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Learn to sail and maintain Delaware's Tall Ship - the Kalmar Nyckel

Volunteer crew onboard the Kalmar Nyckel
Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
Volunteer crew onboard the Kalmar Nyckel

Interested in learning to sail and maintain Delaware’s tall ship - the Kalmar Nyckel? Crew classes start this weekend.

Registration is open for Delaware residents to join the Kalmar Nyckel’s crew of over 200 volunteers.

The ship’s captain Sharon Dounce says it involves learning the art of 17ᵗʰ century square-rigged sailing.

“Each year we train new volunteer crew members to sail the ship - the Kalmar Nyckel," said Dounce. "And we sail up and down the coast - down to Norfolk, Virginia and up the New England Area. But before people are eligible to do that, they need to be trained and understand the lines, how to tie knots, how to do safety drills and keep the ship safe when we’re underway.”

Dounce says a professional crew of five joins the volunteers five days a week to offer public sails from March or April until October.

The Kalmar Nyckel’s winter training class begins this Saturday and runs through Saturday, April 9th with half-day sessions from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Dounce says she’s looking for a few things in crew volunteers.

“We are looking for people who are interested in being active in the community; people that have an open mind and are willing to learn new things," Dounce said. "Many people haven’t done a class like this in 20-30 years that we encounter - so we have a lot of retirees. So being willing to kind of put yourself out there and learn new things is really important.”

Dounce notes volunteers don’t necessarily have to be physically fit, but need to be able to perform the safety elements of the job - including climbing numerous vertical ladders.

And sailing crew must be at least 18 years old, or ages 14-17 with a parent/guardian.

Dounce says the classes include a mix of indoor and outdoor instruction with Zoom lessons.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.