Our new Sailing Master is excited about working on Golden Horizon and brings a wealth of experience.

The world largest Tall Ship deserves a truly experienced Tall Ship Mariner to lead the Deck department and to optimise the ship’s extensive suite of sails. Whereas most cruise ships’ second in command is known as the Staff Captain, onboard the Golden Horizon, that individual is known as the Sailing Master. Splitting his time between serving onboard luxury cruise ships and teaching onboard sail training vessels, including several years as Master, Richard Cruse brings exactly the right experience to bear.

“I’m looking forward to leading the team at sea” says Richard Cruse, who is thrilled at the prospect of making maritime history onboard the beautiful Golden Horizon. “I’ve always known the calling of the sea, even from an early age, it’s just part of my makeup.”

In his new role, Cruse will head up all departments in the same way as a staff captain on another cruise ship, but additionally will be in charge of the crucial and specialist areas of sailing and seamanship. It’s these responsibilities that will make his time onboard Golden Horizon very different to that of typical larger cruise ships – which he is eagerly anticipating, “you have a lot more to think about and its quite specialist knowledge.”

After an initial UK season starting in May, Golden Horizon will head east in August on sustainable voyages around the world, with the aim to sail, without using engines, for 70% of the season.

 “The itinerary has been assembled using routing charts, to make the best use of the prevailing conditions for the time of year. However the specific passage plan and sailing strategy will be down to myself and the Captain.”

Richard has spent time in Croatia getting accustomed to the ship and will get his wish to return to the sea when he goes back there in January to begin sea trials and assist with the training of some of the crew.

Despite being only 35, Richard has a good and varied amount of seafaring experience. He joined the merchant navy at 18 and has worked on large and small cruise ships as well as in sail training.

“I prefer the small ship lifestyle,” he says. “You recognise both crew and passengers and build up a rapport with them – ultimately it’s all about the people, that’s important. It also allows you to focus on more of the granular detail and do things really, really well.”

“I’ve been out to see Golden Horizon in Croatia. She is very well designed from a passenger and sailing perspective, with generous deck space and intimate areas like Debeljaks bar. The rig may not be what Jock Willis of the Cutty Sark was used to, but I think he would be pleased. It’s very efficiently and cleverly designed, making use of modern materials and engineering techniques. I believe that she is capable of a good turn of speed and high windward performance for a square rigger. Her sheer size will make for an impressive sight; the long waterline length, fine lines and clipper bow should give excellent sailing qualities.”

“The accommodation is very neatly arranged, and there is a subtle, tasteful elegance about the ship. It’s not about glitz and glamour – the design of the ship and the level of service will speak for themselves. The history and rich culture of the places we visit will appeal to those of an inquistive mind, whilst the quality and ambience of the ship will suit those who appreciate a more refined experience. It’s why I’m so behind Tradewind, there is a substance to it”. 

Richard said Golden Horizon was ideally suited to longer ocean voyages.

“Of course, she can sail anywhere, but she really comes into her own on long ocean going voyages. It’s here that we can make use of the more stable tradewinds, really power up that rig, and where you can feel the relentless pouding of the ocean under your feet, hear the spray and smell the sea. She’s the 747 of the sailing community and she’ll do well in the right hands. There is something very special about watching the sun rise over the vast expance of ocean, with a fresh cup of coffee and the prospect of a new day.”

Richard has also been impressed by the team recruited by Tradewind Voyages.

“It’s clear that some of the industries leading talent have come together to bring this company to life. No-one knows it all and we are all experts in our own field – the success will be driven by the blending of this collective specialist knowledge. I’m really proud to be part of that.”

An application available to download on smartphones is helping Tradewind Voyages plan unique itineraries around the world.

Savvy-Navvy is being used by Head of Marine John Grenville-Goble, the man charged with plotting the voyages next year and beyond on Golden Horizon, the world’s largest square-rigged sailing ship.

