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Since 1967, our educational adventure voyages have been described as ‘five days in another world’. A living link with the age of sail, Thalatta provides a way for children to experience a world and way of live very different to the one they normally inhabit.

Educational Adventure Voyages for Schools and Youth Groups

The East Coast Sail Trust has enjoyed a long term association with many schools and youth organisations nationwide who annually send their children to Thalatta for the unique experience of ‘5 days in another world’. This regular return of children on our educational adventure voyages demonstrates the value schools – and the parents – place on the unique experiences provided in a safe, but challenging, environment.

Children leave Thalatta enriched with enhanced values of teamwork, loyalty and trust and, over the years, many have said how their outlook on life was fundamentally revised by the care and encouragement of Thalatta’s crew.

The Thalatta Experience

Voyages last up to 5 days and normally explore the East Coast of Essex and Suffolk by going to sea and anchoring overnight in one of the many rivers and estuaries available. The new crew boards Thalatta – often at Ipswich Haven Marina or The Hythe, Maldon, and are straight away given an introductory talk explaining the ‘rules of the ship’ and safety instructions. From that point on ship routine entails sailing the vessel, working on deck, trips ashore, preparing meals, writing up the log and many other activities.

Living and Working On Board

Find out more about what’s involved with living and working on board Thalatta

5 Day Trips

We have been running 5-day trips for school groups for over 50 years! 5 days and 4 nights onboard give children the best and most immersive experience of living onboard Thalatta.

2 to 4 Day Trips

We understand that not all schools and groups can manage a trip as long as 5 days. So at certain times of the season it is possible to book Thalatta for shorter trips of 4, 3 or 2 days.

Day Sails

For a short taster of what we can offer, Thalatta can be booked for a single day. Ideal for groups wishing to ‘try us out’ before committing to a longer trip. 

The Focus of Your Week

A wide range of studies related to the sea and the coast can be undertaken during your week, if you wish. Some leaders prepare their own projects to focus on a particular aspect. Should you have a particular project or any specific ideas on what you should like to achieve, please let us know. 

Alternatively you may prefer to focus simply on practical aspects of the week, with the assistance of the Skipper, Mate and 3rd Hand – for example, understanding charts, sea safety, deck skills etc. We have information sheets and worksheets on many aspects of sailing Thalatta, which you are welcome to download and print before your trip. 

Learning Outside the Classroom

There are many opportunities throughout a week on Thalatta to strengthen and demonstrate ideas and concepts typically learnt in the classroom. Living and working on a ship like Thalatta makes use of a variety of skills and subject areas. 


Team working to achieve goals

Personal responsibility for tasks

Overcoming fears

Supporting others

Personal safety and safety of others

Living and sharing with other people

Time to reflect

Appreciation of the beauty and power of nature and how humans fit in to the wider world


Magnetism, use of compass & navigation

Pressures in fluids & atmosphere – tides, winds

Transfer of energy – sail power, windfarms.

Motion & forces – journey speed, changes in direction

Engineering – use of winches and pulleys to lift large loads such as sails, anchors and leeboards


Tide Calculations

Use of maps and charts

Working out ratios


The geographical features of the East Coast

Using maps & charts


Grid References

Weather, understanding the shipping forecast

Climate change and it’s effect on the East Coast


Daily Log Book entries

Learning new terminology

Discovering the nautical origins of numerous everyday words

Reading and discussing Arthur Ransome’s books We Didn’t Mean to go to Sea and Secret Water.  From his Swallow and Amazons series of books, these novels are both set in locations Thalatta frequently visits. 

Reading and discussing an ‘old Barger’s’ account of working on a Thames Barge

Art, Design & Technology

Art – capturing the seascapes and wildlife

Design – the design of sailing boats and the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of rig

Technology – exploring the modern maritime equipment used on the barge


Britain – the first industrial nation, through the movement of goods by sea

London & the East Coast – the centre of trade, due to sailing ships and Thames Barges like Thalatta

Thalatta – over 100 years of history, having been built in 1906, survived two world wars and many years of trading around the East Coast and to the continent. 

During the last 50 years of Thalatta taking children to sea – how has the world changed in that time?

How to book…

Our educational adventure voyages are typically from Monday to Friday, unless the booking is for a shorter voyage, weekend or day-sail. Voyages start and finish at Ipswich Haven Marina. Our sailing season runs from around April to mid September. 

