WEMBA Tall Ships Sailing


Tall Ships Sailing

This sailing expedition is one of those rare opportunities you can only get at Wharton.

Continuous Navigation & Oceanographic Exploration

As a crew member aboard the famed Robert C. Seamans marine vessel, a 161 foot-long Brigantine, you will build skills in teamwork, decision-making, adaptability and leadership through your work with one of the pre-eminent marine biology teaching institutes in the world, Sea Education Association (SEA).  This program is a continuous sailing expedition near New Zealand in the Southern Pacific Ocean that draws on participants’ endurance — mental and physical — and teamwork skills to achieve the team’s goals in the face of challenging, often unfamiliar obstacles and natural elements.

Activities & Risks

Participants will manage and operate the 161-foot ship over a continuous 8-day period, day and night, in deep ocean waters including navigation, sail handling and on-board oceanographic research.  Risks include motion/sea sickness, sunburn, heatstroke, dehydration, hypothermia from high winds and overnight watches, and multi-day exposure.


Participants need a moderate level of training and conditioning for this venture.  The program includes continuous sailing and management of the ship, alternated with on-board marine life collection and research.  Participants must thus be in reasonable physical shape to fully appreciate the program.  However, the breadth of activities and their design will make it possible for everyone, regardless of physical shape, to participate in some way.  The program does not require any previous experience in sailing.

Costs & Equipment

Participant fee covers all land and sea costs including transportation, professional fees, meals, on-site cooking team, guides, sleeping accommodations, radios, GPS, maps, sailing equipment, airport transportation, meals, and all technical workshops.  The fees do not cover airfare to the point of departure, personal clothing and equipment.

partner organization



  • Participant fee: $4,200 (land cost)
  • Number of seats per venture: 21
  • Dates: December 29, 2019 – January 6, 2020 (New Zealand Dates)
  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Venture Fellows: Michelle So, Alex Emmert, Sophie Alpert
  • Important Note: Please note the International Date Line with international travel. New Zealand is one day ahead of the US.
  • Slide Deck 

Tall Ships Sailing
Students describe what they learned on the Tall Ships Sailing expedition – one of the Wharton Leadership Ventures that takes place in the Southern Pacific Ocean.