Any Unlimited Master of Auxiliary Sail out there?

Yeah, I guess you could get a sail endorsement limited to 2,000 GRT but that’s not really an unlimited license and it’s nothing unique to the Oliver Hazard Perry. You need at least 180 days off sea time over 1,600 GRT to get an actual unlimited auxiliary sail license.

That’s basically the only way to get the tonnage to get an Unlimited Auxiliary Sail endorsement. At a minimum Dan Moreland worked on the Danmark, I’m pretty sure he worked on some other large foreign ships too.

I think a user here Richard8000milesaway (?) has that endorsement from the unlimited sail foreign cruise ships.

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Is that where Dave Dawes ended up? He was a grad student at SUNY while I was there in the late 90’s. last I ran into him was down in Key West where he was skippering the schooner America. Good guy.

Yep must be the same person. I meant 90s grad.

My hasty interpretation of that CFR, is that an officer with 200 GRT steam and motor, needs 360 days of sail seatime over 100 GRT to add an aux sail AGT endorsement with a tonnage limit. He would need 180 days on sail vessels over 1600 GRT to get unlimited tonnage.

While there are quite a few 99 GRT US sailing vessels, there are damn few over 100 GRT. As far as I know, the Eagle is the only US sailing vessel (Built in Germany) over 1600 GRT.

I assume that most of the US mariners that have a US license as Master or Mate of sail unlimited tonnage, are naturalized US citizens with foreign sail training experience. Mostly of Scandinavian, Dutch, and German origin.

Do the other STCW countries CoCs distinguish between steam, motor, and sail with separate endorsements?

Given how rare large US sailing vessels are, why does the US still make this distinction?

So you think it’s possible for a 200 ton license holder to get an unlimited “motor, steam, and auxiliary sail” license (now “self propelled vessels including auxiliary sail”) with just 360 days on a sail boat of a certain tonnage? I’m not sure how you reached that conclusion from this:

“The applicant must present the equivalent total service required for conventional officer endorsements, including at least 1 year of deck experience on that specific type of vessel. For example, for an officer endorsement as master of vessels of less than 1,600 GRT endorsed for auxiliary sail, the applicant must meet the total experience requirements for the conventional officer endorsement, including time as mate, and the proper tonnage experience, including at least 1 year of deck service, on appropriately sized auxiliary sail vessels.”

There are plenty over 100 GRT but the pay sucks so bad it’s basically volunteering (or it actually is volunteering in some cases).
I can name four off the top of my head, looking through an ASTA book would give more results:
Brig Niagara
Kalmar Nyckel
Victory Chimes
Oliver Hazard Perry

I assume that they’re mostly Americans that worked on large foreign square riggers.

I had a thread about that a few years ago. It seems that the US is one of the few, if not the only, flag states that has a sail endorsement.

So that someone with no sail experience or only having experience on 30 ft cabin cruisers doesn’t become an officer on a large sail vessel, especially a square rigger.

Since the Victory Chimes has no engine, I guess the CG considers their push boat to be an auxiliary engine even though it’s more difficult to maneuver that way than it is with an inboard engine.

Maybe what, 20 sailing vessels over 50 GRT, but less than 100 GRT? Not many, but with all the hundreds of sailing vessels under 50 GRT there is certainly good reason to have a limited tonnage sail endorsement.

Four sailing vessels over 100 GRT, (plus maybe Corey Cramer, Elissa, Westward, etc.), even if there are a dozen sailing vessels over 100 GRT, that is still damn few.

With the USCG EAGLE as the only sailing vessel over 1600 GRT, that is effectively zero US flag sailing vessels over 1600 GRT that a commercial or volunteer mariner might sail on. Therefore, there is not much point in having an “except auxillary sail vessels” restriction on a so-called “unlimited” license.

I see no reference to sailing vessels as a special endorsement in STCW. If we are trying to harmonize our licensing system with STCW, we should conform to STCW by dropping the except sail restriction from our licenses.

There is no danger that someone with no sailing experience is sudden going to become master of a square-rigger. At least it’s not enough of a concern for STCW to take into consideration.

