Galveston Historical Foundation
ELISSA Sail Training

1877 Tall Ship ELISSA Sail Training

Sail training on ELISSA gives the participants the once-in-a-lifetime chance to sail onboard a historic sailing ship from 1877 and literally, sail history! Don’t think you are a climber? No problem, we have needs for people of all abilities. ELISSA’s sail training is an adventure activity for people of all ages and abilities. Young and older folks alike can find camaraderie and a rewarding experience either in ELISSA’s rigging or on her decks.

ELISSA is sailed and lovingly maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers that work and train year-round. If you have longed to hoist a sail on a historic tall ship, now is your chance. Please join us for an introductory meeting for potential crew members scheduled for 1 pm on Saturday, July 31, 2021, at the Galveston Historic Seaport on Galveston’s Pier 22, Harborside Drive between 21st and 22nd streets.

Those who participate in the ELISSA Sail Training program have the opportunity to learn ancient skills and techniques on maintaining a square-rigged sailing ship. Volunteers may learn to climb ELISSA’s rigging to set and furl sails and maintain the intricate machinery of wood, wire, and rope. These tasks require skill and bravery, as the ship’s main mast towers 99 feet above deck. After completing the classes, which take place on designated Saturdays, and contributing the required hours of work on the ship’s upkeep, participants are eligible to take ELISSA to sea.

ELISSA was originally a 19th-century British cargo ship and specialized in calling at smaller ports of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and twice loaded cotton at Galveston. It was this local connection, and the authenticity of her iron hull, that led Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) to purchase the vessel, then a cut-down motorship, and undertake her restoration. Today, ELISSA is one of only three pre-20th century sailing vessels in the world that have been restored to full sailing capacity. Designated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Landmark, ELISSA was named the “Official Tall Ship of Texas” in a resolution signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 2005.

The 2021/2022 schedule is as follows:

July 31 : Orientation (Fun Muster)
August 14 : Class 2
August 28 : Class 3
September 4: Class 4
September 11: Class 5 (Fun Muster)
September 25: Class 6
October 9 : Class 7
October 23: Class 8
October 30 : Class 9 (Elissa’s Birthday Party)
November 13 : Class 10
November 20 : Class 11
December 4: Class 12 (Dickens on The Strand)
December 18: Class 13
January 8: Class 14
January 22: Class 15 (Chili Cook-off)
February 5: Class 16
February 12: Class 17
March 5: Class 18
March 19: Class 19
March 26: Class 20 (Graduation)
April 2: Make Ready
April 6 – April ? : Day Sails Times and Schedule TBD 


When does it start?

Orientation Starts at 1 pm on Saturday, July 31st. We will go to 5 pm and after we will have a social hour on the dock. Please stay, have a beer and meet the crew.

How much does it cost?

The program is entirely free! There is no monetary charge. You will have to purchase some gear such as rig knives, crew shirts..etc The biggest cost is your time.

What to bring?

Please bring a refillable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, and wear close-toed shoes.

Where do we go?

You will come to the Galveston Historic Seaport located at 2200 Harborside Dr. in downtown Galveston. Orientation will be held inside the Museum to start. We will spend a portion of the day outside, so be prepared for the heat.

What is the point?

The program is designed to teach traditional skills of seamanship and maintenance to participants. Successful completion of the program is required to become part of the sailing crew of ELISSA on her annual sea trials in the spring! It’s a rare and incredible opportunity.

How do we sign up?

You will sign up at the white table before sitting down for the start of the orientation. We will contact you by email in the future. All Handouts will be available with information on dates, classes, requirements for graduation…etc.

Any other questions, contact Ryan Bradfield.

For more information on joining the volunteer crew of ELISSA or to learn more about the campaign to Keep ELISSA Sailing, contact us at 409-763-1877.

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Kyle Hensley
Kyle Hensley
9 months ago

I very interested in helping and learning more about this ship. Is there a new schedule for 2021?

Crystal Rodriguez
Crystal Rodriguez
8 months ago

When does the Elissa set sail this year? We would love for our life skills class to be able to see it if possible.

Adrian L Savoy
Adrian L Savoy
Reply to  Galveston History
2 months ago

How many people will be able to participate?

4 months ago

I will be there. I’m super excited.

Morgan Browning
Morgan Browning
3 months ago

This is so awesome! I absolutely want to be apart of this!

Ruby Moseley
Ruby Moseley
3 months ago

How long is the Alyssa at sail,, in april?

Janice Campbell
Janice Campbell
2 months ago

For Saturday July 31 orientation is there designated parking?

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