In the mid-1990’s, the Black Dog Tall Ships began offering our Kids Cruise sailing program on the schooner Shenandoah from Martha’s Vineyard.
Unlike traditional “sail training” these programs focus on allowing the next generation of sailors to fully immerse themselves in the life onboard with the emphasis on FUN! During their week onboard, our young passengers learn their maritime heritage, and many other life-skills of the sea. They become part of the crew… With no modern conveniences, they return to another time through the quiet sails, coal-fired stove, and hand water pumps. They rise early for deck swabbing, galley duty and hauling sails and anchor. They share the camaraderie of the Captain, the crew, their chaperones, and each other.
Onboard these traditionally rigged schooners, the professional crew cannot sail the ship themselves, so throughout the 5.5 day program the instruction that the passengers receive from the crew starts by getting everyone involved in the ship’s operation. Through this active hands-on participation the mystery of these tall ships dissolves and they become home.
Every day allows for further instruction from the crew. Subjects and skills including: basic seamanship, navigation, “marlinspike” rope work, small-boat handling are taught during the program but the goal of each day onboard is setting sail and cruising southeast New England’s pristine coast.
This is certainly one of the world’s amazing summer camps. It combines two of America’s finest schooners afloat with some of its best sailing coast and conditions along with our unique approach to carrying our young passengers.
We strive to make their week onboard the best of their summers if not their lives.