Sailing classes

Galveston Sailing Lessons offer a unique opportunity to learn the ropes aboard the official Tall Ship of Texas

On an island teeming with artifacts and treasures of days gone by, one particularly grand and beloved relic is not to be missed: the Elissa, the official Tall Ship of Texas. Now sailing novices, history buffs and brave sea-loving earthlings have a unique opportunity to sail through history.

Starting this summer, the Galveston Historical Foundation will be offering sailing lessons aboard the historic tall ship.

Those interested in the course can attend a free introductory meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 31 at Galveston’s Historic Seaport on Pier 22 Galveston, located on Harborside Drive between 21st and 22nd Streets.

Those who participate in the ELISSA Sail Training program will learn the skills and techniques necessary to maintain a square-rigged sailboat.

Volunteers will learn to climb Elissa’s rigging to trim and furl the sails and maintain the complex wood, wire and rope machinery, according to the Galveston Historical Foundation website. These tasks require skill and bravery; the ship’s main mast rises 99 feet above deck.

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After completing the free 20-lesson course, which will be delivered on designated Saturdays from August 4 to March 26, 2022, as well as the required working hours for the maintenance of the vessel, participants will be able to take Elissa out to sea.

The iron-hulled three-masted barque is one of the oldest vessels still in operation. She was launched in 1877 from Aberdeen, Scotland, and for the next 90 odd years the ship carried trade goods to and from North America, South America, Europe and elsewhere. . Over the years, the ship changed hands and names several times, sometimes going through Fjeld, Gustaf, Christophoros and Achaios, according to the Texas State Historical Association. Elissa docked at Galveston in 1883 and again in 1886.

In 1978, the Galveston Historical Foundation brought the ship from Greece to Galveston, restored the ship, and converted it into a floating museum. Now moored at Pier 21 in Galveston, the ship is one of the most visited attractions on the island (aside from its beaches) and receives some 60,000 visitors each year. Fun fact: In 1978, the ship became the first item outside the United States to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Texas State Historical Association. ELISSA was named the “Official Tall Ship of Texas” in a resolution signed by Governor Rick Perry in June 2005.

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Elissa is moored at the historic Galveston Seaport on Pier 22 Galveston. For more information, visit

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