Sail Portsmouth


  • Location: Portsmouth, NH
  • Description:

    Sail Portsmouth’s Sea Challenge program provides high school students from the Seacoast region an opportunity to participate in an adventure-filled, experiential education program aboard tall ships.

    Sail Portsmouth believes many people learn best when working with their hands, their hearts, their and their souls. rather than when sitting in a classroom or in front of a computer screen. Living and working as one of the crew on a tall ship is an ideal setting for all kinds of learning and transformation. Tall ship sail training is both experiential and educational. Participants work alongside the ship’s crew to sail the ship toward its destination in a safe and efficient manner. They climb masts, adjust rigging, navigate, steer, cook, stand lookout and much more. Each trainee is as dependent on the team as the team is dependent on them. Students often come back with a sense of transformation, having traded the comfort and familiarity of their homes and digital devices for the rigors, sights, and sounds of the sea. Often, on the last day, they are reluctant to leave the ship and their shipmates. They know they will miss the fun times and meaningful conversations. They return to shore with new friends, vivid memories, and pride in their accomplishments.

    The ships can be two-masted schooners and three-masted square-rigged ships. All are regularly inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. The safety of the ship, crew and passengers are the Captain’s number one priority. Recent Sea Challenge ships in the program have included the schooners Roseway from Boston and Harvey Gamage from Portland, and the square rigger Oliver Hazard Perry from Newport.

    Sail Portsmouth recruits students from diverse backgrounds with the help of traditional and alternative high schools as well as several community youth organizations. These organizations identify youths who they believe will benefit from this kind of challenging and inspirational trip.

  • Contact: Phil Von Hemert, Board Chair
  • Phone: 603-353-0308
  • Email:
  • Website: