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Adventure Under the Sails

Adventure Under the Sails

South Passage is a 100-foot (30.5m), gaff-rigged schooner. Based on the designs of the 19th century pilot schooners that operated off the east coast of America, South Passage was launched in 1993. South Passage is classified as a Class C tall ship, the only sail training ship in Queensland and one of the few sailing in Australia.


She is sailed in the traditional way. Everything is done manually – there are no winches or mechanical aids. Sails are raised and lowered by hand and just about every activity requires a number of people working together as a team. Apart from the engine, the only mechanical equipment on board is an electric anchor winch, but usually students wind a manual capstan to raise the anchor.


South Passage was designed specifically for 14-17 year olds to experience Adventure under Sail. She has taken over 40,000 students sailing over the last 20 years. Her rig is relatively simple and everything can be managed from the deck.


South Passage is owned and operated by the non-profit organisation The Sail Training Association of Qld Inc. Members of the association are all volunteers, many with a background in sailing, and all with a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people. Their mission is to provide safe and challenging experiences for young men and women using the ship as a medium to develop leadership, initiative, independence and self-discipline.


South Passage voyages north to Cairns in autumn/winter and returns to Manly in Queensland on the shores of Moreton Bay in the spring. In the early summer, she voyages south to Sydney returning in late January for her annual spell out of the water for maintenance.


A voyage on South Passage can be designed to achieve a range of goals such as:

– Developing leadership skills and personal confidence

– Encouraging teamwork, cooperation and consideration

– Bonding a group together in a shared and challenging experience

– Building seamanship and ship handling skills

– Creating an awareness of the wonders and fragility of nature

– Providing a platform for access to and study of the marine environment.


Voyages can be as short as a day sail or for up to a week (or even longer). The 5-day voyages prove most satisfying because it is long enough for the students to become accustomed to life aboard and to develop their skills and confidence.


Learn more about the programs, the crew and the voyages of South Passage by visiting or ph: 07 3893 3777.


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