The Tom Crisp Sailing Scholarships 2019

Applications for the 2019 Scholarships have now closed.

Awarded by The Excelsior Trust for up to four young people from Norfolk and Suffolk, for a 25-day sailing adventure during July and August 2019


The Scholarships will enable up to four young people the opportunity to sail for 25 days with Excelsior this summer from Lowestoft to The South Coast of England, the Channel Islands and to Brittany, visiting the Paimpol International Festival 2nd– 4th August, which attracts thousands of enthusiasts and many traditional craft and tall ships.

Excelsior will leave her port of Lowestoft on 21stJuly and is expected to return by 15th August. Dates are always subject to weather conditions.


The 2019 sailing scholarships are named after Thomas Crisp VC, DSC, RNR, the heroic and distinguished skipper of the (armed) Lowestoft Smack ‘Nelson’, who lost his life in World War One whilst engaged with German U Boats in The North Sea. Tom Crisp is remembered in Lowestoft with great civic pride and affection.


Sailing on Excelsior can be physically demanding and mentally challenging. Applicants should be aged between 16 and 24 and live in Norfolk and Suffolk. No previous sailing experience is required, but applications are encouraged from individuals who have an enthusiasm for the opportunity, and an ability to take individual responsibility as part of a crew.

Successful applicants will require a valid UK Passport, and those who are under 18 at the time of the voyage must provide a letter of consent from a Parent or Guardian. Applicants will be selected for interview on June 22nd and the interviews will take place in Lowestoft, or by FaceTime or Skype if it is difficult for applicants to travel on that day. Excelsior will be in port on that day, if you would like to visit her.


Apart from experiencing confidence-building voyages at sea under the tuition of a professional Skipper, successful applicants will gain valuable skills in crewing a traditional sailing vessel. These duties will include being part of the daily watch, running the deck and all sail changes. New crew will receive a practical introduction to Navigation, experience of the Engine Room and an introduction to traditional Sail Making, including Rope work and Splicing.

At the end of the voyage successful applicants will gain The Royal Yachting Association’s ‘Start Yachting’ and ‘Competent Crew’ certificates and the opportunity to build a significant log of sea miles towards higher RYA certificates. Applicants will be asked to submit a written Log, Vlog or Blog describing their experiences on board, with feedback, some weeks after the voyage. A prize for the best account will be awarded.


Excelsior has a length of over 23m, a beam of 6m and a max draught of 2.8m. The working sail area is 250.8 sq metres or 2,700 sq feet. She is the last of the traditional North Sea fishing smacks still sailing out of Lowestoft, and is on The UK’s Historic Ships Register. Built in 1921 in Lake Lothing as a gaff-ketch rigged sailing trawler, Excelsior has been authentically restored, and since 1988 has been providing unique sail-training experiences for young people from schools and colleges, and for private sailing enthusiasts.


Excelsior has been a teaching ship for over 30 years and carries all the safety certificates required for public charter.

The successful applicants agree to sail under the instruction and command of Excelsior’s licensed Skipper, to abide by his decisions, and carry out any duties assigned, at all times.

The Scholarships include Insurance against any negligence on the part of The Excelsior Trust and its employees, however sail-trainees are advised to take out Holiday Insurance to cover such things as unexpected illness, potential accidents on shore, and any loss of personal belongings.


Scholarships are worth over £2000 to each successful applicant. Each award covers all sailing expenses, tuition, board and sleeping arrangements. A small contribution towards the cost of food may be required at a level, dependent on the applicant’s ability to pay. Taking a discretionary amount of cash with you for personal expenses in other ports is also advised.

The scholarships do not cover transport to and from the vessel in Lowestoft, or costs of unforeseen journeys from any other port at short notice, for any reason.


Life Jackets are supplied, and a recommended kit list for working at sea is available from The Excelsior Trust on request.


Please send an email to with details of your name, home address, age and education provider and/or employer. Please include a short description of yourself, your interests, and why you would make an excellent Member of The Excelsior Crew, in no more than 200 words please. For any further information please call 07768 395465.

All applications will be treated in strict confidence, and must be received by midday on Monday 17th June. Interviews will be held on Saturday 22nd June, and the successful applicants will be notified by Sunday 23rd June. The Chairman of The Excelsior Trust’s decision is final.

© The Excelsior Trust 2019