Tradewind Voyages use the winds to follow the sun to create sustainable trips around the world, with the aim of sailing (without using engines), for on average 70% of each season.  After an inaugural UK season in May 2021, Golden Horizon will head east in August 2021.

The starting point for Grenville-Goble was to use routing charts, a navigational technique used for hundreds of years, before steam power made the wind less relevant (see ‘Routing Charts Helping Plan Unique Voyages’).

After initial routes are plotted, Grenville-Goble consults Savvy-Navvy.

“The app helps take the philosophy and turn it into a voyage plan,” he said.

“It’s not used for navigation, it is purely for reference. But it is a helpful next step in the planning process.”

For example, when Grenville-Goble is plotting an itinerary in the Sulu Sea, he can use the app to plan the route from Sandakan, north of Borneo, to Puerto Princesa, on the Philippine island of Palawan.

“The app can draw the distance between destinations and tell me the current winds and where they are coming from.  It’s a help in planning how much the ship can sail.”

After using the app to scope the intended route, the next stage of the process is to properly plot the route, for this Grenville-Goble uses an ECDIS system called NaviPlanner, from Wartsila, the same system that will be deployed on Golden Horizon.

“This is a specialist bit of kit dedicated to navigation that professional navigators use to create the waypoints that make up the voyage plan.”

For our UK itinerary, NaviPlanner gives Grenville-Goble access to the full worldwide chart portfolio, some thousands of charts.

“It is the same system used on the ship, so that there is no confusion about the route.”

Grenville-Goble has been seeking out iconic cities and hidden beaches to visit and is not totally reliant on technology.

“We have a great shore excursion team who help us with the planning.  Our philosophy is that we are less likely to have large groups going jet-skiing and much more likely to have small groups going snorkelling or on a cultural trip, so they help us find the right destination or those hidden beaches.”

“As an example, on the east coast of Australia there are some beautiful coves that offer natural protection against swells but in most cases it’s not possible for us to get in, so we will find the best place to anchor and tender in and we are having local help to find the most suitable places.”

Golden Horizon’s air draft i.e. her height from water line to mast head, is 64 metres and it has a draft of 6.4 metres.

One of Grenville-Goble’s key tasks is to ensure that wherever she sails, bridges are high enough for the ship to get under and the water is deep enough to accommodate the ship.

“Around countries like Denmark and Japan there are quite a few bridges on our routes, however Golden Horizon has the ability to fold down the top four metres of her masts to get under bridges. We always double check our navigational routes with local authorities.

“Also, the ship’s draft has an impact on some of the routes that we can take.”

“But customers should not be concerned.  We never take risks and we always make sure there are very significant safety margins in all measurements.”

“We focus on zero impact to the environment, and health and safety is an area where we do not sail close to the wind.”

Tradewind Voyages product director Oliver Hammerer has created an environment whereby customers can experience many emotions whilst they travel on the world’s largest square-rigged sailing ship, Golden Horizon.

“I want our guests to feel happy, to feel relaxed, to explore, to be well, feel well, sleep well, eat well, feel content, connect with the elements and enjoy themselves!” he says.

Hammerer has an extensive background working for luxury cruise lines and joined Tradewind Voyages as the man tasked with making the on-board experience luxurious and as enjoyable as possible.

“We include coffee, soft drinks, wine and beer at dinner. WIFI will also be included.”

The ship will offer sustainable voyages, following the wind and using sails for propulsion whenever possible.  Hammerer feels it is vital to carry this through in the on-board experience.

“We won’t have plastic straws or bottles of water.  Shampoo bottles will be biodegradable. It’s easy to slip up there and you have to practice what you preach.”

Tradewind Voyages will offer excellent service, while retaining a casual and relaxed atmosphere on board.

“Onboard the service will be very friendly, but not over-familiar. Dress at dinner will be smart casual, we won’t have black tie dinners.”

Hiring the right personnel on board is vital to achieving the right atmosphere.

“You hire the right people and treat them in a way that makes them feel proud of what they do.  Crew recruitment and crew treatment is vital.  Make them feel great and an integral part of the team.  A happy crew makes for happy customers.”

