Check out the pre-voyage training to get an idea of what the voyage will be like.
For our main courses, participants must be 13 to 18 years old. We also offer select all adult courses for people 18+. Please reference https://www.brigs.ca/adult_sails for more details!
Many disabilites can be accomodated on board, such as visual impairment, Type I Diabetes, and ADHD. However, the vessel is not wheelchair accessible and disabilites that affect physical mobility may not be able to be accomodated for safety reasons. Please read the physically and mentally fit page and don't hesitate to contact us with accessibility questions. Our goal is to be as accessible as possible within the safety and construction limitations of the vessel.
Yes! During our summer program, the whole group can reserve a ship for one of the available voyages. In the off-season, June and September, the ships are available for group sails and private charters. Contact us at [email protected] for more information!
We offer bussing from Hamilton to the vessel's location at the beginning of the trip, and bussing from the vessel's location to Hamilton at the end of the trip. Drop-off and pick-up times vary depending on the distance of the location: an e-mail will be sent to you at least a week in advance of the trip with specifics!
Trainees can also be dropped off directly at the vessel. Drop-off and pick-up from the vessel occurs at 1:00 pm.
Cancellations received by email before June 1st are entitled to a refund of trip fees (except for the non-refundable booking deposit). Any cancellations after June 1st will not be entitled to a refund of trip fees, except in the case of a medical illness or
emergency. For cancellations due to medical illness or emergency, please contact the office to discuss your refund options.
See our refund policy for details.
Trainees are encouraged to pack light due to the limited storage onboard. Our full packing list, as well as a diagram of cubbies and storage, can be found by clicking here.
Trainees will be provided with inflatable P.F.D.s (night harnesses) for standing night watch. They do not need to wear a lifejacket during the day. They will wear different types of hharnesses when standing watch and climbing aloft. Lifejackets are carried on board for emergencies.
If you need to get in touch with your child urgently during a voyage, please call the office at 416-596-7117. If calling in an emergency after business hours, you may need to dial twice in a row.
The ship sails through the night some of the time, and sometimes, it will be at an anchorage or a dock.
Trainees sleep co-ed in the main compartment, the trainee's mess, which has 12 bunks with vinyl mattresses. They should bring a sleeping bag and a sheet. On voyages with more than 12 trainees, they will swap bunks through the night as the watches change over, which is called 'hot bunking'.
It's a fact of life that the quality of sleep while sailing is not as good as it is at home! Sleep is shorter and more interrupted, be prepared to be tired sometimes.
What are the bathrooms like?
The bathrooms are highly unglamorous and sometimes smelly, perhaps comparable to a Port-A-Potty experience. They are operated using a pump, rather than flushing automatically like at home. It is functional, but not very comfortable.
The only set ports are the start and end-points of the voyage, and in between, the captain will decide the route in order to maximize fun based on interesting locations, wind conditions and ship speed, crew energy levels, etc.
Depending on the voyage, trainees might get shore leave in port or at anchor at an island! We offer a boatload of fun activities such as campfires, scavenger hunts and hikes to waterfalls.
The food is cooked by a teenaged crew member (not a trainee) and varies in quality from fair to very good. The meals are largely vegetarian, with meat planned as sides and add-ons. The cook can accommodate vegetarians and common food allergies (lactose-free, gluten-intolerant). The cook cannot cook separate meals for trainees who don't like the main meal being served.
Fruit is available throughout the day for snacking. Trainees can also bring their own nut-free snacks. Please note, trainees do not have access to the galley to cook their own meals.
No! No prior sailing knowledge is necessary! Our skilled crew will teach you all you need to know about sailing TS Playfair.
Yes, all trainees must be able to swim. Parents and guardians are required to verify this information upon registration.
Of our 2023 trainees:
- 18% were 13 years old
- 22% were 14 years old
- 24% were 15 years old
- 14% were 16 years old
- 16 % were 17 years old
- 6% were 18 years old
60% of our trainees were male, 39% female, 1% non-binary.
90% of our trainees have never sailed on a tall ship before joining.
The captain is the ultimate authority on board the ship regarding all matters to do with the ship and the crew.
Parents should be aware that we use a peer-to-peer leadership system, and most of the interactions that trainees have will be with youth crew members in leadership roles.
It's not uncommon for trainees to get seasick in the first couple of days, depending on the conditions. Most people adjust to it. For those who continue to be quite sick, the captain may administer anti-nauseant medication.
Our vessel, the TS Playfair upholds the highest level of safety, as legally required by Transport Canada. The following is some of the safety equipment onboard:
GPS, Radar, AIS Class C, Depth sounder, High intensity running lights, up-to-date nautical publications and charts, Compass, and Sextant.
2 25W VHF radios, 5W handheld VHF radio, Cellular telephone, Signal ensigns.
3 16-person B-pack life rafts, 44 SOLAS keyhole life jackets, 11 Inflatable PFDs, 30 deck harnesses, 12 climbing harnesses, Fire fighting equipment (firehoses, extinguishers, fire suppression system), First aid kits and equipment, Flares dye and smoke signals, Kisby rings and MOB pole.