Class Afloat Sails with Simcoe County Teen Aboard for 9 Month Adventure

Josh Renault


Tiny Township teen sails into adventure

Program boasts shipboard classes, stops at a dozen Atlantic Ocean ports

Josh Renault estimates he has taken more than 200 flights to destinations around the world – and he is just 16 years old.

But his latest adventure may be his biggest.

The Tiny Township teenager is participating in West Island College International Class Afloat, an educational program where students take classes on a tall ship, learn to sail and explore more than a dozen ports along the Atlantic Ocean.

“I’ve been a million places, but I’ve never been by myself,” he said.

He left Aug. 30 for a nine-month journey that will see him bounce across the ocean between Europe, North America, South America and Africa.

Starting and ending in Amsterdam, he and about 65 students, staff and crew will take a 64-metre-long sailboat to 17 ports in such countries as the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Senegal, Morocco, Spain and Portugal.
Josh Class Afloat
“Sailing knowledge is not required,” said Josh, who has nonetheless sailed and raced boats for years. “They teach you everything you need to do while you’re on the boat.”

All the class time will be spent on the boat, with cultural education done at each port, he said. The schedule is about 10 days at sea and four days on land.

Much of the course work is related to life on a boat or where the students are at that time. Biology class will focus on marine biology, physics will cover astronomy, and history will be about the places to which they travel.

“They take the best approach based on what we’re doing,” he said.

Josh Class Afloat Map

Josh, who was home schooled the past 11 years, is the second member of his family to join Class Afloat. His sister also made the trek about 10 years ago.

His family typically spends several weeks every year travelling on different continents together.

“Peru was amazing,” he said, recalling a two-day boat tour through the Amazon.

In Laos, the Renaults took a three-day trip on elephants and stayed overnight in villages along the way.

“The travels are always the most fun thing I do in the year. I’m excited for (this) experience.”

Originally published in the Midland Mirror 

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