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Adventures Under Sail: An Eco-Friendly Holiday


Posted on: 28.01.17

World travellers recognise the impact that their journeys have on our environment. And, with sustainable, eco-friendly holidays and travel becoming more important, we thought we’d take a look at how the Blue Flag Scheme can help keep our oceans clean during adventures under sail…

What is the Blue Flag?

The Blue Flag programme is one of the world’s leading environmental certifications that is trusted by millions of people. It was introduced by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to promote clean beaches and marinas. Since its creation in 1987 as the European Blue Flag, it has grown and grown, and in 2001 it expanded to the International Blue Flag. It’s now recognised around the world as a sure standard of environmentally friendly destinations.

Sail On Board and the Blue Flag Scheme

In 2011, Sail Training International began working with the FEE to extend the Blue Flag programme to include sailing training vessels. When a vessel signs up to the Blue Flag Scheme, they agree to follow commitments to the environment which include educating their crew on environmental behaviour on board and committing to best practice which protects the seas they sail on. You can find a full list of these actions on The Environment and Blue Flag page.

There are currently more than 50 vessels signed up to our Blue Flag Scheme from around the world, and you can spot them by the actual Blue Flag they fly from their masts. To make sure your adventure under sail protects the environment look out for the Blue flag logo on the vessel pages.

Blue Flag Registered Vessels

To give you an idea of what you can expect from some of our Blue Flag vessels, here are a few that will be taking part in our events this year.

Picton Castle  (Cook Islands)

Picton Castle (Cook Islands) was built in 1928 and has a fascinating history as a Second World War minesweeper with the British Navy. On board, you can expect to sail with 12 permanent members of crew and up to 40 trainees like yourself.

Interesting facts about Picton Castle:

  • She carries more than 12,000 square feet of canvas sail when at sea – that’s more than six tennis courts.
  • She delivers supplies and educational materials to far-flung islands in the South Pacific.
  • She was once lifted clean out of the water when a mine exploded below her during the Second World War.

What Her Crew Says…

“Trainees stand watch alongside professional crew members and learn through hands-on work aboard Picton Castle. We preserve traditional seamanship skills and pass them on to interested crew members.”

Oosterschelde  (The Netherlands)

Oosterschelde (The Netherlands) has a great story to tell as she is taking part in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta to celebrate her 100 year birthday. Unlike other Tall Ships which are replicas, Oosterschelde is a fully restored sailing monument – a real piece of history.

Interesting facts about Oosterschelde:

  • She is the largest restored Dutch sailing ship.
  • She is named after the River Shelde that runs from France, through Belgium, and into the Netherlands.
  • Her sailing trips take her right around the world to destinations as far as Japan, New Zealand and the Arctic Island, Svalbard, in Norway.

What Her Crew Says…

“It’s the wind that pushes the ship forward, but it is the commitment and skills of the crew that will make the difference. In a relatively small group of 24 trainees and eight crew, you are not just a number and there is time and attention for every person.”

Are you interested in getting an eco-friendly adventure at sea? Head over to our events page and find out what Tall Ships Races and Regattas you could take part in…

Gulden Leeuw  (The Netherlands)

This ship was built in 1937 on behalf of the Danish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and has the deck layout of a classic yacht. She has a rich history – she sailed as a researcher, supplier and even as a training ship for a Danish nautical college.

Interesting facts about Gulden Leeuw:

  • Her Captain’s Lounge has a fully working open fire.
  • Her big dining room can function as a dancehall, seminar room or dormitory.
  • The main deckhouse houses a full bar.

What Her Crew Says…

“We believe it should be your vessel and your challenge. Our program makes it possible to find out what you like and where your qualities and personal challenges lie. The ultimate goal is for the trainees to take over the ship.”

• Visit www.guldenleeuw.com/en/rdv-2017-tall-ships-regatta to book your place.

Worried About The Cost?

We know that the holiday season can be super expensive, and that some of you might be worried about covering the cost of your adventure. Don’t panic – there are lots of options available to you.

Check out our Support section for information on fundraising, our bursaries and scholarships, how Rotary International could help, and how you can become a Host Port Trainee.

Check out our event pages for more information, the participating vessels, and to book your place. And if you need help just email enquiries@sailonboard.com – our friendly team is ready to help. We hope to ‘sea’ you soon!