2 Weeks Before the Mast

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

ashley headrig

I still kind of can’t believe I get to do something this cool. — Annaliese Dempsey

Our Two Weeks Before the Mast program is an opportunity to experience the life of a tall ship sailor. For two weeks, you’ll live aboard one of our vessels learning the basics of knots, sail theory, traditional and modern maintenance skills, and maritime history.
As a sail trainee, you earn accredited sea time, which is documented by a sea time letter from the captain. After 360 days of sea time, you may earn a merchant mariner endorsement. For more information, visit the Tall Ships America page that describes sail training.

No two experiences are the same. To read about past trainees’ experiences in this unique program, click here, watch the trailer for the documentary The Passage, and check out  Baggy Wrinkles, a series of comics created by tall ship sailor Lucy Bellwood.

Baggy Wrinkles
For an idea of what your experience as a Two Weeks Before the Mast sailor will be like, check out tall ship sailor/cartoonist Lucy Bellwood’s comics about her experience coming aboard. Baggy Wrinkles »

Here’s how to apply:

Consult our public sail schedule to browse upcoming ports and dates. You can also review the latest information on available slots. Complete the online trainee intake form OR

  1. Download (PDF) and read through the application packet.
  2. Email us or call 800-200-5239 if you have questions.
  3. Fill out and submit your application via email, fax, or U.S. mail.
  4. Please allow 5-7 business days to process your application. Once your application has been processed and approved, we will contact you to schedule your time aboard.

The program fee for all slots is $650.

Scholarships are available to assist with program costs.

Trainees are assigned to either Lady Washington or Hawaiian Chieftain based on staffing needs as determined by the captains and the headquarters in Aberdeen, Wash. Trainees may request a specific boat, but GHHSA cannot guarantee availability.

TWBM participant Graham Shea produced this video of his experience aboard Lady Washington.

Optional documents: Trainee Sail Training Handbook (PDF), How to Avoid Seasickness (PDF)

For information on this unique two-week experience living and working aboard a tall ship, email runderwood@historicalseaport.org or call 800-200-5239.

Not only are the crew members fantastic sailors, they’re also great educators and ambassadors. — Scott Jackson, Vancouver, B.C.

“Two Weeks” spots available on Lady Washington as of 6/30/2016
8/8/16 – 8/22/16 Blaine, WA to Tacoma, WA 2 spots available
10/10/16 – 10/24/16 Oakland, CA to Sausalito, CA 1 spot available
10/24/16 – 11/7/16 Sausalito, CA to Half Moon Bay, CA 2 spots available
11/7/16 – 11/21/16 Half Moon Bay, CA to Moss Landing, CA 2 spots available
11/21/16 – 12/5/16 Moss Landing, CA to Morro Bay, CA 2 spots available
12/5/16 – 12/19/16 Moss Landing, CA to San Diego 2 spots available
12/19/16 – 1/2/17 San Diego 2 spots available
“Two Weeks” spots available on Hawaiian Chieftain as of 6/30/2016
9/26/16 – 10/10/16 Oakland, CA to Sacramento 2 spots available
10/10/16 to 10/24/16 Sacramento 2 spots available
10/24/16 to 11/7/16 Sacramento 2 spots available
11/7/16 to 11/21/16 Sacramento 2 spots available
11/21/16 to 12/5/16 Sacramento 2 spots available
12/5/16 to 12/19/16 Sacramento to San Diego 2 spots available
12/19/16 to 1/2/17 San Diego 2 spots available

Note: The lists above refer to spots available. If a date’s not listed, it’s not available. Trainees start their stints on Mondays and end their stints on Mondays. Availability subject to change without notice.
Read stories of lives changed by Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain »