Sailing Ships you can Visit or Sail Today

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Sailing Ships you can Visit or Sail Today

There are many sailing ships available to visit today. Many of these are in a static display around the world, others regularly move from port to port. Many are military training ships, others are cruise ships carrying paying passengers. There are also some ships that offer sail training, for a fee, to the general public.

This list can not be complete, but hopefully each reader can find an experience at reasonable distance from their location.

Maritime Museums

Most museums offer only static displays, however some also offer harbour tours by boats. Some even have sailing tours available.

United Kingdom

  • Cutty Sark
    The last of the 'tea clippers' the Cutty Sark is on display near Greenwich.
  • Golden Hinde
    A recreation of Sir Francis Drake's famous ship lies in a wet dock on the south bank of the River Thames, near London Bridge. Along with self-guided tours, special events are often held allowing children to experience a sailors life in the time of Elizabeth I.
  • The Matthew Bristol, UK

    The Matthew is a reproduction of John Cabot' Ship of his 1497 voyage to the New World. The ship can be visited pier-side and also provides cruises around the harbour, sometime farther afield.
  • SS Great Britain
    A transitional merchant ship, powered by both steam and sail. The the ship is berthed in her original dry dock and is open for tours.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth, UK

Located next to the Portsmouth hard, the Historic Dockyard contains several historic ships and many other displays of the history of the Royal /navy.

  • Mary Rose

    King Henry VIII' flagship for 30 years the Mary Rose sank in a battle off the Isle of Wight in 1545. She was raised from the seabed in 1982. Only the starboard half of the hull remains, but the display includes thousand of recovered artefacts.
  • HMS Victory
    Lord Nelson's flag ship at the Battle of Trafalgar She is the last of England's 'wooden walls'. Although in permanent dry-dock, she is still officially in commission and is the flagship of the First Sea Lord.
  • HMS Warrior
    A transitional ship, powered by both steam and sail. At the time of her launching she was the most powerful warship afloat. The rapid advances in technology soon made her obsolete.

United States East Coast

There are several ships open the public along the east coast.

  • USS Constitution, Boston, MA, USA

    Launched in 1797 Old Irosides is the oldest warship still afloat. She was actually allowed a short sail, with close escort, for her 200th birthday in July, 1997. She can be visited at the Old Navy Yard in Charlestown, just north of the city.
  • Mayflower II Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA1
    The ship sailed from England to the United States in 1957. While no drawings exist of the original ship exist, she is based on the design of a typical period ship of the same size and descriptions that are discribed in the records that have been preserved.
  • USS Constellation Baltimore, MD, USA

    On display in the inner harbour, ship is open to the public and sponsors living history events several times each year.

Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, CT, USA

As well as offering ship tours, the seaport has displays of several period crafts. It is also a functional shipyard, building and repairing wooden boats and ships.

  • Charles W Morgan
    The last surviving American Whaling ship. She made her last voyage to the south seas in 1924.
  • Joseph Conrad
    Originally built as a sail training ship in 1882, she was sunk in an accident in 1905 with the loss off 22 boys. She was raised and repaired and continued sailing under various owners until 1945. She is a three masted full-rigged ship.
  • Schooner LA Dunton
    A restored Grand Banks fishing schooner, walking her decks brings the story of Captains Courageous to life.

South Street Seaport Museum, New York, NY, USA

An historical shipyard in the heart of one of the largest cities in the world. Pier 16 is home to several sailing ships as well as several more modern historical vessels.

  • Wavertree
    Built in 1885 in Southampton, England, she is a three masted full-rigged ship built of wrought iron.
  • Peking
    A four masted barque built in 1911 at Hamburg, Germany. She spent most of her career trading with the west cost of South America, doubling Cape Horn on each voyage.
  • Pioneer
    Built as a coastal trading schooner, today she offers tours of New York harbour2.
  • Lettie G Howard
    A former Grand Banks fishing schooner, she is currently employed as a school ship, carrying students of all ages.

United States West Coast

San Francisco Maritime National Park, San Francisco, CA, USA

Located near Fisherman's Wharf, the ships displayed reflect the marine commerce of California and include three sailing ships.

  • The Balclutha
    A three masted full rigged ship with a steel hull, launched in 1886 near Glasgow, Scotland. She served as a general freight ship, rounding Cape Horn at least 17 times.

  • CA Thayer
    A three masted schooner built for the lumber trade in 1895 with a wooden hull.

  • Alma
    A wooden 'scow schooner' built in 1891 to carry cargo around San Francisco Bay. A 'scow' is a vessel that has a square bow. The Alma offers cruises on the bay for visitors at an additional fee.

San Diego Maritime Museum, San Diego, CA, USA

The museum contains several vessels on display, in use and under construction.

  • Star of India

The Baltic

  • Vasa Stockholm, Sweden

    on 10 August, 1628 capsized and sank on her maiden voyage in Stockholm harbour. Preserved over the centuries by the cold water, she was raised in 1961, preserved and put on display in her own museum in 1990.


  • City of Adelaide Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

    Built as a clipper ship in 1864, this ship after a long career taking passengers the her namesake city in the land down under, she was used as an isolation hospital in Southampton, a naval training facility and eventually became a deteriorating hulk in Scotland. In 2013 she was returned, by a heavy lift ship, to Adelaide. At the time of this writing (2015) she is undergoing a major restoration and is available for limited visits.

Tall Ship Races

Cruise Ships

Sail Training

  • Jubilee Sailing Trust, Southampton, UK

    An effort to provide sailing experiences to crews of varying ability. The The Jubilee Sailing Trust has two ships equipped to allow access to all people have an active role in helping to sail the ships.

1The Mayflower is currently undergoing restoration each fall and winter at Mystic Seaport each winter and spring. Repairs are due to be completed by the year 2020.2Reservations are required.

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