Pictures of Tall Ships sailing in the Tall Ships Races 2018


Practicalities concerning our unique sailing adventures

I don’t have any sailing experience, can I still join?

No problem – everybody can become a Windseeker! The experienced crew will teach you everything you need to know about life on board. From setting sails to navigating. If you’re not afraid of heights (or if you’d like to overcome your fear), you can climb the masts. Everybody helps with the daily duties on board, like cleaning the deck or assisting the cook in the galley.

If you do have some sailing experience, you can help the other Windseekers or learn new things like navigating, tying knots, etc.

How to book?

Booking with Windseeker is easy, whether you are joining a single leg, multiple Journeys on the same vessel, or even on different vessels!


Go to the page of your chosen Journey and click “Book this Journey” in the blue field on the right. You will be directed to an online form where we ask some of your personal details (like your passport number, address and birthday). These are necessary to provide harbour customs with a passenger list so please fill them out very carefully. We will also ask you to fill out the health statement in order to avoid dangerous surprises during the Journey.


What happens next?


Within two working days you will receive a reply, with booking confirmation and info on how to prepare for your journey. We’ll ask you to pay the deposit of 50% of the whole Journey rate in order to secure your place on board. You will receive information about payment in a separate email but we accept bank transfers, credit cards and cheques.


The reminder of the Journey fee is due 2 months before departure at the latest.


You will receive the latest information concerning your Journey by e-mail about one week before the voyage starts.

How can I pay for my Journey?

You will get details of payment options by email with an invoice. All Windseeker Journeys are covered by the STO Garant guarantee, so you do not pay the booking sum to Windseeker but instead into the escrow account which holds your payment in reserve until the trip booked has come to an end.


This means you will receive two emails:

  • an email from Windseeker with the invoice,
  • an email from STO Garant ( containing information about how you can pay for this booking.

At this moment, the STO accepts payments by bank transfer only. If you want to pay by credit card, we recommend using Wise. In many cases the costs for a regular bank transfer are also lower with Wise (especially international).

I just filled in the booking form, but I did not get the confirmation e-mail...

Please check the SPAM or JUNK folder of your mailbox. Especially (unfortunately) with a Hotmail e-mail adress the confirmation email ends up here. Let your mailbox know it’s safe. Then the next e-mails from us will arrive in your inbox.

What are your Terms & Conditions?

Please read our Terms and Conditions here.

What insurance do I need for my trip and my stay on board? Am I insured during my transfer to and from the ship?

A Windseeker is required to carry the following insurances:
1. Medical insurance, for your home country (and the European Health Insurance Card, if applicable),
2. Travel insurance which covers medical expenses abroad, loss of luggage and third party liability. Make sure that it includes sea sailing.

Each Tall Ship has a “Protection and Indemnity insurance” that covers you in the event you’re hurt by actions that the crew take (or fail to take).

Your travel insurance will cover your Journey from home to the ship and back. Make sure to include the travel days in the insurance coverage, not just the days you are actually on board.


Tip: Windeeker has good experience with Topsail Insurance which specializes in maritime insurance, and can cut you a tailor made policy. Unfortunately at the moment Topsail is unable to insure EU citizens.


If you cannot be insured by Topsail, we recommend you try instead your local Allianz insurance (for Dutch trainees click here). Please be aware that each country has different conditions and it’s your responsibility to ensure that the policy you’re buying meets all the requirements mentioned above.


Although not obligatory, we recommend getting a cancellation insurance as well.

What is your cancellation policy?

The full Windseeker cancellation policy is described in Article 12 of General Conditions Windseeker. Please refer to that document for details.


In case of a trainee cancellation, an administrative costs fee of € 25 will apply, as well as the following charges, depending on the time of cancellation:


  • After reservation: 15% of the total Journey price,
  • 6-5 months prior to sailing: 20%,
  • 5-4 months prior to sailing: 30%,
  • 4-3 months prior to sailing: 40%,
  • 3-2 months prior to sailing: 50%,
  • 2 months – 31 days prior to sailing: 75%,
  • 30 days or less prior to sailing: 100%.

You can find another person to replace you, provided they meet the requirements for participation.


