Practical Square Rig Seamanship Sail Training Course

May 22 - June 4, 2018

This Atlantic Ocean crossing (sail training course) has taken place from May 22 until June 4, 2018.
Are you curious about the sailing trips we currently offer? Every year a number of adventure sailing trips are organized by the Clipper Stad Amsterdam. Whether you are an experienced sailor or not, we are more than pleased to invite you to join our crew on one of these adventures. More information about our adventurous sailing trips on our website.

Practical Square Rig Seamanship Sail Training Course

Twice a year the Clipper Stad Amsterdam sails across the Atlantic Ocean. This spring the first leg of the Ocean crossing will be from Miami to Horta. After a short stop at the Azores, the Clipper Stad Amsterdam will continue to sail across the Atlantic Ocean with destination London. 

Ocean crossings are always special but this one all the more!

For the first time since she was launched in 2000, the Clipper Stad Amsterdam will provide a 14-day sail training course in close cooperation with Enkhuizen Nautical College. Based upon the broad experience of both the college and the Clipper crew, the Practical Square Rig Seamanship Sail Training Course will be ideal for tall ship sailors and yachtsmen as well as a wide group of sailors and classic ship lovers who like to gain experience and know-how.

Enkhuizer Nautical College
Enkhuizer Nautical College
Enkhuizer Nautical College

non-stop sailing

On May 23 early in the morning we will leave Horta to start our non-stop voyage of 1600 nautical miles to London, England. 

Horta is located on the island of Faial in the western part of the Archipelago of the Azores and is accessible because of the international airport. The city has many wonderful view points and features a rich amount of monumental architecture. The marina is a primary stop for yachts crossing the Atlantic, and its walls, and walkways are covered in paintings created by mariners who noted the names of their vessels, crews, and the years they visited.

After one last glance at the spectaculair Azores islands it is time to roll up the sleeves. The sail training course will begin! 

Practical Square Rig Seamanship

Experience the deep sense of satisfaction that celestial navigation offers. Practice using a sextant to determine your position while at sea. Learn about coastal navigation when making landfall. Study the basics of weather systems, ocean currents and climatology and gain an understanding of tropical cyclones and cyclone navigation. Learn about the development of sailing ships, hulls and rigging and immerse yourself in the essentials of sailing.

Eef Willems, teacher at Enkhuizen Nautical College and captain/owner of the sailing vessel Tooluka, will share her knowledge about navigation, meteorology and history & square rig sailing in actual lessons and practical exercises. At the beginning of the trip a course manual will be provided. Around two hours a day will be spent on theory courses in the Long Room. 

The captain, officers & deck crew of Clipper Stad Amsterdam will be in charge of the practical training & instructions on deck. Together with the crew you will be part of the watch system groups to fully experience the works on a ship like Stad Amsterdam. Setting the sails, keeping lookout, setting the course or standing watch. The three shifts are called the Red Watch (from 12- 4 AM and PM), the White Watch (from 4-8 AM and PM) and the Blue Watch (from 8-12 AM and PM).

The overall program will be concluded with a ceremony and presentation of a certificate of attendance.

Training Outline


  • Basic knowledge of navigation
  • Working with the sextant 
  • Altitude corrections
  • Declination and Noon latitude
  • Time calculation
  • GHA - LHA
  • Tabular sight reduction
  • Plotting a position
  • Moon - Stars - Planets
  • Principles of coastal navigation


  • General circulation on earth - Coriolis
  • Low and high pressure areas
  • Ocean currents 
  • Sailing routes
  • Tropical cyclones

History and theory of square rig sailing

  • Historical development of sailing ships
  • Theory: sail plan and lateral plan 
  • True and apparent wind
  • Heavy weather sailing

Practical Square rig sailing

  • Line handling & organisation (the system behind the Pin Rail Diagram)
  • Sail handling
  • Manoeuvring under sail
  • Lookout duties
  • Steering
  • Rig Maintenance & skills

Navigational instruments 

  • Short principals of the function of and the theory behind the main navigational instruments
  • Practical use of the navigational instruments


Routing and sail planning (daily presentations by the captain)

  • Planning the voyage taking into account wind and currents (long & short term)
  • Different sources of information on wind and currents
  • Sail planning (long & short term)
  • Progress of the voyage
  • Evaluation of sail manoeuvres
  • Planning of departure & arrival (formalities and manoeuvring)

Ship Board organisation

  • People in key functions explain their tasks and responsibilities (officers, engineers, hotel manager, bosun, head of housekeeping, quartermasters)
  • Basic knowledge about implementation of the ISM (International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention) and ships procedures
  • Explanation of the ships planned maintenance system

Arrival in London

Arrival in London is scheduled for late afternoon on June 3. After 14 days at sea learning all about sailing a full rigged ship you will set foot ashore again. This unforgettable sailing experience has come to an end. High time to explore England's capital city!

Horta - London

Eef Willems - Enkhuizen Nautical College

Eef Willems was originally trained to be a physical education teacher. Already at the age of 16 she started as an instructor at a Dutch sailing school. Since 1985 she has been working in the charter sailing business. Anxious about learning how to navigate with a sextant she sailed her first ocean crossing in 1987. Three years later she started teaching at the Enkhuizen Nautical College after having succesfully completed several charter sailing diplomas. The combination of teaching students about instruments, weather conditions, rigging plus practical navigation and commercial sailing was an ideal one. Every year she sails with guests on her own yacht "Tooluka" to Antarctic or Arctic waters for six months and works as a Lecturer (Coastal and Celestial) Navigation at the Enkhuizen Nautical College during the remaining months. From 2001 to 2004 she worked as 1st officer on the Clipper Stad Amsterdam.

Moritz Kuhlenbäumer - Clipper Stad Amsterdam

Moritz has sailed and operated traditional sailing ships since 1993. After one year as a deckhand and several years as a skipper on Dutch waters, he left for the Baltic Sea and the Caribbean. Moritz has sailed all over the world on a variety of large sailing ships and in almost every thinkable position: sailor, engineer, nautical officer and captain.

Between 2007 and 2012, Moritz sailed on the Clipper Stad Amsterdam as second officer for one year and as first officer for four years. In June 2015, he became one of the two captains on board the Stad Amsterdam.