes and types. Fortunately, the navigation lights can be seen in the dark.

As a night watchman, you have enough time to enjoy the impressive starry sky and possibly the luminous algae in the water. This combination can create a magical light show. During the day you will certainly see the windmills that provide so many households with clean energy, the drilling platforms, all kinds of ships and with a bit of luck we will see dolphins around the ship or a whale in the distance.

After a few days you will probably have become accustomed to the movement of the ship and the routine of life at sea and you will have time to help the regular crew navigate and maintain the ship. The permanent crew can teach you everything about the maintenance of a square-rigged ship. There is always something to splice, serve, sand, sew and paint on board. If you are interested in navigation you can get acquainted with the sextant and discover all kinds of new things about sea charts and the history of navigation. The enthusiastic crew gives lectures throughout the day on topics such as navigation, sailing theory and maritime sciences.

Weather and wind will decide on our exact route, but the captain his plan is to set sail North, to sail towards the impressive Norwegian coastline. No scheduled stops, so one thing is for sure we wil have plenty of days at sea! And if we are able to make a landing it will be a bonus!

On the high seas, time is abundant to enjoy the endless waves that appear and disappear around us and the indescribable beauty of sunrises and sunsets at sea. The most beautiful places onboard? At the front of the bowsprit with the whole ship under full rigging in front of you and the wide sea behind you and…. On top of the yard. How small we are as humans at sea!

Quality time

A sea voyage with the EUROPA means that you are disconnected from your daily life and all normal contacts for a while. The rhythm of the sea determines your days and this gives, despite the enormous physical effort of sailing, a lot of rest. The tranquility ensures many relaxed conversations and certainly not only after a glass of wine, but certainly also at the helm or while sharing a lookout! Many long-lasting friendships have already been formed onboard through the shared adventure.

Respect for the sea

Respect for nature and the oceans plays an important role in the philosophy of EUROPA and its crew. We hope our guests open up to everything that happens around them. We encourage them to listen to the sounds of the ocean, the wind in our sails and the peace and tranquility around us and hope that guests will open their hearts and feel inspired to commit to nature.

During longer voyages and ocean crossings, scientists are usually onboard the ship to conduct research. In recent years, these have included oceanographers, astronomers and marine biologists.
The collaboration with universities connects our world at sea with the scientific world and this gives us the opportunity to transfer knowledge to a wider audience. This creates more awareness and creates a network of ocean experts around the world. Together with researchers, universities and companies, we have been able to collect thorough data in recent years.

Sailing in Covid times

This last-minute summer holiday on the North Sea is a spontaneous journey where we are open to all kinds of possibilities. The route and destination will remain a surprise, also for the crew, will be sailing just at sea and enjoy the beautiful shorelines of Norway for example or are we even able to make a landing? 

Besides weather we have this time the changing rules in all countries which will affect our journey. But what is certain is that we want to minimize the risk of getting COVID-19 on board. Our booking policy is therefore stricter than usual to create a safe and responsible environment on board. We do this on this trip by extensively testing all people on board before embarking, we ask guests to self-quarantine and take extra precaution for a few days before embarking and we only sail with people who have been fully vaccinated.

We will ask our guests to show Covid proof, like the Registratiekaart Coronavaccinatie. Furthermore we ask you to install the (in the Netherlands) CoronaCheck-app with a valid QR code of these vaccination(s) before departure.

In short… As one of our guests wrote: the only thing that is certain in these times is the uncertainty! This obviously requires a certain degree of flexibility from everyone!

Summary of the Covid measures for this trip:

- Due to the current world travel conditions the maximum age for sailors on this voyage is 73 years
- We ask all guests to be fully vaccinated. Please confirm this with your booking or at least 48 hours in advance by sending a travel certificate to the shipping company office.

- CoronaCheck-app installed on the phone with valid QR-code
- Guests and crew members only come on board with a negative PCR test of up to 72 hours old and send their certificate to the Office.
- On embarkation all voyage crew will have to take a rapid test, which must be negative (this is provided by the Bark Europa)
- Another PCR test may be needed if we are able to do a landing. The costs for this extra PCR test is not included in the voyage fare.
- We use flexible Covid related cancellation conditions, see our general conditions under article 6.