Learn to sail on-board Johanna Lucretia, a 96ft topsail schooner.

You can join this striking ship on her sailing adventures around the West Country coast and to the Isles of Scilly for a hand’s on active holiday.

Johanna Lucretia is a 96ft topsail schooner with striking good looks that we have always admired. She has turned many heads in the West Country, Mediterranean, Canaries and Tall Ships Races over the years.

She is now under new ownership and looking forward to her first charter season in 2019.

Classic Sailing are thrilled that she is joining the Classic Sailing fleet and know she is in good hands. Her operators are the team that operate pilot cutter Pegasus and our RYA courses on historic gaff yawl Moosk.

View Voyages

Ship Stats

Length Overall


Year Built


Vessel Type / Rig

Topsail Schooner

Guest Berths


Crew Berths


What this vessel does best

Classic Sailing welcome Johanna Lucretia to our fleet - under new ownership 2019
Classic Sailing welcome Johanna Lucretia to our fleet – under new ownership 2019

Lots of Sails to Play with

Johanna Lucretia has a huge main sail and gaff topsail, a fore gaff and fisherman’s staysail, as well as two square sails, a huge jib and a boomed staysail. Her Captain Craig has been Pegasus skipper for years but before that he worked on the sail training brig Royalist. We know he can’t wait to get charter crews and sail training groups stuck into learning the ropes.  

The topsail schooner is arguably one of the most versatile of all sailing rig types, being able to sail quickly close to the wind with her fore-and-aft sails like our other vessels, but also has excellent downwind performance with a square topsail and course. Her spacious decks are ideal for group activities, and her large size, sheltered cockpit and high freeboard mean guest crew feel safe at sea.

If you want more of a thrill then her jib boom extends her length at least 20ft over the water, so it is a long way out there above the waves on the bowsprit netting to stow the jib. The square sails are hoisted from the deck so you don’t have to go aloft to stow them, but bringing them down to deck level in a wind will be quite exciting. There are ratlines so you can go aloft to the cross trees.

Johanna Lucretia has a European style ships wheel like this
Johanna Lucretia has a European style ships wheel like this

UK Short Breaks on a manoeuvrable Tall Ship

We think Johanna Lucretia will provide the missing link in British sail training as no other organisation in the UK has a topsail schooner. She is the perfect pocket tall ship. Adult crews that get a buzz at looking aloft to see white square sails powering them downwind. Couples will enjoy the fact that she has a range of accommodation options including double and twin cabins. Keen sailors will love a ship that can tack and gybe without bringing half the navy on deck. With only 12 guest crew and a crew of 4 you will have plenty of attention and room. The previous owner-skipper Rodger Barton was a succesfull restaurateur in a former life. The ship was his home and he liked to eat well as he traveled with charter guests. He furnished the decor below stylishly and the galley was the heart and soul of the ship.

Johanna Lucretia sailing out with the pilot cutter fleet in Fowey
Johanna Lucretia sailing out with the pilot cutter fleet in Fowey

Step Back in Time – Romance of the Sea

She will focus on the West Country and Isles of Scilly in her first season – a sailing ground that is scenic and timeless so it is easy to transport yourself back to the19th Century. Johanna Lucretia was rigged by Tommi Nielsen’s yard in Bristol which specialises in traditional rigging so she looks like a film set.

Johanna Lucretia has made a few film and television appearances. In 1978 she took the part of the Medusa in British spy thriller The Riddle of the Sands, set in 1901 it follows the efforts of two English yachtsmen to avert a plot by Germany to launch a military seaborne invasion of England. In 2006 she features in the film Amazing Grace, a drama about William Wilberforce’s campaign to end the slave trade. 

Film extra James Steevenson on Johanna Lucretia
Film extra James Steevenson on Johanna Lucretia

What to expect

Johanna Lucretia anchored off St Mawes Castle
Johanna Lucretia anchored off St Mawes Castle

Summer Cruising with Style

This comfortable and spacious vessel is a joy to live on as Johanna Lucretia boasts big wide decks, places to sit on deck and admire the scenery and full standing headroom below decks.  Her accommodation is light and airy and with a maximum of 16 people on board there is room for all to socialise in comfort or find your own little bolt hole. The uncluttered wooden decks provide enough space to stride confidently to a task at the mast or sunbathe under the bulwarks. 

