Sailing Adventures – Frequently Asked Questions


What does it mean to be a trainee?

The experience on Lettie G Howard is unique in that the participants are not merely along for a sailboat ride. Our program is grounded in experiential learning, and we truly believe this yields the greatest results in building confidence, self-reliance, and interpersonal skills. The minute you step aboard Lettie, you become crew-in-training, which means you will be involved in everything from setting sail, standing lookout, basic engineering, steering and navigating, to cooking, cleaning, and caring for the ship. This immersive experience allows trainees to feel ownership and responsibility for something much larger than themselves, and the skills they go home with at the end of the week will serve them both on and off the water.

Where will we go?

This will depend a bit upon the wind and weather. When we leave New York Harbor we will sail up along the coast of Long Island. If we have a favorable breeze, we may sail through the night and be able to reach Block Island before heading back to the city. In some cases, we will stop and anchor overnight, a perfect opportunity for star-gazing at a quiet anchorage, and possibly for an excursion to shore or an early morning swim call.

When will we leave?

Trainees will join the ship on Sunday morning, and after a brief orientation we will get off the dock and set sail as soon as possible. At the end of the session, parents can meet trainees at the dock at 5 PM Friday evening for pickup.

What if I don’t know how to sail?

No experience needed! Even the most seasoned captain was a novice once, and the best way to learn is by doing. Professional crew members will be there to help trainees learn everything they need to know throughout their time aboard.

Where will we sleep?

Each trainee will get his or her own bunk, with a curtain, reading light, and small shelf to store gear. Bring a sleeping bag and pillow case.

What are the bathrooms like?

Lettie has bathrooms or “heads” each equipped with a flushing marine toilet. While we don’t have a shower aboard, we keep clean with soap, bucket showers, and the occasional swim call.

What about cell phones?

You may bring your cell phone with you, but please note that before we leave the dock, the crew will be taking all cell phones and storing them in a safe place for the remainder of the program. Cell phones on board are a distraction and take away from the quality of the voyaging experience. In addition, they are at risk for getting wet and/or damaged throughout your time aboard. Phones will be returned at the end of the week so that you may coordinate pickup efforts.

What are the meals like?

A valued member of the Lettie G. Howard crew is an experienced chef, with many years of experience both sailing and cooking on boats. The crew and trainees eat delicious, freshly prepared meals together on deck, and all lend a hand in cleaning up afterward.

What about allergies or dietary restrictions?

Please let us know in advance (where it is indicated on the medical release forms) if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, and we will accommodate you.

What happens if I get seasick?

If you are susceptible to motion sickness you may bring along motion sickness medication that is prescribed to you. Typically, symptoms of seasickness tend to cure themselves after a day or two at sea.

Who works aboard Lettie?

Lettie operates with a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and one licensed mate, in addition to an engineer and two deckhands. Many of Lettie’s professional crew members started out by attending sail training programs like this one, and have since gained experience and moved up the ranks to become professional mariners. The crew members are experienced educators who are eager to share their skills and are passionate about teaching the tradition of tall ship sailing.

Is it safe?

As professional mariners, safety is of utmost importance to us. Lettie is a U.S. Coast Guard inspected sub-chapter R Sailing School Vessel, and meets all safety regulations designated by the Coast Guard. On board we have two 25-person life rafts, 41 PFD’s (personal flotation devices), a complete shipboard fire fighting system, and safety harnesses, as well as the latest model high-definition radar and navigation electronics. Before leaving the dock, the professional crew will address the students about what to do in the event of an emergency, and shortly after the ship gets underway we will perform emergency drills. The boat is made from exceptionally strong and safe materials, including marine batteries which support the boat’s functioning, these are checked on a regular basis, attended to and replaced fi needed.

Each crew member has been issued a background check and pre-employment drug screen prior to being hired on Lettie.

How much does it cost?

A week-long program costs $1,350 per participant. This cost includes all meals. No spending money will be needed during your time aboard. Scholarships may be available based on financial need.