Some passenger ships used to take American Officers. Many stopped
because of the addition tax cost. Worked awful hard to get that license. Really do not want it cut out of the license system now. Sailed with two officers from the Danmark who were Danish. Thought they could get me on there. One was Uva Delfs. Do not remember the other one.

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Star of India out in SF comes close to unlim

When applying for the license years ago needed 180 days unlimited tonnage as Chief Mate. 180 days over 100 tons.

That sounds like a reasonable requirement for someone holding an otherwise unlimited Master. It also fits with my interpretation of the CFRs.

is actually in San Diego and gets underway like almost never

[quote=“tugsailor, post:28, topic:45817, full:true”]
Therefore, there is not much point in having an “except auxillary sail vessels” restriction on a so-called “unlimited” license. [/quote]

It’s a necessary consequence of changing the language on the endorsement from “steam and motor vessels” to “self-propelled vessels.” The statutory definition of “self-propelled” includes sail, so if the endorsement is to be not valid for sail, it has to be affirmatively excluded.

Until recently, the term “unlimited” was not used in regulation, what is commonly considered “unlimited” used the language “of any gross tons.” It was analogous to the term “z-card” i.e. the name commonly used but not the actual title of the document. The 2013 rule change adopted “unlimited” to replace “any gross tons” and “any horsepower.”

It’s actually “unlimited tonnage”.

The main point of his question was why does the US have a sail endorsement at all? STCW doesn’t and most countries don’t see why do we?

The same argument can be used against Master of Towing.

We actually have a sail license, an auxiliary sail license and a power license. Aux sail requires 50% more seatime than sail or power. While this might theoretically have made sense before WWI, it makes no sense today.

Since it is much easier to operate an auxiliary sail vessel than a pure sail vessel (an engine is a very significant crutch that enables people with marginal sailing skills to sail safely), it never made any sense to require more seatime for auxiliary sail. Having an engine aboard also inhibits the acquisition and maintenance of pure sailing skills, especially sailing in confined waters and mooring, unmooring, and anchoring under sail. If any license might need to require more seatime, it would be the pure sail license, not the auxiliary sail license.

Most seamanship and navigation skills are common to any mode of propulsion, although sailing requires additional superior weather, route planning, navigation, and sail handling skills. Seatime on vessels with any mode of propulsion is valuable towards a “sail endorsement.” Of course some sailing experience is essential to acquiring adequate sailing skills.

I’m confident that most Unlimited masters could quickly learn the essential sailing skills for the vast majority of sailing vessels that exist in the US fleet, and the world.

There are damn few large US square riggers that actually go to sea, maybe two or three. There are absolutely no US masters left with sufficient recent experience to be truly qualified to sail a square rigger around Cape Horn in winter. Nor is there any point in pretending that such masters still exist.

There is no justification for restricting tens of thousands of officers licenses, contrary to STCW, in a way that no other country in the world does, just in case some underqualified officer might be tempted to sail a non-existent square-rigger around Cape Horn.

There are only a handful of pure sail vessels in the US that require a licensed officer. There will never be any significant number — never enough to justify having a pure sail license.

There is a need for a sail endorsement to cover the many small auxiliary sailing vessels, mostly under 25 GRT, that require a licensed operator. There is no need To use the word “auxiliary” for a sail license, it is a given that virtually all sailing vessels that might require a license Have engines. There are enough sailing vessels up to 100 GRT to justify a separate “sail endorsement.” Over 100 GRT, there are not enough sailing vessels to justify having a separate sail endorsement for them, or an “except sail” restriction on thousands of officer’s licenses.

At the very least, sail should be changed to an additional explicitly stated additional "sail endorsement"on a license, like towing, not a negative restriction contrary to STCW on tens of thousands of licenses.


Forget about Masters, there aren’t enough Deckhands and ABs that are strong enough and experienced enough to handle sails from aloft in those conditions. Having reefed square sails from aloft in The Atlantic February weather while under way, I think I’m qualified to say that there’s easier ways to make money without freezing or falling to death.


While there are occasional mentions of “sail” licenses I’ve never seen actual requirements in the CFR to have one issued. I’m fairly certain it isn’t possible.

No it doesn’t.