The International Award For Young People The Netherlands

The mission of Windseeker is to provide young people with a Tall Ship sailing experience which will benefit them for the rest of their lives. We enhance nautical and personal skills, improve confidence and teach personal responsibility following an internationally-recognised Sail Training program.

The participants of the Golden level International Award now have the opportunity to do their Adventurous Journey and Residential Project with Windseeker.

We offer multiple-day Journeys on traditional Tall Ships. The participants are called trainees and they are active members of the crew. They live, work and relax together, creating a mini-society on board. They learn by doing, slowly taking on more and more responsibility for sailing the Ship.

Sail Training

Teamwork makes the dream work - and nowhere is it as clear as when sailing a Tall Ship together! Being a trainee on board means participating in all aspects of sailing the Ship: from steering and navigating, hoisting the sails and climbing the masts, to helping in the galley and cleaning. Together, in watches, day and night - sailing towards the common goal.

Learning by doing, making mistakes in a safe way, and correcting them - these are the main principles of Sail Training. Trainees improve their leadership and teamwork skills, improve their sense of responsibility, and see that their actions have real-life influence while sailing the Ship. There's no pretend here, every task is important, every person contributes.

Sustainability

Sailing and sustainability go together like dolphins and waves! Certain actions, optional on land, are absolutely necessary on board a Ship. Limited amount of fresh water means short showers, and the question of long-term waste storage necessitates smart solutions. Of course, we also harness the power of the wind in its most beautiful form.

In recent years we have partnered with The Ocean Movement organisation. Our youth Journeys include a marine biologist on board, who leads plastic research of the seas. The trainees learn about about marine wildlife, engage in coastal cleanups and come up with practical solutions for everyday environmental issues.

Dinghy

Dinghy is a small boat which brings people to a Ship. Windseeker Dinghy does that metaphorically - by enabling everyone to sail, no matter their financial situation. It's a fundraising and personal development program, in which trainees, divided into small teams, are led by an experienced coach towards raising the money for their own Journey.

During that process, the participants identify their own strengths and learn to capitalise on them. They build up self-confidence and entrepreneurship and become more self-reliant. These are lifelong skills, which will come in handy many times in the future - and the sense of accomplishment is an amazing feeling!

Practical questions

How do you know that your program works?

We have over 15 years of experience in organising youth projects on Tall Ships. During that time we’ve heard numerous stellar reviews by trainees and parents alike, and we’ve witnessed many trainees grow from first-timers to more confident returning participants, to mentors, crew members or local youth leaders.

Anecdotes aside, “The Characteristics and Value of the Sail Training Experience” research conducted by the University of Edinburgh supports those claims, and underlines the long-term positive effects of the program. You can read about its conclusions here.

What's on offer?

Full board, Sail Training activities, the care of a mentor, sustainable research and education program with marine biologist on board, Dinghy fundraising program.

Back office: separate web page for your project only, promotional materials such as presentations, flyers or videos, registering trainees, negotiations with the ship.

What do the participants have to bring?

A passport, possibly international ID – to be discussed, depending on nationality of trainees and countries visited (sailing to the UK across the North Sea is a really nice adventure!)

Travel insurance that covers offshore sailing, as well as a document confirming health insurance (e.g. European Health Insurance Card).

Plus: warm, wateproof and wind-resistant clothes, packed in a soft bag, sports shoes, towels, etc. See example kitlist here.

What is life on board like?

Life on board a Tall Ship is intense and fun! The Ship sails day and night, and so do the trainees – divided into watches, they take over the sailing activities twice a day, usually in a “4 hours on, 8 hours off” system. Of course there’s a lot of free time in between: enough to get some sleep and make new friends!

Shy? Don’t worry! Our mentor will make sure that everybody’s having a good time. They will organise games and be there to listen in case of some personal struggles.

Windseeker is an approved activity provider for the International Award