Sailing aficionados from Australia who have experienced Sea Cloud Cruises’ two windjammer yachts and river boat have tripled to 1,000 last year compared to five years ago.

“We are seeing good growth from Australian passengers – and it’s often by word of mouth,’’ said managing director Jackie Foggitt.

The Gold Coast-based Ms Foggitt said that Sea Cloud yachts tend to attract private charters from rich Australians celebrating big birthdays to pharmaceuticals and insurance companies looking for conference and incentive cruises.

“A couple of years ago, a wealthy man from Melbourne celebrated his 60th birthday with 64 friends on a Mediterranean cruise on Sea Cloud.

“It cost him more than $3.5 million and he charged his friends half the amount. They had a great time.

“Once they have experienced a cruise on our sailing yachts, they often come back for more,’’ she said.

The line has just revealed its 2015 itinerary with the 64-passenger Sea Cloud launching a “no-fixed-route” eight-night voyage from Venice to Malta that takes passengers on a sailing odyssey “wherever the wind dictates’’ leaving on 12 October.

“We are the only ship to sail by hand and it takes an hour for the crew to set it up for sail,’’ said visiting vice president, marketing and sales, Anja Ringel.

The line is also marketing a 10-night sail on the world’s largest windjammer parade from Kiel to St Petersburg via Sweden and Finland on the 94-passenger Sea Cloud ll starting 26 June.

The privately-owned German line recently sold its 90-passenger River Cloud ll to river cruising specialist company, Grand Circle Cruise Line.