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Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for adventure seekers to join a global sailing voyage in the footsteps of Charles Darwin aboard historic tall ship, Oosterschelde.

In August 2023, historic Dutch tall ship Oosterschelde will set sail from Plymouth, UK on an extraordinary two-year global voyage called DARWIN200 – nearly two centuries after Charles Darwin famously set sail from the same port aboard HMS Beagle.

The planetary conservation voyage of 40,000 nautical miles spans four continents and will take two years to complete. During port stops along the way it aims to change the world for the better by empowering 200 next-gen leaders of conservation. Making landfall at key locations where Darwin stepped ashore between 1831 and 1836 the route includes many of the greatest wildlife sites and wonders on Earth – from the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil to the most remote inhabited island on Earth, smouldering volcanoes to tropical atolls in azure waters and the unique, endemic life of the Galapagos Islands.

Up to 24 members of the public can take part on board Oosterschelde as ‘voyage crew’ on each of the 32 sailing legs alongside professional sailors and environmental researchers. The legs range in duration, from a week to an epic 48 days. Previous sailing experience is not a requirement but a passion for adventure is a must.

Oosterschelde is considered one of the world’s most magnificent tall ships and every day on board will be an adventure, be it sighting dolphins in the bow waves or being awed by the bioluminescence in the vessel’s wake. Built in 1917 as an international trade ship and named after one of the biggest rivers in the Netherlands, Oosterschelde has been painstakingly restored to her former glory in her homeport Rotterdam. In recent years the tall ship has twice sailed around-the-world visiting over 50 countries on five continents including several polar expeditions to Spitsbergen, Antarctica and South Georgia.

During each sailing leg of DARWIN200, the voyage crew will be assigned watches to sail, steer and navigate the three-masted topsail schooner under the expert guidance of Oosterschelde’s experienced crew. While underway, they’ll also take part in citizen science research projects and contribute to global data sets including a world-wide survey of seabirds, whales and dolphins, surveys of coral reef health, and studies of habitat degradation and microplastic pollution.

“The ship will become the “WORLD’S MOST EXCITING CLASSROOM!”, beaming out activities, research projects, experiments, lectures, essay competitions and weekly ‘nature hour’ events to engage and inspire millions of people worldwide in conservation projects” says DARWIN200 Mission Director Stewart McPherson for whom the voyage is a decade in the making.

Unlike the sailors on HMS Beagle, those joining the Oosterschelde will be undertaking the voyage in comparative luxury. During Charles Darwin’s voyage 74 men were squeezed into hammocks in the 27.5 metre-long vessel. At 50 metres – almost double the length – and with a third less crew on board, Oosterschelde’s cabins are perfect for a comfortable sleep after active days sailing. Plus, there will be a chef and a cosy bar, so voyage crew can expect tasty food and good company in the traditional wood panelled lounge area … there’s even a piano! The voyage crew will be accommodated in six two-person cabins and three four-person cabins sharing five toilets and showers. Solo travellers are welcome provided voyage crew are fit and healthy, and to date people from 11 to 80 years old and of 22 nationalities have signed up to take part.

We can’t wait to set sail on this incredible DARWIN200 voyage and share it with as many people as possible. It’s been said that people protect what they love. There’s no better way to connect with nature and fall in love with the ocean than to sail upon it. The experience of stepping out of your comfort zone, learning new skills, working as a team with like-minded new friends on a mission dedicated to protecting our beautiful planet we hope will be transformative not just for those on board but will inspire people into action all over the world.

Oosterschelde’s Director Gerben Nab

For our press kit, interviews, images, videos please contact Larissa Clark on

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