Month: January 2021

A seasonal guide to sailing in Cornwall

Pellew sailing Cornwall

Cornwall for many is the UK’s favourite holiday destination. With its astonishingly diverse and picturesque coastline, stunning sandy beaches and meandering streets in ancient fishing ports, Cornwall has so much to offer. A sailing holiday in Cornwall is the perfect way to experience a more undiscovered Cornwall, away from the crowds with local skippers as your guide.

Over the centuries, our nation’s foundations have been built on the age of sail and Cornwall played an integral part in the design and construction of wooden sailing boats. Today, Pilot cutters, trading schooners, rowing gigs and fishing smacks have all stood the test of time and offer a huge amount of pleasure to all who visit the county.

Escaping to the outdoors for the freedom of the sea and fresh air after the restrictions of 2020 has never been more needed. Thankfully, with a sailing holiday in Cornwall, you can explore the coasts and rivers at your leisure aboard a wonderful historic fleet of comfortable sailing vessels; each one superbly restored and hosted by wonderful captains and crew.

Spring sailing in Cornwall

Wake up from winter and spend a Spring weekend sailing in Cornwall. Find Bessie Ellen in the picturesque port of Fowey with its charming narrow streets and coloured cottages stretching the foreshore. It’s no wonder that the ancient town of “Foye” is such a mecca for outdoor sailing enthusiasts who come from afar to explore this perfect little estuary.

Explore the waters of St Austell bay, shielded by Dodman point and dominated by the Cornish Alps – the remains of China Clay spoils once so important to the historic harbours of Charlestown and Par. On returning to Fowey, the stark red and white bands of the Gribben Head day mark.  Built in 1832, the daymark was constructed to avoid confusion to mariners mistaking the shallow reefs of the bay with the deeper estuary of Falmouth further down the coast.

Eda Frandsen shakes of her winter blues and sets sail from Falmouth under new ownership with the lovely Mungo & Stella. The historic port of Falmouth provides an ideal starting point for a sailing holiday in Cornwall, exploring the river where each bend reads like a book, opening a new story on each turn. A morning walk ashore is one of the most relaxing ways to begin your sailing adventure as oystercatchers chatter away, herons clack in the branches and the quiet cormorants dive with a satisfying plop.

As the river gives way to mud banks, the spires of Truro glint in the morning sun.  Winding back towards the sea, the Fal is truly one of the great British rivers and remarkably unspoiled on all banks. The sea beckons, and with Stella’s fabulous bakery below from her tiny galley, munch contentedly on cake and she will happily divulge the secrets of the Helford river. Equally enchanting, the Helford is a smaller river hiding creeks and quays along the way. Daphne Du Maurier penned her famous Frenchman’s Creek after a sailing voyage from Fowey with her father. Today, the Helford is a place of absolute tranquillity and is surely a little bit of heaven on earth, and a must-see for any private charter sailing holiday in Cornwall.

Pilot Cutters unite!

The clatter of blocks and the crack of the canvas never fails to excite as the fleet assembles in the bay of St Mawes for the annual Pilot Cutter Review in May.  Over four days, Pilot Cutters of all ages, from new-builds to restorations, gather together to cruise in company along the coast to Fowey and back before rejoicing in friendly racing around the cans in the famous Carrick roads.  Join Pilot Cutters Agnes and Pellew as they join this spectacle of sailing along the Cornish coast.

Shanties and classic sailing in Falmouth

If you love the sea and you love a shanty, then the Cornish town of Falmouth hosts one of her biggest summer events in June, the Classic Boat rally combined with the increasingly popular Sea Shanty Festival. Street markets, food stalls and singers fill the streets, pubs infused with Breton stripe clad revellers resound with harmonies of John Kanaka and Fair Spanish Ladies.

From all over Europe, singers come together in song and friendship, keeping alive the old sea shanty traditions. Out on the water, graceful classic yacht Escape, traditional trawler Pilgrim of Brixham and gaff cutter Pettifox liven the bay with other classic boats, joining the parades of sail and friendly races that take place throughout the weekend before the tired sailors retreat to a corner of a warm and friendly pub to join in the merry singing.

Summer river sailing along the Tamar

Think lazy summer days spent messing about on a river. Life could not be more carefree as our traditional Tamar barge Lynher slides gently on the tide from the wide mouth of Plymouth sound up through the marshlands of the Tamar River. This great river divides the two counties of Cornwall and Devon and navigable upstream from the mouth a Cremyll.

Today, the industrial mines of tin in this region of Cornwall lie quiet, but the once busy quays are still there – famous Cothele, quiet Haldon and majestic Morwelham each have a unique story.

The banks of the meandering river come alive with wildfowl in the early evening light and a gentle peace descends over gently rolling hills after the heat of the day.  Well away from the tourist trails, the Tamar Valley is a real gem of a destination to explore. Great walks lead to historic monuments all wrapped in the unspoiled woodland valleys. Perfect for a family sailing holiday and private charter weekend away in Cornwall.

Be part of the historic Tall Ships race

Falmouth has once again been chosen as host port to the magnificent Tall Ships Race as they set off on the start of the Magellan – Elcano 500 Series, celebrating 500 years of the first circumnavigation, crossing Biscay to La Coruna before heading south to the famous ports of Lisbon and Cadiz. 

Falmouth is particularly suited to hosting the regatta, from St Anthony’s head to Helford, Flushing and Pendennis, everyone can enjoy a day on the cliff tops in the clean sea air, relishing in the excitement as the all Tall Ships and their crews prepare for their own adventures. 

