Sail on the SWAN

The swan making good speed in Yell Sound.

When you come aboard the swan you are undertaking an adventure. You are part of the ‘hands on’ crew for that trip, and come under the command of the skipper. You will play an active role in sailing and working the ship on passage.

Crewing the swan also helps us understand what life was like for the fishermen of Shetland, as they sailed into the 20th century. We can see and use their technology, relearn their skills and appreciate the challenges they faced.

You will be joining a small group of people living in a confined space. Initially others may be strangers to you, but firm friendships are quickly formed. We find many friendships continue after the trip is over.

Information on what is provided during your journey on the Swan can be downloaded here

Where do we sleep?

Every person onboard has their own bunk, which has a curtain for privacy and a reading light. There are 8 bunks in the main saloon and 7 bunks aft. There are no individual cabins, so accommodation is usually mixed sexes.

What about meals?

Three good meals are served every day. Hot drinks and biscuits are always available. If you have special dietery requirements, please inform the skipper beforehand and we will make every effort to assist.

What facilities are aboard?

The main saloon (formerly the fish hold) can seat everyone, and is where meals are eaten and sailing stories retold. For’ard of the main saloon is the galley, and two toilets with wash hand basins, one also with shower. Wash hand basins have pressurised hot and cold water.

How much luggage should I take, and where is it stored?

Space is at a premium, so please do not bring any more than is necessary. Personal baggage is stowed under seats. Any additional baggage will need to be kept in your bunk when you are out of it.

Will I be safe?

Safety is the primary concern in all our voyages, and the vessel complies with the MCA Code of Practice. Everyone wears a lifejacket at all times while at sea. Safety harnesses may be made compulsory at the discretion of the skipper in certain conditions. There will be a safety briefing at the commencement of each voyage outlining rules for general safety while on deck at sea - the siting of fire extinguishers, alarm systems etc.

What do I need to do to prepare myself?

You should be in good health and physical condition before you join the ship. The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your experience. Sailing does not require a large degree of aerobic fitness, but can be demanding on arm and upper body strength. If you are concered about your physical ability, please consult your doctor.

Mental preparation is just as important as physical. On any sailing ship you will live in close conditions with your fellow shipmates, and you must be prepared to share, and be accommodating and considerate of others. You will find this to be one of the great joys of sailing with us.

What about sea sickness?

It is common for many newcomers to the sea to have some degree of sea sickness during the first few days. Even experienced sailors sometimes experience sea sickness on a deep-sea voyage. This usually passes after a few days, and you get what we call your ‘sea legs’. It is advisable to take travel sickness pills as an initial precaution.