Taking the classroom onto the open seas

Ontario Sailing welcomes Class Afloat as a new sponsor!

By the time students reach grades 11 and 12; they’ve spent a decade inside a classroom. For people who enjoy the outdoors it’s far from ideal to spend all day in a desk, watching the seasons change through a window.

But what if you could change that? What if you could complete grade 11 or 12 or even the first year of university, while exploring the world? What if instead of a bricks and mortar building, your school was 230 foot, three-mast, tall ship?

The adventure of a lifetime awaits in Class Afloat, one of the world’s leading experimental learning programs. During a nine-month voyage, students visit 20 ports around the world as they complete a fully accredited course load while learning to sail a three-mast tall ship.

Class Afloat 1

It is a truly one of a kind program whose goal is to broaden young people values while providing a unique life experience.

“It’s a about learning and sailing but the real education comes from understanding yourself, your place in your community and in the world,” Class Afloat President David Jones said. “While also gaining the trust and leadership required to sail a tall ship.”

While the 60 students will get a full education from the seven teachers on board, they will be sailing the ship 24/7.

“While the ship is moving,” Mr. Jones explained. “A student is at the helm. The greatest challenge is to acquire the discipline and organization required to fit the demands of your education into the time required to stand watch and sail a 230 foot ship day and night.”

Class Afloat 2

While the concept of waking up in middle of the night to do a two-hour deck watch before going back to sleep, seems hard, when everyone on board is doing the same thing, it becomes the norm. The physical demands of sailing 24/7 are worth it, however, to visit some of the most beautiful and unique ports in the world.

Students visit places like Morocco, the Canary Islands, Dakar, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town South Africa.

While the ship is sailing, class is in session but once the ship docks the program is about exploring the world’s cultures.

“In Agadir Morocco, for example, students go on a camel safari into the Sahara dessert,” David explains. “Where they will spend the night in a Bedouin camp and climb the dunes to witness the sun rising on the Sahara. They will also visit a tropical paradise island off the coast of Brazil and explore some of the worlds largest sand domes in Natal.”

Class Afloat 3

It’s all while taking a 20,000 nautical mile journey on a beautiful Class A tall ship. It’s an experience that very few people have ever had and one that all 1500 Class Afloat alumni will never forget. Why sit in a class reading about the world, when you can be out experiencing it?

For more information, please contact:

Phone 902-634-1895 or Toll Free 1-800-301-SAIL (7245)



– Submitted to Ontario Sailing for Publication