Daily Life at Sea
Life aboard a fully-rigged Tall Ship is (probably) unlike anything you have previously experienced. Life at sea is busy. Balancing classes, homework, and watches is a challenging exercise in time management. If you are up to the challenge, you will build routines that you will value for the rest of your life.
Most of your spare time at sea is spent on socializing with your friends and the occasional game night, movie night on deck or swim call. At A+, we encourage initiative and responsibility. The clubs are therefore all organised by the students and vary from year to year. What clubs there are and how often they meet depends on student initiative. Clubs typically vary from baking club and yoga club to photo club, podcasting club, and different sporting clubs.
Students can also participate in the democratic process of running for, and electing a Student Government. The purpose of this group will be to coordinate Student Activities, to liaise with shipboard staff and faculty and to assist in the overall good functioning of our ship community.
Here is one example of what a day might look like at sea:
0700-0730: Wake up:
Your wake up call comes and you begin your morning routine. You stow away your hammock or tidy your bunk, and get ready for breakfast.
At 0800 sharp, students gather to hoist the flag and hear maritime-, faculty- and/or student announcements. The students assemble in watches and are given their shipboard tasks for the day.
0815-0900 Daily cleaning
Students are assigned specific duties related to the care and maintenance of their home, the Sørlandet. This includes cleaning and tidying, deck scrubs and work in the galley.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are important parts of the day. Our chefs on board plan the meals with the intention of creating a healthy and balanced diet, and meals are designed to let students experience different cuisines from around the world. Students who are vegetarian or have dietary restrictions are asked to notify the medic and the chefs will accommodate your needs. The students help in the preparation of every meal when they are on galley duty.
The day (0900-2000)
A typical day consists of classes, day watch, fitness and down time.
Classes are interspersed throughout the day. Students attend classes for approximately 4-6 hours between 9 am and 6 pm. At select times of the week students have study hall, where teachers are available to assist with individual academic work.
Fitness activities will vary depending on the conditions. Typically, we offer aerobics, crossfit and yoga on deck, as well as jogging in port, or swimming at anchor. Students will also keep active through sailtraining that can be physically demanding.
Every day includes time for students to relax and socialize or to have some alone time. Social activities, movie nights, card games, or musical interludes are all part of daily life aboard.
Lights out (2200-0700)
Between 10 pm and 7 am, it is quiet time below deck. Students climb into their hammocks and rest up for the next day’s adventure. All students sleep in the banjer, men and women separated. With a bedroom in motion, a hammock is the bed of choice.
In port you’ll have more time to explore new cities and countries. When you’re not on field studies or doing lab work, you will have time for relaxation and exploration with your friends, or to prepare some of you academic work. The balance, approximately 50% of available time, is intended for students, in groups of 4, to explore the culture and rhythm of a new environment, enjoy local food, visit museums, enjoy local beach recreation, such as swimming and snorkelling. This will also be a valuable time to do research on your extended essay and for seniors to finish up college applications. Reasonable curfew is enforced aboard the vessel to ensure students are well-rested and alert for all activities.
The school is demanding, and not for everyone. Not only are you a student at the school, but you also take part in sailing and maintaining the world’s oldest operating fully-rigged tall ship. You will have a day watch and a night watch with challenging chores that will teach you to push your limits and show you that you are more capable than you thought you were.
As part of a crew that needs to work together in order to reach the next destination, you will not only learn about sailing and seamanship but also important life skills such as accountability, leadership and teamwork.
It will be hard, but worth it. With the right mindset you will go ashore more independent, more mature and with a life story that will set you apart in any college application process.
For 2 hours of the day, students will work on navigating and sailing the ship with the officer of the watch, and will aid with routine maintenance with the bosun. Students take part in bracing, rigging, helming, safety watches, and lookout duties as well as furling and loosening the sails aloft.
All students are assigned a 2 hour night watch at some point throughout the evening (20.00-08.00). The watched rotate every 2-3 weeks so you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the pros and cons of every watch. What’s certain; whether helming on the open ocean in the moonlight, or standing lookout over the serene sea under the stars, you will never feel as small or experience something as great.
A group of students will be assigned galley duty on an 8 day rotational basis. Students assigned to galley duty are relieved from regular watch responsibilities for that day and the night prior. It’s the galley team that helps our chefs in the kitchen, that set the tables and wash the dished and who prepare food and water for night watches to mention a few of their responsibilities.
You don’t have to know how to sail in order to be a member at A+. Naturally you will learn much throughout the year. Every student will receive a Student Logbook that outlines different sections of sail training. Some of the elements (for example emergency preparedness) will be mandatory for students to learn, while other will be optional for those who take a special interest to sailing. Throughout the year student will have the opportunity to learn basic seamanship, marlinspike seamanship, about sails and rigging, navigation and piloting in addition to emergency procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.
On board The Sørlandet you will enjoy the ever-changing beauty of the sea from the deck of the world’s oldest operating fully rigged tall ship. As a student, you will undergo sailtraining (an education in sailing practices and procedures) in addition to your academic work. As you will discover, a rewarding sense of friendship will quickly develop between people from different backgrounds among your classmates as part of this daily routine.