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Life Onboard the Spirit of New Zealand

The Spirit of Adventure
Health and Safety

While onboard the Spirit of New Zealand you will learn about sailing, take part in watches and other daily activities which require team work and develop a variety of life skills.

While onboard the Spirit of New Zealand you will follow a daily routine. A typical day on board involves:

  • 6am - warm up & swim in the ocean (even in winter)
  • Breakfast
  • Watches (teams)
  • Cleaning stations (all have cleaning duties)
  • 8am - day plan (timetable for the day)
  • Set sail
  • Morning tea
  • Anchor about 3pm
  • Afternoon tea
  • Ashore / activities
  • 6.00pm - dinner
  • Activities in the aft-cabin or on deck / night sail

When the ship is ship-shape the real day starts. Anchors up, sails up and away.


Being a square rig means someone has to go up the mast and untie the sails – 30 something meters up. A real buzz is created after this first experience, which is experienced by all trainees before the end of the voyage.

During the day there are mini lectures in the aft cabin - deck knots and sailing instruction. 

Sails only are used whenever possible and usually at about 3pm, the ship is anchored somewhere, the sail is tidied up for the night (up the mast again) – this time usually with more takers.

The trainees then either go ashore or have small boat experiences – these nearly always end up with everyone in the water.

During the voyage there is usually one night of sailing and for the other nights there are competitions and games, mini Olympics (every night is full).

The trainees then have night watch instruction and stand the night watch in two-hour shifts in pairs.

Roles onboard

The ship has

  • a permanent or full time Master (or Captain)
  • three permanent Mates
  • an Engineer
  • a Cook
  • up to six Volunteers which include four Watch Assistants (volunteer crew) and two Leading Hands (ex-Trainees) also sail on every voyage.

Students are organised into watches by their school and each half day a different leader will be appointed to take charge and be responsible for the day’s events.

Ready for a quiz?


Audio Māori keywords: 

Why do you think students are involved in watches while on the boat?

Students who participate in a Spirit of Adventure voyage follow a set routine each day involving jobs, activities and challenges. Image: LEARNZ.

Each voyage also includes land-based activities and challenges. Image: LEARNZ.

Everyone onboard has the opportunity to climb the rigging on the Spirit of New Zealand. Image: LEARNZ.

While onboard you will see a variety of marine wildlife. Image: LEARNZ.

The Spirit of Adventure
Health and Safety