What is Sail Training?

Sail Training involves young people undertaking voyages on Tall Ships, effectively, as part of the working crew. Sail training must not be confused with “learning to sail”, an activity which can be undertaken by any sailing club. The operation of a sail training vessel involves a vast range of activities and tasks not found in any other activity. This includes activities such as keeping watch at night and day, climbing masts, scrubbing decks, cooking, heaving the ropes, setting the sails, navigating, maintenance, communication, operating small craft and much more. Performing these tasks, on a vessel at sea, can be very challenging for many young people and often forces many of them to confront their greatest fears. However, the safe and efficient operation of a sail training vessel requires all on board to operate as a team.

They must work together and individuals cannot shirk their responsibilities or avoid contributing to the overall workload. This encourages trainees to work and co-operate with others, to rely on others, have others rely on them, learn to use their skills to help others. This can be challenging, adventurous and great fun and leads to the creation of new friends and learning new skills. Experience with the operation of Asgard II has shown how a group of trainees, joining a vessel at the beginning of a voyage, from different parts of the country, social backgrounds, educational and skill levels, cultural or religious beliefs, become a cohesive team with enhanced respect for each other, friendships often formed for life and a greater appreciation of their own abilities, at the end of the voyage. Many trainees have described their experience on a tall ship as life-changing”.

The purpose is to allow trainees the opportunity to experience an adventure that often has a profound effect on their outlook on life and allows them to reach their full potential. It inspires a good working ethic, motivation, confidence, resilience, a sense of adventure, and in some cases new maritime-career horizons. The challenges that arise from life at sea encourage trainees out of their comfort zones creating a valuable opportunity for developing attitudes, understanding and both soft and hard skills such as interpersonal skills, confidence and a working ethic. The attitudes, understanding and skills learned, often become valuable attributes in the trainees’ daily lives at home, school, college and work.

Sail Training is available for all age groups from 16 years upwards. The core focus of Sail Training Ireland is on the youth category of 16-30 where the greatest benefits are achieved. Our aim is to make this opportunity available to as many young people in Ireland as possible, particularly those of limited means or with physical or intellectual challenges. We are not however limited to this age category and provide information and advice for all age groups above 16 years. No previous experience is required and various abilities can be catered for.