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Kalmar Nyckel : Volunteers : Winter Crew Training

Winter Crew Training

Abandon Ship Drill

THIS CLASS IS FULL, SIGN-UPS ARE CLOSED!  Click here to get on a list for a reminder about our 2022 Winter Training Class


The 2021 winter crew training class will start on March 6.  This delayed start is due to safety protocols related to COVID-19. We have planned a mix of indoor and outdoor instruction, in addition to Zoom lectures and interactive Zoom lessons. The class will culminate with several sails on board the ship in May!  During this 10-week class, you can make new friends as you learn maritime history, knot tying, safety drills, line handling, setting sails, practical seamanship and more! A training manual, weekly homework, and knot practice are included in this class.  

After passing our training class, you will be eligible to sail on board the ship as KNF sailing crew. We sail locally and voyage to ports from Virginia to Massachusetts (no distant ports during the pandemic), with 12-20 volunteers on the crew, and 3-4 ship officers.

2021 Winter Crew Training Class 

Component 1- Lectures:  Scheduled on Saturdays from March 6 - May 8, from 9am-12pm. We will start with Zoom sessions. Please be prepared to attend class in person around the last Saturday in March (TBD), at our shipyard in Wilmington. These sessions are essential: to practice fire drills and hands-on sail setting. The curriculum includes several underway sails near the end of class. As we get closer to these dates, you will receive details on in-person classes.

Component 2- Practical Instruction:  To practice hands on skills, there will be 6-8 two-hour small group, on-site sessions. These 6-8 sessions are required and will be scheduled at the time of your registration. The scheduled choices are: 1) during a weekday, 2) Saturday afternoons or 3) any time on Sundays. Once you commit to a specific schedule (and day of the week), you may not change that time, as we are planning specific cohorts in small groups for COVID-19 best practices (limiting exposure, contact tracing, etc.). Practical instruction will be a combination of outside instruction and some indoor self-practice time to warm up.  

Location:  The Copeland Maritime Center at the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation shipyard, 1124 E. 7th Street, Wilmington, DE 19801

Who: Participants must be age 18+ and physically able to climb a vertical ladder, climb stairs, onto our fore deck (which is several large steps, and only a rope for a handle), and assist passengers during emergencies. Youth (ages 14-17) may participate with a parent/guardian. Participants are NOT required to climb the rigging. If you are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19, such as healthcare workers, etc., we ask that you wait until 2022 to participate in this class. This class is designed for volunteers who can commute to Wilmington, DE for classes, practical sessions, and sails.  

COVID-19 Risk of Exposure: Masks are required on site, indoors and outdoors, at all times. During the practical activities in this class, you will work less than 6 feet from mentors, other trainees and crew.

  • Many of the skills we teach are very difficult to learn from a distance of 6 feet (which is the current best practice for social distancing). Skills that require volunteers to work close to others include: line handling to set sails, conducting safety drills, and climbing the rigging (optional). If you are not comfortable with these conditions during the pandemic, please consider our 2022 crew training opportunities (to be announced in winter 2021).
  • All trainees will be required to fill out a liability waiver, and "COVID-19 info for volunteers" forms that further explain your risk of exposure, and our plans to mitigate but not eliminate your risk during the pandemic. These forms are part of the volunteer application.

Drug and Alcohol policies: All participants will be subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation random drug testing program, which prohibits the use of federally illegal drugs including marijuana, or any CBD oils, as both will give a positive result on our drug testing program (even if they are legal in your state for recreational or medicinal use). Participants should arrive at practical sessions and Zoom sessions with no alcohol in their system (no drink in the past 8 hours).  

Total Cost:  Total cost is $126.32 ($107.50 payable to KNF at pre-registration, $18.82 payable directly to the on-line background check company) The fee includes a $65 materials fee including shipping, a one-time fee of $42.50 for an initial USCG drug test, and $18.82 for a background check.  The fee for the class is non-refundable.  


How do I sign up?:   (THIS CLASS IS FULL, SIGN UPs are CLOSED!)

Register for the class online:  Click here to register.

Once you register, you will receive an email with the link for printing out your volunteer application/waivers, and a link for the payment. This fee will hold your spot in the class. 

Registration Deadline is Sunday, Feb. 14  This includes following the instructions that will come in registration confirmation e-mail, that will involve your payment link and volunteer application!  (SO YOU'RE NOT SIGNED UP JUST BY CLICKING THIS LINK!)

Absences: Not recommended, as new material comes each week.  No more than 2 absences are permitted.

Wear: Warm clothes in layers, sturdy shoes, dress for precipitation if needed (you may haul lines, participate in team work activities, get dirty, walk through rain, etc.). Class is held rain or shine!

What else?  You will have fun, meet new people, learn something new, and expand your horizons!

Warning:  Some people find tall ship sailing addictive!  Plan accordingly; have your entire family join the class!

Questions? Email Captain Sharon: captainsharon@kalmarnyckel.org

Volunteer hours: You will need to put in 10 hours of volunteer time to help maintain the ship in 2021, before you are eligible to sail this year. In all future years, you are required to give 40 hours of volunteer time (when you're not in class). We will discuss volunteer opportunities during the March class.

                  Tying a bowline             Belaying the main buntline



Kalmar Nyckel : Volunteers : Winter Crew Training

Did you know: That Kalmar Nyckel fought gallantly and saw bloody action during Sweden's war with Denmark in 1645?


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