Many yachtsmen want to extend their sailing experience to commercial gaff sail by training aboard EXCELSIOR, for which we do not charge any more than the standard voyage fees – even though EXCELSIOR is one of only a handful of large gaffers under the British Flag that are authentically rigged (as opposed to having been re-spared and converted to yachts).

The skipper can sign log books for those wishing to clock up their sea time, and training and learning aboard EXCELSIOR is infinitely cheaper than owning your own vessel, as any yacht owner will tell you!

For anyone seeking work in sail training vessels, voluntary or otherwise, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have certain minimum qualification requirements. In EXCELSIOR’s case all signed on crew members must have completed a Survival at Sea course and have a current ML5 Medical. A Disclosure & Barring Service Enhanced Certificate is also required by organisations like the Excelsior Trust that deal with young people. Offshore and Ocean Yacht Masters’ tickets are of no value in the industry unless they are for sail and have a Commercial Endorsement.

However, the main part of a seaman’s job in the commercial world is the ongoing maintenance of their ship, and it is in doing the winter refit work that most people start to learn how to maintain a Small Commercial Vessel like EXCELSIOR. At the Excelsior Trust we uniquely have a ‘passport’ system in which to record experience gained towards being an ‘able seaman’ i.e. a crew member who knows enough to be able to work without constant supervision. We also reward those who have helped with the opportunity to take part in sea trials and any repositioning voyages during the season.

If you would like to join in with the very varied refit work please make contact with the skipper at the end of the sailing season in October/November.

It is often not realised that running vessels like EXCELSIOR costs in excess of £100,000 a year and the money has to be recovered during the limited sailing season. This means that every berth has to generate income, or save expenditure.

For 2014 and 2015 National Historic Ships have chartered our trainee berth as part of the Shipshape Heritage Training Programme. For more information about this unique opportunity see the Shipshape Web site.