Imagine going to school each day on a fully-rigged tall ship, as it sails around the world. Welcome aboard the classroom called the S.S. Sørlandet.
The 210 ft, classic square-rigged ship, built in Norway in 1927, was chartered in 2010 by Class Afloat, a not-for-profit, Canadian-based private school which was founded in 1984 as an International Youth Year project.
Over the last 28 years, more than 1,500 students from around the world have experienced Class Afloat’s “blue water sailing high school”. The ship serves as a classroom setting and the backdrop is the world.
Kids are taught aboard the SS Sørlandet. Onboard are a team of professionals – both experienced teachers and a crew of up to 20 fully-qualified mariners.
This summer, the sailing school, with up to 90 cabins or guest rooms, will be visiting the Great Lakes and taking part in the 2013 Tall Ships Challenge along with other tall ships from around the world.
The ship, based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, will by mid June visit Brockville, and for a few days will stop in Toronto, beginning on June 20. The ship then sails on to Hamilton, before transiting the Welland Canal, visiting some U.S. ports along with other tall ships.
There are passages aboard the tall ship available for certain parts of the trip through the Great Lakes this summer, starting at $600 for four days.
For those looking for a school year aboard, the educational program is fully accredited by the Nova Scotia Ministry of Education, while university students are enrolled with Acadia University. There are some scholarships available.
Students in 2012-13 began their voyage in Istanbul, with visits to the Mediterranean. The floating classroom sailed down the coast of Africa to Agadir and Dakar, across the Atlantic to Brazil, south to Cape Town, then north up the African coast before crossing to Belem, Brazil. The ship sailed on the Amazon River, and through the Caribbean before heading back to Lunenburg.
School graduation ceremonies were to be held the first week of June. The students visited 22 ports of call and participate in volunteer projects in Senegal and the Dominican Republic.
Throughout the voyage, students took part in sailing the ship and becoming part of “a close-knit international community of like-minded peers,” say organizers.
The students end up “sharing experiences, developing leadership skills and making friendships that will last for lifetime.” For more details visit www.classafloat.com.