About the ship

Class Afloat takes place aboard the
Gulden Leeuw, a Dutch flag registered
Class ‘A’ sail training tall ship. 

Nothing compares.

To taking the helm of a tall ship under full sail.
To a night watch under a starry sky.
To a swim call in the Caribbean.
To an art class on deck.
To the physics and math of traditional celestial navigation
To the scent of land after days at sea.

Learn. Sail. Discover.

Welcome to school aboard the Gulden Leeuw.

Originally built in 1937 and completely redesigned and rebuilt in 2010, the Gulden Leeuw offers students the ambiance of a classic sailing ship with modern amenities and safety systems.

Over the course of the journey, students acquire the skills to sail the ship under the guidance of the Captain and professional mariner crew.

The ship has dedicated classrooms; large deck space where students can gather outdoors for social activities, meetings and group projects; a quiet, climate-controlled dormitory with adjacent washroom, shower and private changing areas; a fully modern galley and large dining area.

70 meters long with 40 meter masts, the Gulden Leeuw has a three-mast topsail schooner rig with both schooner sails and square rig sails designed for safety and efficiency.


The Gulden Leeuw operates an International Safety Management System (SMS) to the standards of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS ) and to additional tall ship regulation standards set out by the Dutch Government. The ISM operates from a state of the art computerized management system that monitors ship safety including equipment, rigging, engine room, deck watch, deck routines and sail changes. It has fully computerized navigation, weather forecasting and communication systems. The 2010 rebuild was completed to the highest fire safety standards, including full ship sprinkler and alarm systems. Students are trained and routinely tested on all aspects of ship safety as an integral part of their sail training experience.

Ship Details

Classroom Space

Classrooms on the main deck level have lots of natural light and direct access to the deck. 

Dedicated Dormitory

A dedicated dormitory area with individual bunks provide our students with a quiet sleeping and rest area 24 hours/day, with access to directly adjacent washroom, shower facilities and private changing areas. The dormitory is climate controlled with heating, air conditioning and fresh air exchange systems

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Deck Layout

The deck layout offers space for students to gather for social activities, classes, meetings and group projects

Fully Reconditioned in 2010

The ship has a classic design hull from 1937, but the interior was completely redesigned and rebuilt in 2010 for sail training purposes. The ship has preserved its 1930s heritage ambience, but offers us modern, clean and safe spaces for our classrooms, galley (meal preparation), social areas, dormitory, washroom and shower facilities.

Schooner and square sail rig

The Gulden Leeuw has a versatile three-mast topsail schooner rig with schooner sails and square rig sails on the foremast for an authentic ‘blue water’ sail training experience and improved sail time. The schooner rig allows us to sail in light winds and on courses that are ‘closer’ to the wind than a rig with only square sails. The rigging is designed for safety and efficiency, so is less labour intensive than other tall ships. Watch requirements are lighter than on our previous ship, allowing some students to ‘stand down’ from their watch duty when not required for ship manoeuvres and sail changes. This helps our crew stay more rested and create additional study or social time for them.

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Unique sail training programme

The Gulden Leeuw’s sail training programme engages our students in every aspect of sailing a tall ship, from voyage planning to setting a course, organising watch duties, setting the sails, steering the ship and starting and monitoring the engines. The sail training programme has a goal of equipping our students with the knowledge and skills required to take full command of the ship on set days (under the watchful eye of our captain and professional crew). The Gulden Leeuw won a Sail Training International (STI) award for most innovative sail training programme.

Galley and food service

A spacious, modern and fully equipped galley allows our Cook, Cooks Mate and students on galley watch to prepare and cook three meals plus snacks each day for our students and crew. The galley has an elevator to the upper deck and food service area. 

Professional Mariner Crew

Class Afloat hires some of the best tall ship professional mariner crew in the world. Our crew is hired for their dedication to the life changing development that sail training can bring to young people and are committed to the values of the Class Afloat programme. The unique Gulden Leeuw sail training programme presents world class learning and personal development opportunities for our students and our professional mariner crew and includes preparation, social areas, dormitory, washroom and shower facilities.

Our Captains

The Class Afloat professional mariner crew works under the direction of our two Gulden Leeuw Captains, Robert Postuma and Arjen Töller, both owners and operators of the Gulden Leeuw. Both Captains have dedicated their entire professional lives to tall ship sailing and sail training. The Captains were involved in every stage of rebuilding the Gulden Leeuw in 2010 and know the location and purpose of every nut and bolt on the ship.

Ship Particulars

The ship is 70.1m long, the masts are 40m high, and her three-mast topsail schooner rigging carries 1,400 sq m sail area.