Indeed, the term "tall ship" itself reputedly stems from "Sea-Fever", a poem written in 1902 by English Poet Laureate John Masefield. It reads:
"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky. And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
The solitude of the sea and sky that Masefield describes continues to intoxicate modern-day sailors.
"It's quite telling that many of our customers are solo travelers. For a lot of people, going away on a trip like this is about fulfilling a dream or testing themselves in one way or another," Purser said.
One of these repeat solo sailors is Claire Giles from England, who has been on more than 20 classic sailing trips around Europe.
"The reason I love it so much and keep coming back is because it challenges me as a person and as a woman. The feeling you get from sailing without modern technology is nothing but empowering," said Giles, who is the mother of three young boys.
"I love my family dearly but for me these trips are my escape. They give me a tremendous sense of freedom and adventure and they are my way of re-connecting with myself," said the 47-year-old, who recently got a "discreet little tattoo" of a boat on her shoulder as a symbol of her love for sailing.
Giles, and many of her fellow travelers, are driven by the desire to keep the memory of these enigmatic ships alive.
"You don't want to see these beautiful boats sit in a museum, you want to use them -- otherwise they are just going to rot away. They can and should be used for the purpose they were built for."