Ocean College vs. High Seas High School

Date: 28.02.2024 
Geographical Position: 24°49.1′ N 080°16.7′ W
Etmal: 170 nm
Total: 7731 nm
Ship: Regina Maris

When we were in Cuba, we met, as you might already know, the students of “High Seas High School“ (HSHS). While we talked with them about our experiences, our ships and the journey in general, we realised some similarities and differences. 


All in all our journey is quite similar. We are a bunch of students who want to see the world and decided to sail for half a year on a sailing ship in the Caribbean and back whilst having school. Their ship, the Gulden Leeuw, is like our ship, the great Regina Maris, Dutch and the language on board is English.


But while our ship is 48m long their is 70m so they have way more sail area than we do. But for them the biggest surprise when watching our ship was that our engine room and galley are so small. According to them our engine room is as big as their galley. They also have more than double the amount of generators which are, not like ours, running 24/7. 

Watches and galley

As already mentioned they have a bigger galley than we do. But that’s needed. For us galley works like this: From each watch one person has galley a day, so only three people plus cook are supposed to be in the galley at the same time. But for them it is quite different. To understand it I think I should explain their watch system first.

They have four watches: Red, blue, white, and orange. Those watches are parted in group A and group B like we are in 1 and 2. They also have four hours watch a day and if you wonder now how this works out because they have a watch more then we I can explain it easily. Three watches have watch and one watch has galley. But they don’t change watch as we do after certain stops but every week. 

This also means having galley one whole week, what I think is really exhausting. Though, according to being A or B they only have galley in the morning or evening, that’s why they always have six people plus cook in the galley.


They are doing this routine for seven months, not for six like us which was one of the reasons I chose Ocean College. Their whole journey starts in Bremen what made them sail through the storm which forced us to stay in the British Channel for three weeks. They also have ‚expis‘ in Costa Rica but they have a more extended land program in Panama and Cuba.


Another major difference is how the teachers and crew deal with breaking rules. When we break rules like drinking alcohol, smoking etc. we get sent home. When we break smaller rules, like staying up to long, sleeping on watch, boys standing in a girls cabin or the other way around, it gets written in a protocol and when your protocol gets too long the teachers will have a talk with you first and decide individually about consequences.

But according to the HSHS students and their telling of the story there is a strict rule how many rules you may break on their ship. For each time breaking a rule, like sleeping on watch, boy is in a girls bed or the other way around, stealing food etc., you get a dash. When you have 13 dashes you will be sent home. But you can also reduce your dashes by doing something for the whole group, similar to our lost and found. 

When you break bigger rules like drinking alcohol or smoking, they get more than just one dash and drinking alcohol dashes you can’t erase. Also, there is an extra dash list for alcohol and if you have three on that one you will be sent home.


For me the most important difference is the sleeping situation. We sleep in eight cabins with each four students and one cabin with two. Each of us has one box and a cabinet, which is everything we can place our 100l of luggage in. 

But at HSHS all students sleep in one big room called dorm with 43 other people. They store their 120l luggage in lockers, smaller than our cupboards. Their beds are also different to ours. Two beds are stabled on top of each other. Each bed has under a mattress some kind of cotton tensed. They don’t have bedsheets but just sleeping in sleeping bags.


Though, everybody was really nice I’m glad that I chose Ocean College, because I think it’s really exhausting having galley for one week and I’m always glad if I can go to bed after galley. Also, from my point of view the sleeping situation can be really annoying, because it’s louder and even less privacy than we have here and I was really glad that I had a proper bed after the time we camped in Costa Rica.

I also prefer how it gets handled with breaking rules here and it makes more sense to me. But I really hope we can see them again and visit their ship.


…we were woken up by Kris telling everybody loudly that they broke the speed record in their watch under sails with 10.3 knots. But how it had to be karma came three hours later while I was steering and now we have a new record of 10.5 knots.

Sadly, we now had to take all the sails down, because we don’t have any wind. So we have to finish our food and till my next daily report I say goodbye and wish you all a nice day.

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