Or perhaps you want to be closer to the action onboard Escape or Pettifox as they offer guests the chance to sail in Falmouth Bay and see the start of the Tall Ships Race and join the parade of sail. A sight not to be missed!

Head to the islands from Cornwall

As legend has it, the Isles of Scilly are all that remain of the ancient land of Lyonesse but today the Isles of Scilly are the perfect sailing holiday getaway. There is no better way to explore than by sailing boat, discovering new bays and anchorages, wildlife spotting of the Western Rocks or walking barefoot in powder white sand. 

Many of our fleet of sailing vessels visit the islands, but none are more suited to the area than Agnes, a true Isles of Scilly pilot cutter and gaff cutter Pettifox who was built on islands.  Built specifically for the sea around the islands, both boats have a shallow draft so are able to venture into some of the more isolated spots around St Martin and Tresco, and the hidden island of all – Gugh. 

With so much turquoise water and wonderful beaches, being in the water as much as on it is a must, netting prawns in the Tresco shallows is a favourite way to idle away the afternoon. Plants and gardens are very much a part of the island industry with plenty to visit or walk the gentle paths between old flower fields   Whatever the weather or time of year, the islands impart a little magic to everyone who comes here and leaves you wanting more of this simple way of life.

COVID-19 FAQ’s – Book with Confidence.

Pellew Sailing

Update December 2020

COVID-19 brings difficult times for us all, but we are buoyed by the messages of support and help we have received from our guests, crews and the sailing community as a whole. Here at VentureSail Holidays we are continually adapting to this new world as we all find a way forward to brighter horizons. We know there are still many questions that people need answers to, so we have complied some COVID -19 FAQ’s and answered them as simply as we can. If you have any further questions about booking a sailing adventure with us, please do give us a call in the office.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Will my 2021 booking go ahead?

Unless you hear from us, your voyage is due to depart as scheduled. We are monitoring the FCO and the WHO for updates and will be updating you with any new travel advice as we get it. Holidays outside of the UK maybe subject to travel delays, so please check destination guidance before leaving.

Will I need to take a test?

At the moment, we are looking at the possibility of proof of a negative test or proof of vaccination before stepping aboard. We understand this situation is changing all the time and we will inform all guests of any new procedures as soon as we have more information, required procedures or guidance from the government and our various industry bodies.

Can I postpone my trip if I’m unable to travel due to COVID-19?

For bookings made before March 2020 you can choose to postpone your voyage.  Any monies paid will be held as a credit note until December 2021 and can only be used for sailing with the originally booked vessel. Bookings cannot be transferred to another boat, unless that vessel is no longer available. Sorry, no refunds are available in this circumstance.

For bookings made from 2021 if you are unable to travel due to COVID-19 disruption, you will receive either a full credit note to the value of monies paid or a 75% cash refund and a 25% credit voucher if a full balance has been paid. If only a deposit amount has been paid, this will be held as a credit voucher. “COVID-19 disruption” includes affected travel plans caused by government restrictions. This credit note is valid for 12 months from the date of your scheduled departure and should be used in the first instance with the boat that was originally booked on. Please read our full terms and conditions here and the boats these terms apply to. Some of our fleet have different terms for COVID events.

Can I cancel and get a refund if I no longer want to travel?

If you have a disinclination to travel that is in no way related to COVID-19, your booking will be cancelled in accordance with our booking terms and conditions or that of the vessel booking terms where those apply.

Can I get refund it I display COVID-19 symptoms before I’m due to board?

If you display COVID-19 symptoms up to 14 days before you are due to depart, you will not receive a refund but you will receive a credit voucher for all monies paid valid for 12 months.

What happens if my flights are cancelled but the trip is still going ahead?

If your flights are cancelled for reasons regarding COVID-19 and/or government restrictions, you will receive a credit voucher for all monies paid for your voyage. If your flight is cancelled for any reason, you will need to contact your travel insurance provider for compensation. We will not refund or credit any monies paid in toward costs of travel to meet the embarkation location.

What if I or another guests gets COVID-19 during the voyage?

If any person sailing on a voyage gets COVID-19 the vessel will follow their COVID-19 procedure. Each destination/port authority will run different procedures depending on where you’re sailing and government advice at the time. Most likely we will endeavour to get passengers off the vessel and onshore as soon as possible to either isolate or receive medical assistance if required.

What happens if the vessel has a COVID-19 outbreak before I am due to join?

If the vessel is required to quarantine in port for a time period that will affect your travel, we will offer you an alternative boat, if there is one available, or we will transfer your booking to a later date. Once a vessel has completed it’s quarantined it will be cleaned with an antiviral procedure to eliminate any chance of re-infection.

Do I have to pay my balance or can I wait and see what happens?

Unless you are told otherwise, please follow our existing terms and conditions for making payments as normal.

Is my money safe?

Yes. When you pay your balance, your money sits in a secure Client Account that is only accessed when the voyage goes ahead.

Do I still have to buy travel insurance?

Yes. We understand that travel insurance companies have been reluctant to cover any claims regarding COVID-19 or offer new policies with COVID-19 cover. You will still need to purchase the appropriate travel insurance as this covers you for a whole host of other eventualities while sailing.

Will I need to wear a mask?

You will need to bring a mask to enter most marinas/harbours and for when you go ashore if you want to visit shops etc to remain in line with government guidelines. You will, however, not be required to wear them once aboard as you will have created your own “bubble” with the other guests and crew.

 Will I still get the same sailing holiday experience?

Yes – absolutely! It is our mission to ensure that your sailing holiday is the refreshing break you need. Aside from the need to wear face coverings ashore, once boarded, out at sea we will be entirely operating as normal, but please bear in mind we do have to adhere to all the latest government recommendations.