At this point most of the vessels don’t offer free cancellation due to trainee illness, which is why we encourage you to obtain a cancellation insurance (non-obligatory).

Do I need a visa?

It depends on the area of sailing and your nationality. It’s always best to check with the foreign embassy in your own country or with your ministry for foreign affairs. There is also a handy guide here though we would recommend confirming this with the ministry anyway.

For journeys in the United States you can also check here.


Be aware that sometimes entering a country by sea will require different documents than entering by air.


Organizing travel documents is the responsibility of the trainee. If you encounter any problems, let us know.

What if my passport or ID expires before the Journey?

Please use your old document to fill out the registration form – we need to confirm your personal data – and apply for a new one as soon as possible.


As soon as you have a new document, use this online form to update it. Before you embark, we will have to send the updated information to the Ship for the official crew manifest so your data in our system has to be correct.

Can I get assistance with organising transfers to and from ports?

We understand that finding and booking the best traveling options can be difficult. Our travel counsellor Manon Eeken can book your transfers for you. Manon is a sailor and a travel agent with 25 years of experience. Contact her at +31 23 5762105

Would you rather contact a travel counsellor from your own country?  Please take a look at

What do I need to bring?

Don’t panic. We’ve drawn up a basic Kitlist to help you pack for your Journey. We also email this to you after your booking.

I have a Seaman’s book, can I use my Journey to build up sailing time?

Of course! Just bring your Seamen’s book with you and inform the captain (or mate). When you are in your port of disembarkation ask your captain to sign it off (including voyage details needed).

What happens to my personal data?

We take the security of any personal information given to us very seriously. You can find the detailed Windseeker Privacy Policy here.

Am I protected if Windseeker or my Ship becomes financially insolvent?

All Windseeker Journeys are covered by the STO Garant. This means that you do not pay the booking amount to Windseeker but instead into an escrow account. This trust account holds your payment in reserve until your journey’s end. The booking amount is then released to Windseeker on the day after your trip ends. If Windseeker or the Ship should become financially insolvent before the end of your trip, STO Garant will implement the guarantee. The Guarantee Scheme details how you can make a claim under the guarantee in such cases. You can read more about this here.

Life on Board

What is a trainee?

When you set course on a Windseeker Journey, your official rank on board is that of trainee. A trainee is non-professional crewmember onboard a Sail Training vessel, sailing the ship together with professional crewmembers.

How can I prepare for my first journey?

Go social! Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for interesting articles, pictures and videos.

Read the Kitlist carefully and make sure you’ve packed everything you need. Don’t forget the insurance!

You can also read the logs written by previous trainees and check out the article we’ve written specially for first-time trainees.

If you’re participating in an International Exchange we will invite you to a closed group where you can connect with your fellow trainees.

Most of all, though – don’t stress! Going sailing for the first time is a scary prospect, but the crew will make sure that you will feel right at home after only a couple of days on board!

What is a Tall Ship?

Well. It’s a big ship with loads of sails. No, seriously. For a good definition on what a Tall Ship is, visit the Sail on Board website.

What is Sail Training?

Sail Training is an experiential learning program where you learn by doing. Aside from practical aspects of seamanship, Sail Training teaches leadership, teamwork and responsibility. It builds confidence. Most of all, it’s a fun adventure you will remember for a long time!

To find out more go to our dedicated Sail Training page.

What is it like aboard a ship on the high seas?

At sea, you keep watch. That is more than just looking out over the water in search of land! During watch, you are responsible for the ship, together with the rest of the watch-keepers and the professional crew. Manoeuvring, climbing the masts, setting the sails, making coffee or providing a snack… Usually, there is a three-watch system aboard.
During an International Exchange, the watch-keepers are mixed as much as possible. Every watch-keeper has duty twice a day. For example, your watch could be from 08.00 to 12.00 hours and from 20.00 to 24.00 hours. On board, every day is different. The weather, the wind, the view. From sunshine to rain, and from dolphins swimming along the bow to a beautiful sunset: Windseekers know no boredom!

What is the language aboard?

