The three-masted Dutch barquentine Thalassa spent last weekend sheltering from bad weather in the Carrick Roads where she anchored in the lee of the land.

Thalassa is at the start of a six month long 12,000 miles voyage carrying 36 students from Holland as they exchange the classroom ashore to study on what is called a “School at Sea” vessel.

This imposing vessel is one of the fastest tall ships in the Dutch fleet.

The ship’s website gives an insight in how these students combine sailing with studying on the floating classroom.

“The School at Sea team is made up of enthusiastic professionals with experience in coaching and teaching students and sailing tall ships.

At sea, life is simple. You rotate between watch days and school days. The group is split in two. On any given day, one group has watch and one group has school.

On watch days, you maintain the heading and the ship, supervised by our experienced crew. You are responsible for the ship for a period of four hours. Then, you can rest for eight hours followed by another four hours of watch. You raise and lower the sails, maintain the logbook, steer the ship, check the engine room, bake bread, and clean the ship, but you can also look up to the stars, watch whales and dolphins and see the sunrise.

On school days, you focus on school. It will take some getting used to, because your classroom is constantly moving and there are distractions everywhere. Just another School at Sea challenge!

Our teachers help you, of course, but it is up to you. You sail, you learn.”

The warm atmosphere, the tasteful ambiance of her saloon and the comfortable cabins each with their own shower make that the guests on board of Thalassa immediately feel at home.

From Falmouth Thalassa is bound for Tenerife, Canary Islands but this is weather dependent with the captain making the decision to call at French or Spanish ports to avoid bad weather in Biscay.

From Tenerife she heads to the island of Sao Vicente in the Cape Verde islands before crossing the Atlantic to Dominica, West Indies from where the vessel will island hop in the Lesser Antilles calling at Curacao then Panama, Cuba and Bermuda. Stored and refuelled the Thalassa will make her Atlantic crossing to Faial, Azores and back to Holland arriving in April 2022.