First Year Experience (ELISSA Sail Training)

Join the Maritime Studies Program for a once in a lifetime opportunity to train as a crew member and sail aboard the 19th century clipper ship ELISSA, and earn three hours credit while doing so.

ELISSA is a three-masted, iron-hulled barque built in 1877, one of only two ships of her class in the U.S. which remains in full working order today. 
Because of a special partnership between the Texas Seaport Museum and TAMUG, you will be able to step back in time to the "Age of Sail":  pulling lines, tying knots, climbing 90 feet into the rigging, straining with your crewmates at the capstan and windlass, singing sea chanties as you raise a yard, and memorizing the placement and use of ELISSA's 180 lines of running rigging. You will also help care for ELISSA from stem to stern by chipping rust, sanding, splicing and knotting manila lines, painting, varnishing, tarring, sweeping, and scrubbing.  An added benefit of the Sail Training experience is working closely with your classmates and getting to know other crew members from all age groups and walks of life, as well as learning and experiencing maritime history and culture.

You do not have to be a MAST major to participate, however MAST students are given first priority. 

TAMUG Maritime Studies Program

To compliment the sail training experience, MAST majors will take Nautical Archaeology, specially selected History and English classes, and a MAST elective.  This special package of popular classes is designed to immerse the first semester Sea Aggie into the Maritime Studies program.  The ELISSA class is listed in the Catalog as MAST 265.

Click here for more information on the Maritime Studies Program.  


For more information on ELISSA,
visit Texas Seaport Museum
Photo courtesy of Texas Seaport Museum.
The name and image of ELISSA is a registered trademark of the Galveston Historical Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Fitness Requirement

Sailing a 19th Century square-rigger involves a lot of physical labor, including climbing up the mast. However, you do not have to be a “climber” to be on the crew. All students are eligible to participate in the program and will be matched with tasks appropriate to their fitness level. This program fully complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.


August Mandatory class orientation on campus.
September First day of MAST 265 class;  orientation on ELISSA.
September through December Meet Fridays at Texas Seaport Museum for lecture topics in maritime history and traditions; complete regular ELISSA maintenance and sail training.  Attend other regular classes on campus.  Full day sail training on ELISSA about every other Saturday.
January through March Continue ELISSA sail training every other Saturday.
March Day sails.
TBA Overnight sail.