‘Hands on’ Sailing Action

Don’t expect to be left in peace as this is still a sail training vessel and she in an insistent ‘mistress’ with plenty of sails to trim. All Classic Sailing ships offer hands on sailing so if you are on long passage to the Scillies or an overnight adventure then you will be in a watch system, taking turns to sail the ship. 

Aft deck from aloft on Johanna Lucretia. Photo Debbie Purser
Aft deck from aloft on Johanna Lucretia. Photo Debbie Purser


Big wide decks on Johanna Lucretia
Big wide decks on Johanna Lucretia

Topsail schooner Johanna Lucretia currently has a mix of accommodation. 

Available for guest crew are: 

On the Starboard side a long cabin with 4 single bunk berths

On the port side 2 twin cabins

In the forepeak a shared cabin with four berths

The bunks have reading lights.

Toilets are in the companionway close to all cabins.

The saloon and galley area is great for socialising as there are no bunks in this space.

The crew have separate accommodation in the Fo’castle and the stern.

There are 3 pin UK plug sockets in each of the cabins and some in the saloon for use when the skipper allows. 

Layout Below

Ship specification

Johanna Lucretia was built in belgium
Johanna Lucretia was built in belgium

Ship History

Johanna Lucretia was built in 1945 at the Rhoose shipyard in Ghent, Belgium as a fishing vessel, although she was never used for this purpose and laid as a completed hull and deck for several years before being sold in 1952. She was then converted and completed in 1954 for recreational use by her new owner and sailed Dutch waters from her home port of Enkhuizen in the Netherlands.

In 1989 she was sold to a British citizen, Mrs Heather Henning, who registered Johanna as a national vessel, with Plymouth as her home port. In 1991/1992 she was refitted at T Nielsen & Co Ltd in Gloucester to her present configuration and was used for sail training and private charter from Gibraltar, The Caribbean and the East coast of the USA.

In 2001 she changed ownership and for reasons unknown lay abandoned in Gloucester Docks. In 2008 she was arrested by British Waterways for non payment of licenses and mooring dues. Many professional sailors coverted her and contemplated buying her, including us at Classic Sailing. The new owner Rodger beat us to it as soon as she was available for sale. He carried out a major overhaul and operated her commercially as a charter boat for ten years, sailing mostly in European waters and cruising around the Cornish coast during the summer. She participated in several Tall Ships races, winning overall on two separate years. She was sold to her current owners last month August 2018 so she has a busy winter of sea trials and refit for her new roles.

Wooden topsail schooner Johanna Lucretia
Wooden topsail schooner Johanna Lucretia

Wooden Construction

Johanna Lucretia is solidly built, with oak hull planking laid on extremely strong oak frames and an iroko deck. Three separate watertight bulkheads mean there is the potential for longer distance cruising in the future. As a schooner, she has two masts, which are pine, stayed traditionally with lanyards and deadeyes. On the foremast she can set two square sails in addition to her gaff rigged fore and aft sails.

Skippers and crew

Skipper – Craig Young

Johanna Lucretia Skipper Craig Young on Pegasus
Johanna Lucretia Skipper Craig Young on Pegasus

Craig says …“I started sailing when I was fifteen; I was awarded a bursary to do a trip on TS Royalist, the Sea Cadets’ square rigger. I didn’t really want to go and tried to send a mate instead, but they forced me anyway and it turns out I quite like being at sea. I did a few more trips with the Sea Cadets on Royalist, including the 2005 Tall Ships Race and got my Competent Crew on one of their yachts before deciding I wanted to do sail training full time. I did a year as a volunteer bosun and have worked my way up in qualifications since to become Mate and then Skipper, sailing many different boats in lots of exciting places, always enjoying the beach bonfires, whale spotting and starry night sails and still ever reliant on milky coffee; the odd epic film soundtrack and awful cheese jokes.”

Craig has raised money to help fund more voyages for young people suffering deprivation, hardship or disability over the years!

Craig is one great sailor one really nice human being!

Debbie from Classic Sailing says …”I have sailed with Craig on a couple of different vessels through his career, and the lasting impression he has always made on me that he is kind to everyone. A genuine people’s person and someone you would want with you for everyones morale if skies turned gloomy”


Voyages on Johanna Lucretia

Johanna Lucretia

Westcountry Sailing Adventure JL130823


Sun 13-08-2023

Plymouth, UK


Fri 18-08-2023

Plymouth, UK

Classic Sailing on Johanna L:ucretia