Sailing School Program Martha’s Vineyard

Since the early 1990’s, the Black Dog Tall Ships has offered one-of-a-kind educational sailing programs onboard its fleet of schooners.

flagThe ships become platforms for schools, classes and organizations with the lessons and instructions centered on the existing elements onboard the traditional schooners. During their time onboard, not only do the students learn how to sail the ship through active participation led by the crew, but lessons and a special curriculum teach the following core subjects: social studies, mathematics, science, language arts, music and art.

The schooners Shenandoah and Alabama are both products of the island of Martha’s Vineyard. In a community with such a rich maritime history, the Black Dog Tall Ships began its commitment to this Sailing School program to allow those who grow up here the opportunity to experience and appreciate this. To this end, and since 1993 we have offered a special rate and program for all the island’s fifth grade classes. Sailing with their classmates for a week onboard our ships, these lucky 11-year-old children immerse themselves in a lifestyle and environment that children their age would have been well-versed in a century earlier. The perspective of Martha’s Vineyard fading behind them while cruising eastward on Nantucket Sound, or while on anchor within miles from their homes in nearby Tarpaulin Cove fosters an understanding of the natural gifts and resources available to them by living on this special island, which may not have been available otherwise. All island children should be afforded the opportunity to sail on these Tall Ships.

Now with the expansion of the Black Dog brand to communities throughout New England and the East, the Black Dog Tall Ships has expanded the scope of its outreach and commitment to include schools and organizations within these same communities and beyond. Since the very inception of his company, Captain Douglas’s mission has been to share his magnificent ships, the joy and the lessons of life under sail. The Black Dog Tall Ships Sailing School is the vehicle for continuing this mission and proudly offers these programs at significantly discounted rates compared to our regularly-priced “Kids Cruise” summer camps.


Thank you for providing an enormous gift to the kids of Martha’s Vineyard! My daughter was with the Chilmark School group on the SHENANDOAH last week and she is still singing sea shanties as she moves throughout her days at home. There is so much to say about what she has brought home with her from that week, it is hard to know where to begin. Spending a week with you and your crew, and learning about life on the sea is a memory my daughter will have with her for life – and how lucky is she! Thank you for sharing your passion with our children. – Hillary Keene

Thank you for letting us sail on the ALABAMA. It was really fun! I hope we might be able to go another time next year! I liked going sailing on the ALABAMA and I loved it when the boat heeled. Thank you so much, I loved it! – Student from Chilmark School