The language on board most ships is English (and sometimes a mixture of all nationalities present). The crew speaks English and most teaching and instructions are in English. If you’re not a native English speaker, we’ll just explain it again in a different way or we will look within the group for somebody to translate.

What is so special about an International Exchange?

The nice thing about an International Exchange is that not only do you learn about sailing and life on board, but also get into contact with other cultures and countries. Apart from sailing, there are daily intercultural activities like games, in which all Windseekers can participate. In the harbour, you’ll get the chance to meet Windseekers from all over the world. Together, you’ll lively up the crew parade (and have even more fun at the crew party afterwards).

Since 2019 the Exchanges are operating under an additional theme: sustainability. Joining these journeys now also means conducting plastic research with marine biologist on board, doing climate actions on shore and visiting inspiring places.

Is there wi-fi on board? What about the mobile phone reception?

There is no wi-fi on board. If you participate in the Tall Ships Races or Regattas, you can use the Crew Center in ports, which has wi-fi and computers available for the trainees.

There is no mobile phone reception once you’re farther than 20 nautical miles from the shore. Enjoy your digital detox!

In case of emergency the Ships are equipped with a satellite phone – after all, safety comes first!

Unusual situations

I'd like to sail but I don't have enough money. Can you help me?

Windseekers don’t give up! We realise that Sail Training might be an expensive adventure so we’ve come up with the Windseeker Dinghy Programme. The Dinghy is an online fundraising training and mentorship which will guide you through the process of raising the funds for your own journey. Read more about the Dinghy here.


Young Windseekers can apply for the Oman Bursary scheme. It has been established in 2011 in cooperation with the Sultanate of Oman. Each year young people between 15 and 25, who would like to join the Tall Ships Races or Regattas for the first time, can apply for the coverage of the journey costs – up to €500. 100 people are awarded the bursary every year, enabling disadvantaged youth to join in the Sail Training experience.

For application form and more information email

I’m going alone, is that a problem?

No problem. A lot of people travel by themselves or with a couple of friends. It’s all part of your Journey! On a tall ship, getting to know other people takes very little time. Especially when you keep watch together. During International Exchanges there are different nationalities in one watch, which creates diversity and a lot of fun. Windseekers make friends for life!

I follow a special diet, is this a problem?

No, this is not a problem if you let us know when you’re booking.

For A-class Ships it’s easier to take into account an individual diet than for B- or C class Ships.


If you are a vegetarian almost all of the ships can provide meals for you, with Vega Gamleby offering only vegetarian food.

Halal prepared meat and vegan food is possible on some of the big A-class Ships. If you are vegan please contact us first so we can make sure the cook can prepare the right food for you.


Please be aware that some ships will charge an additional fee for a vegan diet – for details write:

I am pregnant, can I join?

It depends on which Ship and which leg you would like to sail. Not every Ship is sailing nearby a harbour or hospital, so because of the risks of pregnancy it may lead to problems on board. Please contact us to confer about the Journey and /or the Ship.

Am I too old to join Sail Training adventure?

No! Sail Training is for everyone who loves sailing on Tall Ships – or who would like to try it! As long as there are no health-related contraindications and you are reasonably fit – you’re welcome on board.

Some Ships/events have additional age restrictions which will be clearly visible in the journey descriptions.

I am 14 years old, can I join the Tall Ships Races?

No, according to the Sail Training International the minimum age for the Tall Ships Races is 15 years at the beginning of the journey.
Contact us about sailing opportunities for younger trainees.

What is your Covid-19 policy?

Our goal is to organise as many journeys as we can, but only if we can keep everyone as safe as is reasonably possible. Windseeker journeys always follow the latest official guidelines put in place by the authorities. For most vessels testing or vaccination are no longer required, but some encourage it. The specific precautions might change depending on the Ship and area of sailing.


If a journey gets cancelled by us, you will get a full refund, guaranteed by the STO Garant scheme. If you cancel your participation and the journey still takes place, the regular cancellation policy applies (see General Conditions), unless stated differently.


We advise that you get travel insurance as soon as you have booked your journey – preferably one that covers Covid-related cancellations. Cancellation insurance is not mandatory, but recommended. Book flexible tickets for your travel to and from the ship so you can easily adjust to the changing circumstances.