The ship will have 272 guests and 159 crew but Hammerer says the guests to crew ratio will feel smaller than the 1.7-1 figure.

“We won’t have casino staff or photographer, for example. So there’s a high number of people looking after guests – it will feel very attentive without being intrusive.”

A key part of any voyage will be the food and drinks served.  Under the mantra ‘Eat Well, Be Well’, Golden Horizon will offer a high standard of traditional and local dishes. 

The main restaurant will have food laid out in the style of a buffet, but guests will be served.  There will also be pasta and sushi stations, along with an a la carte menu.

“I’m delighted we’ve found the right Executive Chef because it’s a crucial cog in the wheel.  The dinner is the highlight of each day.  It’s so important that even the chief executive was involved in the selection process for the chef!

“We want people to eat well and be well, but pampering is also important.  We can also serve some indulgent foods if they are done in style and in moderation.

“We’ll have a fantastic mixology programme offering cocktails with fresh and local ingredients.  It’s important – a liquid food!  We’ll also offer a price that makes people think ‘that’s a good deal and I’ll have another one if I want’, rather than ‘that’s a bit steep’.  It’s all part of the philosophy of making people feel relaxed without having to worry too much about cost.”

Spa treatments, a wellbeing programme that includes Pilates and Thai Chi instruction on the open deck and beaches around the world, live entertainment in the form of a pianist and singing duo, and quizzes, movies and educational talks will all be on the menu.

Hammerer still has plenty of work to do before the first sailings, but is extremely excited about a product that he feels will be popular when the world starts opening up again and holidaymakers are able to travel.


“Sustainability is going to be increasingly important in the future,” he said.  “People will also want fresh air and space and we have a huge amount of deck space and three pools, which is quite something for a ship of our size.

“Of course, it’s currently a difficult time for everyone but it’s an exciting time for us, creating something that we’re sure our customers will love.”

By John Grenville-Goble, Head of Marine at Tradewind Voyages

For the past few months, I’ve been pouring over routing charts as we plan our itineraries at Tradewind Voyages.

These charts have been plotting prevailing winds around the world for the past 150 years.  The charts are re-issued every 15-20 years, but there are only ever very small changes, so we can be pretty confident they are accurate.

They are crucial for us as our philosophy is built on using the wind and currents to follow the sun, allowing us to sail as much as possible when we head east in August 2021.

We want Golden Horizon, the world’s largest square rigged sailing ship, to offer the most sustainable voyages at sea and this is what makes us different from other companies.

We aim to sail, without using engines, for an average of 70% of our voyages.  It’s a huge task to get the right balance of wind, current and climate, so that passengers have a wonderful holiday.

We are taking people to see the world but, for us, the ship is also the destination and we will go where the wind takes us.  If, for example, the wind is not going to Rio, then we’re not going to Rio because we plan the itineraries based on the wind patterns.

In the Far East, the winds dictate that we sail through the Japanese island chain via Okinawa and then on to Nagasaki.  Others are more likely to take the inshore route via Shanghai and Vietnam.

Following the winds and the sun also means that we will visit some fascinating destinations that are off the beaten track, such as remote ports in India and Indonesia.

Our adventure will start in May next year, when we bring the ship to the UK for a series of itineraries from Glasgow and Harwich.

Even on these trips, we are using the elements wherever possible.  On our ‘Wonders of Iceland’ voyage, we’ll sail clockwise around Iceland and proceed to Reykjavik and the Faroe Islands before heading to Scotland – if we take that route the winds should be in our favour.

We’re confident our philosophy will appeal to adults who have a love of the sea as well as travel.

On our ship you’ll be lower down than many modern ships, as there is just six metres from the water line to the deck.  You’ll sometimes feel the splash of the sea!

That shouldn’t be any cause for concern to anyone thinking about a voyage, though!  At 162 meters long and 18.5 meters wide, she will ride the waves and with 35 sails on five masts is built to cut though the water smoothly.