A maximum of 12 people (including accompanying adults) can be accommodated which means each can receive personal attention and guidance.  Children must be aged at least 9 and ¾. Please note, Thalatta is not suitable for those with severe behavioural problems.

For schools and groups wishing to take away more than 12, a second barge can be booked for the same week to accommodate another 12 children and accompanying adults. Alternatively Thalatta can be booked for two or more consecutive weeks. 

Our volunteers are often out sailing or doing other things so we ask you initially to please contact us through our email address and we will then contact you directly to discuss your requirements, rates and available dates. Whenever possible, we try our utmost to meet any special requirements you may have.

What the schools say…

Schools and Groups Past and Present

Since 1967 some 10,000 children have sailed on Thalatta, from all over the UK. We are often contacted by people who came on board as a child up to 50 years ago! When the dates of the trip are know we try to find the entries they wrote in Thalatta’s Log books. Many, but not all, of the schools and groups who have sailed on Thalatta are listed below. 

High Close School, Wokingham
Meadows School, Southbridge
The Mount School, Mill Hill
Aylesbury Grammar School
Emmbrook School, Wokingham
Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Amersham
Desborough School, Maidenhead
Caerleaon Comprehensive School
Colchester Royal Grammar School
Victoria College, Belfast
St Mary Redcliffe & Temple School, Bristol
Kitwood School, Boston
Collingwood School, Camberley
Lonsdale School, Norwich
West Hatch High School
Southend High School for Girls
St Felix School, Southworld
Notre Dame Convent, Cobham
Nertherhall School, Cambridge
American Community School, Cobham
Woodbridge American High School
Charlton Park School, Cheltenham
Het Nederlands Lyceum, Den Haag
The Harwich School
Colchester High School For Girls
St Mary’s School, Colchester
Orwell High School, Felixstowe
Thomas Estley College, Leicester
Jewish Lads’ Brigade, Ilford
Staffordshire Schools’ Sailing Centre
Suffolk Police Cadets
Hertfordshire Army Cadets
London Colney Scouts
Explorers Unlimited
The London Borough of Redbridge Schools
Inner London Education Authority 

The Downs School, Newbury
Hatch End High School, Headstone
Willingdon School, Eastbourne
Brockhurst Hill Country High School, Chigwell
Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle
The Connaught School, Aldershot
St Andrews C.E Primary School, Hertford
Parklands High School, Leeds
East Hill Secondary School, Sheffield
The Grammar School, Enfield
8th Chelmsford Scout Group
Newcastle Children’s Adventure Group, Newcastle
3rd Prittlewell Scout Group, Westcliffe-on-Sea
Anerley School, London
Brentside High School, Hanwell
The Scout Association, West Mersea
Wadhurst C.E.P. School
Kesgrave High School, Ipswich
19th Ilford North Cub Scouts
Hilton Grange School, Leeds
Bownham Park School, Stroud
Gt Missenden Scouts
Bedford Modern School
Crowthorn School, Bolton 
Kent Association of Boys Clubs, Maidstone
The Guides, Chelmsford
Sea Scouts, Nottingham
Lyndhurst Special Unit, Borehamwood
Royal Grammar School, Guildford
Coln House School, Fairford
Wood Dene School, Norwich
The Uplands School, Bromsgrove
Hall Cross Comprehensive School, Doncaster
Hunters Hill School, Broomsgrove
Windlesham House School, Pulborough
Ipswich Preparatory School
National Association for Gifted Children, London
Perse Preparatory School, Cambridge
Felstead Preparatory School, Dunmow
St Peter’s School, Huntingdon
Arden School, Sandwell
Witley House, Stourbridge
Bedford Preparatory School, Bedford
Bilton Grange School, Rugby
Brompton Hall School, Scarborough
Codicote Scouts
Homewood House, Tunbridge Wells
Dover College
Education Otherwise, Chelmsford
Mayflower Country High School, Billericay
Kingsdon Manor School, Somerton
Princes Youth Business Trust
St Aubyn’s School, Woodford Green
Thomas Mills High School, Woodbridge
Haberdasher’s Aske’s Prep School, Borehamwood
Notton House School, Chippenham
Fitzwimarc School
The Old School Henstead, Beccles
The Hawthorns School, Bletchingley
Woodlands Prep School, Brentwood
Trefassey Bank, Hertfordshire
Norwich School
Mill Mead School, Port Vale
St Cedd’s School, Chelmsford
Banham Marshalls College, Banham
St Christophers School, Leigh-on-Sea
Castle School, Walsall
10th Ipswich Scouts
Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust