Category: Sailing Adventures

Sustainable Sailing, Northern Lights & Whale Watching in Norway

Noorderlicht Whale Watching

Experience the magical world of Northern lights and whale watching in Norway on a sustainable adventure holiday by boat. Immerse yourself in nature as you journey through the Norwegian fjords for a truly transformative experience. There is no sailing experience needed to jump aboard – just a taste for adventure! 


The Northern Lights 

The crown jewel of the Arctic sky, the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, add a touch of otherworldly beauty to our Norwegian sailing holidays. Visiting during the winter months means experiencing the Arctic phenomenon of the polar night, with an even greater chance of a Northern Lights display. As darkness falls, this celestial spectacle unfolds, painting the sky with vibrant colours. Many of our sailing holidays in Norway begin in Tromsø, known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”. A prime location for Northern Lights sightings, its proximity to the auroral oval, a region where the lights are most frequently visible, increases the chances of witnessing this feat of nature. 

Whale Watching in Norway 

Norway’s Arctic waters are home to an array of whale species. While embarking on a sustainable sailing holiday, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Many of our sailing and whale watching in Norway holidays take in Skjervøy, situated along the coast. This area is renowned for its herring and plankton populations, with these abundant food sources attracting a wide variety of whales, from humpback whales to orcas. 

Spend days at sea with the experienced crew, who know all the best spots for whale watching in Norway. Keep your binoculars at the ready to witness these powerful mammals as they breach and feed in their natural habitat, undisturbed by our small sailing vessels.

Sustainable Sailing in Norway

But it’s not just the extraordinary natural phenomena that make our Norwegian sailing holidays remarkable. Our fleet of sailing vessels range from historic tall ships to modern expedition yachts. Each vessel operates under sail wherever possible ensuring minimal impact on the local environment. By joining a sailing experience you are also choosing a more sustainable way to experience this increasingly fragile destination.

All our adventures are fully crewed, with all meals included in your ticket price. Throughout each voyage guests can actively participate in sailing, whether it’s assisting with the rigging or learning celestial navigation techniques. Or you can simply sit back and enjoy the marvellous views on deck. Our voyages to Northern Norway are perfect for solo travellers, couples, or groups of friends, with the option to book a berth, cabin or even charter a vessel to your needs.

Set sail on your Northern Lights and whale watching adventure


Sailing Holidays for Singles Over 50

Guests at the helm of Bessie Ellen

Are you over 50 and seeking a solo adventure? Then our sailing holidays are ideal for singles over 50 and could just be what you’ve been looking for! Whether it’s a classic boat, tall ship, catamaran or luxury yacht, we offer a variety of adventure sailing holidays on unique vessels, each skippered by passionate people taking guests to explore amazing destinations across the globe. Plus, there’s no experience needed so you can simply climb aboard and set sail. 

Like-minded individuals

We like to say that there are no strangers on each of our vessels, only friends you haven’t met. This a saying which always resonates with our guests who leave having formed firm friendships with many of their fellow passengers. Living in close quarters, bonds are soon formed, whether sharing the first dolphin or whale sighting, hoisting sails together or enjoying the wonder of life at sea and dinner under the stars. Our sailing holidays for singles over 50 guarantee companionship with plenty of opportunities to explore independently for those who wish. No pressure, simply the chance to travel with like-minded individuals.

No Single Supplements

Our diverse range of sailing vessels offer a variety of accommodation from open shared sleeping quarters where all the berths are in the same area in the boat to twin private cabins. And provided you are happy to share your cabin with another guest of the same sex, there is no single supplement charge.

Sailing on Bessie Ellen, Grayhound, Pellew, Pilgrim of Brixham or Escape allows you to snooze in the main hull of the boat, sharing your sleeping quarters with your fellow passengers. With curtains to pull across your berth each evening, after all that sea air many find they sleep very well in this environment, – it’s a bit like camping or in a dormitory.

If you prefer a little more privacy, all solo travellers can opt for a twin cabin at no extra charge, providing they are happy to share with another guest (of the same sex). This is an affordable way for singles to travel, as recently featured in The Telegraph by Teresa Machan >. It’s also worth noting that the cabins are really only in use for sleeping and dressing. Most of your time on board is spent in the shared living areas or on deck, so you won’t need to spend all your time with your fellow cabin mate. 

Hands-on adventures at sea

Our adventures are designed to be enjoyed by you, the traveller. This means you may choose to be as hands-on with the physical sailing as you wish. Each of our boats has a dedicated skipper and crew who are always on hand to gently guide guests, showing them the ropes and helping them get into the rhythm of the sea as they navigate their way to the next anchorage for the night. Our sailing holidays attract people from all walks of life, with a high percentage of our guests being solo travellers over ’50, so there is every chance to enjoy a holiday with people in a similar situation and age range.  If you’re unsure which boat might best suit you or want to know the mix of the people booked, our friendly and experienced booking team pride themselves on matching the right guest to the right boat so please do give them a call or drop an email.

They say life begins at 50 and with much of the world at our fingertips, our sailing holidays for the over 50’s provide a fun and sustainable way to travel with like-minded adventurers!

Choose your solo travel adventure >

Mile Builder Sailing

Florette Pulling Ropes on Board

Looking to build your miles at sea and gain valuable hands-on experience in open water? Our offshore sailing holidays offer the perfect opportunity to improve your sailing skills while sharing a bucket-list adventure with like-minded individuals. Whether you dream of crossing the Atlantic Ocean or the Bay of Biscay, a mile builder sailing holiday is perfect for the adventurous and those building confidence as a sailor.

From historic tall ships to adventure yachts and luxury classics, our unique vessels offer a variety of sailing experiences all over the world. Here, we’ll delve into why a mile builder sailing holiday is the best way to experience the natural world, immersing yourself into the rhythms of the waves and exploring captivating destinations. Take the plunge and discover life under sail.


Why choose a mile builder sailing holiday?

A hands-on learning experience

Mile builder sailing holidays provide an unparalleled opportunity to gain practical knowledge and improve your sailing skills. Unlike traditional mile builder training courses, our voyages allow you to actively participate in the navigation, sail handling, and overall operation of your chosen vessel as part of a crew.

Under the guidance of our experienced skippers and crew, you’ll learn essential seamanship techniques, gain confidence in your abilities, and develop a deep understanding of the art of sailing. You are welcome to bring your log books on all of our voyages, and our crew are always happy to facilitate any extra learning experience you would like. 

Embrace your seafaring ancestors

Humans have been sailing and trading for thousands of years, with the earliest evidence of sailing thought to be from the stone age. Our ancestors were explorers, adventurers, pirates and tradespeople. Some of our boats are sailing the same routes as they did as cargo vessels over 100 years ago. It’s in our roots, in our blood.

There is something indescribably magical about sailing with only the power of the wind. As you rely on the natural world , you’re able to disconnect from the modern world. Mile builder sailing not only also fosters a deeper connection with the places you visit, as you become part of a timeless seafaring tradition that has connected people and cultures for centuries.

The ultimate immersion into life at sea

Even if you’re not looking to become a professional sailor, joining a mile builder holiday is still the best way to get actively involved in sailing life. Mile builder sailing holidays provide the best opportunity to refine your night sailing abilities and celestial navigation skills.

There is something truly unique about watching the sun go down and the moon rise, while star-gazing at the clearest night skies from the deck of a boat. As part of the crew, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the unique challenges and rewards of sailing under the stars. Guided by experienced skippers, you’ll learn to navigate using celestial equipment, chart plotting, and electronic navigation systems, gaining confidence in handling the vessel during nighttime passages.

Discover diverse destinations from a new perspective

The Earth is two-thirds water, yet we spend most of our time on land. Our mile builder sailing adventures offer not only just sailing experiences but also give guests the chance to experience the world from a totally new perspective.

From the rugged coastlines of Scotland and Cornwall to the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean, and even the pristine beauty of Iceland; our adventures at sea will take you to bucket list destinations along the way. Embrace the opportunity to discover hidden coves, picturesque harbours, and charming coastal towns, all while experiencing the thrill of an ocean voyage. Feel the excitement of approaching a new coastline, and witness the gradual changes in scenery as you sail from one destination to another.

An environmentally conscious adventure

A mile building sailing holiday is also a great way to explore the world while reducing your carbon footprint. By harnessing the power of the wind, our vessels are able to minimise their carbon emissions whilst allowing the opportunity to visit different countries without using air travel. Instead of boarding a plane and missing out on the unique experiences to be found on land and sea, sailing allows you to savour the journey itself.

Spending longer periods at sea promotes a deep connection with nature, as you witness firsthand the vastness and beauty of the open sea. As you navigate through pristine waters and encounter marine life along the way, you develop a profound appreciation for the importance of preserving our fragile ecosystems. With sustainability at the forefront, our mile builder sailing holidays provide an opportunity to explore the world while treading lightly upon it.

Ready to set sail?

If you’re ready to take the plunge and experience life at sea, view all our mile builder sailing holidays below.
Any questions? Feel free to get in touch with our friendly team, who are on hand to answer all your questions, big or small, about our mile building adventures. You can contact the office by phone on +44(0)1872 487288, or drop us an email at [email protected]. We look forward to welcoming you on board!


Our Top Five Family Friendly Sailing Holidays for 2023

Tired of the usual go-to choices for your next family trip? Then why not join us for a stress-free skippered family sailing holiday?

Our unique fleet sail in stunning locations around the globe offering a range fully skippered and catered sailing adventures. Best of all, no experience is needed to climb aboard and guests have the option of doing as little or as much as they like. From individual berths to whole boat charters, set sail on a skippered family sailing holiday with us in 2023!

Why choose a family sailing holiday?

Our family sailing holidays provide an ideal opportunity for families to connect and create lasting memories. With no distractions you can focus on spending quality time together, engaging and forming strong family bonds. Sailing holidays also encourage self-reliance, problem-solving, and teamwork. Children will also have the chance to actively participate in sailing tasks. These could include helping hoist the sails, steer the ship, and learning the ropes of seamanship under the guidance of experienced crew members. Of course there are benefits for parents too, as you relax, unwind and indulge with no cooking, cleaning or washing up to do! 

Whether you’re dreaming of traditional sailing in Denmark, luxurious escapades in Sardinia, embarking on a thrilling pirate ship adventure in the Caribbean, discovering the wonders of the Faroe Islands, or sailing the crystal-clear waters of the Saronic Islands in Greece, we have curated an array of remarkable experiences to cater to every family’s desires. Keep reading to discover five of the best family sailing holidays for 2023, handpicked by VentureSail.

1. Greek Island Sailing on Zorba
A short flight to Athens and you can be on board Zorba within a couple of hours of landing for your family sailing holiday in Greece. Teenagers will love the Instagram-worthy turquoise waters and out-of-this world scenery. There is also the chance for the whole family to swim, snorkel and explore ancient historic sites all whilst soaking up the Grecian sun. Each island is completely different so no two days are the same – boredom is not an option!

Warm evenings are spent in local taverna’s feasting on delicious traditional Greek cuisine. It’s the perfect way to switch off, relax and get back to simple family pleasures while enjoying good food, fabulous weather and comfortable accommodation. Owners Aga and Greg are the perfect hosts, making a stress-free sailing experience. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere aboard Zorba encourages quality family time. Spend evenings stargazing from the deck, sharing stories and laughter, and forging bonds that will last a lifetime.
View Zorba‘s 2023 Summer Schedule >

2. Sustainable Family Adventure Holiday in Denmark

A sustainable family sailing holiday in Denmark’s South Funen will certainly capture the imaginations of parents and children alike. Step aboard magnificent schooner Aron, a beautifully preserved historic tall ship. A family sailing holiday with Aron is a journey where time seems to slow down, and the cares of the world fade away. This traditional sailing holiday also presents a unique blend of relaxation, exploration, and cultural immersion. Children will undoubtedly delight in helping hoist the sails and steer the ship, fostering a sense of adventure, teamwork, and independence.

The islands of South Funen reveal a world of enchantment, with each possessing its own distinct personality and landscape. From the charming island of Skaaro, renowned for its delectable ice cream and idyllic thatched cottages, to the fairy-tale town of Ærøskøbing on the island of Ærø, where 18th-century architecture transports you to a bygone era. Embracing the power of the Baltic winds, this journey emphasises ecological consciousness, sustainability, and local experiences.While you indulge in delicious home-cooked meals using locally sourced produce, you can also relish the tranquility of the sea, the sound of wind-filled sails, and the gentle creaking of the wooden ship. Children of all ages are welcome aboard Aron, while it is advisable for younger children to have some prior experience at sea. The ship provides a safe and comfortable environment for families to create lasting memories together.

View Aron of Svendborg’s 2023 Schedule >

3. Swashbuckling Caribbean Family Holiday
Ahoy, pirates! Prepare to set sail on a thrilling Caribbean holiday aboard the historic tall ship Florette. Here families, children, and teenagers will experience the adventure of a lifetime, just like in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Florette even has a voyage tailor-made for the Christmas holidays! Her Caribbean family sailing holidays offer a perfect blend of island hopping, exhilarating sailing, and endless opportunities for tropical exploration and relaxation. The experience of sailing on this magnificent vessel is certainly integral part of the adventure, allowing children and teenagers to witness the power of the wind as they hoist the sails and steer the ship.

Island hopping through the Windward Islands will unveil a world of natural wonders and thrilling activities. Discover secluded bays with crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking. Meanwhile, paddle along the coastline, marvelling at natural rock formations, or relax on pristine sandy beaches that stretch for miles. Captain Ron, who grew up on the ship himself, and now sails with his two daughters, shares the ship’s fascinating history with guests, captivating young minds with tales of adventure and exploration.

View Florette’s Sailing Schedule >

4. Luxury family holiday in Indonesia

Set sail on an extraordinary family sailing holiday with traditional Indonesian vessels Katharina and Ombak Putih for a once in a lifetime family adventure to the furthest corners of this island nation. Both vessels offer a range of experiences, from encountering the Orangutans of Borneo to witnessing the mighty dragons of Komodo and swimming alongside the legendary whale sharks. Indonesia’s endemic species, protected coral reefs, and ancient rainforests provide a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers. As you watch the sunrise over the stunning volcanic landscapes, you’ll breathe in the fresh ocean air and immerse yourself in the wonders of Indonesia.

On board both vessels, your family will experience the warmth of Indonesian culture and hospitality. Each ship offers kayaks, snorkeling gear, and SUPs for guests to enjoy, while the attentive crew can organize additional activities ashore. Indonesia’s pristine coral reefs, teeming with a rich variety of marine species, offer unparalleled snorkeling opportunities. Escape the tourist crowds and discover the untouched beauty of these remote areas, where the reefs have flourished undisturbed. Our family sailing holidays in Indonesia provide the perfect chance to explore these remarkable underwater worlds, ensuring a truly unforgettable experience for families, children, and teenagers alike.

View all our family sailing holidays to Indonesia >

5. Family sailing holiday to the breathtaking Faroe Islands

Join adventure yacht Cherokee to explore the Faroe Islands, nestled in the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean. This unique sailing area boasts fantasy-like landscapes, dramatic cliffs, and breathtaking waterfalls. The Faroe Islands is a truly otherworldly setting that will leave families in awe. Exploring these enchanting isles by boat unveils otherwise inaccessible beauty spots. This ensures an extraordinary experience for families seeking to connect with nature and discover the wonders of this isolated paradise.

Families are warmly encouraged to actively participate in all aspects of sailing, guided by skipper Jouke’s relaxed expertise. Take the helm, lend a hand with winching the sails, anchor the yacht, and even learn basic chart navigation. Prepare for an unforgettable journey through this magical corner of the world aboard Cherokee, where family sailing and extraordinary natural beauty intertwine to create lifelong memories.
View this voyage here >

If you have any questions about a skippered family sailing holiday or would like to find out more please contact [email protected] or call one of our friendly team on 01872 487288.

An Island by Island Guide to the Outer Hebrides

View of a croft house on the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides, located off the west coast of Scotland, are a group of islands with a unique blend of Scottish and Gaelic culture, history and nature. With crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and rugged coastline, the islands offer an unforgettable sailing experience. Our skippered sailing holidays to the Outer Hebrides offer a fantastic opportunity to explore the islands by sea – the perfect way to discover the diverse beauty of this remote and unspoiled corner of Scotland. The Outer Hebrides are made up of more than 70 islands – with just 15 of them inhabited.

Here, we’ve gathered just a few of our favourite islands to visit on a sailing holiday in the Outer Hebrides. For those looking to explore further afield, take a look at our St Kilda travel guide.


Barra Scotland

The Isle of Barra is located in the southernmost part of the Outer Hebrides and is home to some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland. Barra is famous for its breathtaking beaches, including Traigh Mhor, a white sand shell beach with crystal clear turquoise waters. Traig Mhor also houses Barra’s airport, unique in being the only beach runway in the world with scheduled flights! Nature lovers should keep their binoculars at the ready, as Barra is also an excellent destination for wildlife spotting. A diverse range of species call the island home, including otters, seals, and golden eagles.

North and South Uist

The islands of North and South Uist lie centrally in the Outer Hebrides. Their unique landscapes and cultural history makes them a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. With awe-inspiring beaches like Cula Bay and Traigh Lingeigh, North Uist is a mecca for walkers, birdwatchers and cyclists. A diverse terrain of fresh and saltwater lochs, cultivated crofts, and miles of sandy beaches can be found across the islands. Bird lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to spot the corncrakes at the RSPB Nature Reserve in Balranald, one of Europe’s most endangered species. South Uist is also home to miles of breathaking beaches and anchorages, including Machair Beach and the beautiful Traigh Eais. Delve into the island’s history by visiting the Kildonan Museum and the ruins of Ormacleit Castle after a morning of good sailing.

Lewis and Harris

Lewis and Harris, although technically one landmass, are in fact two distinct islands. As the largest and most populated islands of the Outer Hebrides, Lewis and Harris are steeped in a rich cultural history. The islands boast an abundance of ancient ruins, showcasing the neolithic past found in the Outer Hebrides. Among the must-visit sites are the famous Callanish Standing Stones and the Carloway Broch.

Stornoway, on Lewis, is the capital of the Outer Hebrides, and an excellent base for exploring the islands. Gain a deeper understanding of the town’s heritage by visiting nearby Stornoway Museum, or take a stroll down the main street for a true taste of Scottish culture. Whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking natural beauty, Lewis and Harris will be sure to delight.


Benbecula is a gem in the heart of the Outer Hebrides, and while it can often be overlooked in favour of it’s neighbours, the island boasts some spectacular scenery. Explore the rugged landscape by hiking or cycling through the rolling hills and heather-covered moorland. A highlight of any visit to Benbecula is a climb up the Rueval, the highest point on the island, and on a clear day you can even catch a glimpse of St Kilda in the distance!

Benbecula also has a vibrant arts scene, with galleries showcasing the works of local artists and craftspeople. For those looking for an outdoor adventure, Benbecula is the perfect destination for getting out on the water. Tall ship Blue Clipper is a regular visitor to this Isle, and her onboard kayaks are perfect for exploring the coastline up close.


The captivating Isle of Eriskay lies in the Southern part of the Outer Hebrides, and is connected to South Uist by a causeway. The island is the namesake of the indigenous Eriskay ponies, a unique Hebridean breed now at risk of extinction. There’s no shortage of adventures to be had, you can explore the ruins of the Eriskay Causeway or sip a pint at the famous Am Politician Bar, where whisky smugglers once plotted their heists! For those visiting the isle on a sailing holiday to the Outer Hebrides, the waters surrounding Eriskay offer calm and sheltered conditions, making it an ideal destination for beginners and experienced sailors alike.


A favourite island of historic tall ship Bessie Ellen, even reaching the isle of Mingulay is an adventure in itself! Located on the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides lies this deserted island. Once home to a tight-knit community, the last inhabitants left over 100 years ago, leaving behind a haunting reminder of a way of life lost to the elements. As you approach the island, the towering 250-metre Carnan cliffs loom over you, providing a protected breeding ground for a plethora of birdlife. From puffins to razorbills, guillemots to oystercatchers, important seabird populations thrive in this wild and rugged landscape.

The Monach Isles

A cluster of low lying islands just off the west coast of North Uist, the Monach Isles are truly a step off the beaten path. Wild and uninhabited, they form part of a National Nature Reserve. Explore the undisturbed machair, a rare carpet of wildflowers, and the large grey seal colony that calls these islands home. With over 10,000 seals gathering here each autumn to mate and give birth, the Monach Isles boast one of the largest colonies in the world. And that’s not all – the islands also host a diverse range of nesting seabirds and a rich flora. Grey herons even make use of the abandoned buildings as nesting sites. Dutch ketch Steady is a regular visitor to the Monach Isles, where nature and history truly intertwine to create an unforgettable experience.

Visit the Outer Hebrides

Outer Hebrides Harris Panorama

Visiting these magical islands on a skippered sailing holiday is the only way to truly experience each island at your own leisure, and whether you’re a beginner or an experienced sailor, the islands of the Outer Hebrides offer a range of conditions to suit all. From the pristine beaches of Barra to the rugged landscapes of the Monach Islands, the islands of the Outer Hebrides offer a truly unforgettable sailing experience. Join us on a sailing holiday to the Outer Hebrides to discover the diverse beauty of this remote and unspoiled corner of Scotland.

A Guide to Sailing Holidays in Rias Baixas, Spain

Spain Vigo iles cies, Rias Baixas

If you’re searching for a unique holiday experience where you can soak up some sun and explore hidden gems, a sailing holiday to Rias Baixas should be at the top of your list. A breathtaking coastal location in Spain’s Galicia region, the area is distinguished by its uninhabited islands, sparkling sandy beaches, and rich cultural history. In this blog we’ll delve into the highlights of this beautiful region of Spain. There’s no better way to truly experience Rias Baixas than on a Spanish sailing holiday – so why not jump on board with us to explore this unique coastline.  

The Vibrant City of Vigo

Begin your sailing adventure in the vibrant city of Vigo. Known for having Europe’s largest fishing fleet, Vigo blends industrial progress with traditional Spanish culture.  As you wander through the old city walls, you’ll be enchanted by the historic Spanish architecture, quaint tavernas, and traditional tapas bars. Before boarding your vessel, take the time to soak up the local atmosphere and enjoy some authentic Spanish cuisine. From fresh seafood to local wines, Vigo is a culinary paradise that will set the tone for your sailing adventure.

Coastal Sailing and Island Exploration: Rias Baixas

After setting sail from Vigo, you’ll enjoy an exhilarating coastal sailing experience along the Rias Baixas coastline. The four main inlets that make up the region are a sight to behold, with secluded islands fringed with white sandy beaches and granite boulders. This area is a National Park with strict visitor policies in place to preserve their natural beauty. Our vessels have the necessary permits that allow you to get up close to this beautiful region. You’ll have the unique opportunity to anchor in the islands under star-lit skies, far away from the hustle and bustle. Wake up to the gentle sound of waves lapping against your boat, and dive into crystal-clear waters for a morning swim along the serene coastline. It’s a dream come true for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

The Serene Cies Islands

One of the must-visit destinations in Rias Baixas is the Cies Islands. A group of three islands – Monteagudo, Do Faro, and San Martino – the islands are known for their breathtaking beauty. The beaches of Rodas and Figueiras have been recognised as some of the best beaches in the world, with fine white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters reminiscent of the Caribbean. Spend your days sailing from one picturesque bay to another, anchoring in front of these stunning beaches. The Cies Islands are a true paradise for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, snorkelling, and bird watching as well. Keep an eye out for the native bird species, including cormorants, the rare yellow-legged gull, as well as other wildlife that call the islands home. Apart from their natural allure, the Cies Islands also offer a unique cultural experience. Monteagudo, the largest of the islands, is home to an ancient Celtic settlement and a Roman hillfort, providing a glimpse into the rich history and heritage of the region.

Culture and Cuisine of Rias Baixas

One of the highlights of a sailing holiday in Rias Baixas is the incredible culinary experience. The seafood and shellfish in this region are renowned for their freshness and flavor, and there are a wide variety of culinary delights to indulge in. From succulent langoustines to tender octopus, and from clams to the famous goose barnacles, the seafood in Rias Baixas is a true gastronomic treat. And let’s not forget about the local wine – Albarino, a crisp and aromatic white wine, is produced in this region and pairs perfectly with the local seafood. You can also explore the wider region and indulge in some excellent Rioja wines, both red and white, along with other local produce such as cured pork, organic steak, and corn-fed chicken. Dining out in Rias Baixas is a true pleasure, with authentic tapas still being served to accompany your drinks.

Set Sail to Rias Baixas

A sailing holiday in the Rias Baixas region of Spain promises an exceptional adventure for those seeking to combine the thrill of sailing with the beauty of nature, the delights of local cuisine, and the rich cultural heritage of the area. With its pristine waters, idyllic islands, and charming towns, a sailing holiday in Rias Baixas offers a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice, this destination has something to offer for everyone.

So, set sail on a journey of discovery, immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings, indulge in the local flavors, and create memories that will last a lifetime on a sailing holiday in Rias Baixas with pilot cutter Pellew, historic tall ship Maybe, or tall ship Blue Clipper.

The History of the West Country Trading Ketch

Bessie Ellen Full Sail Cornwall

The history of the West Country trading ketch is rather unromantic. There’s no sailing into the sunset or walking the plank here – but that doesn’t make their legacy any less important. West Country trading ketches were the lorries and trucks of their day. Between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, they carried tonnes of essential cargo like china clay, slate, and coal around the southwest. Usually, they were small, family-run enterprises operating out of ports such as Bideford, Fowey, and Appledore.  West Country trading ketches were complete workhorses. The constant repair and maintenance needed to keep them afloat often meant an ecosystem of chandlers, boatbuilders, merchants, and sailmakers would thrive around small harbours.

What is a West Country Trading Ketch?

A  West Country trading ketch is a two-masted vessel typically around 100 feet (approximately 35 metres) in length. It cuts through the water with a sharp bow and a sweeping, rounded stern. The relatively deep keel provides stability in rough seas. At roughly 20ft (6 metres) across at its widest part, with two deck hatches for fast loading and unloading, West Country trading ketches were the perfect balance of spaciousness and speed. They were strong and nimble enough to conquer even the toughest conditions, but with room to transport between 75-150 tonnes of cargo in their hold. Their traditional rigging consisted of two gaff sails, a topsail, and up to four jib sails attached from the bowsprit. This made them easy to handle with a small crew, often made up of family members. Sailing speed varied but in a beam reach with a good breeze, it wasn’t uncommon to hit eight knots, making cargo delivery swift and efficient.

West Country Trading Ketch Design

The design of the West Country trading ketch was essentially as fast as a sail-powered cargo boat could get before diesel engines and steel hulls took over. They were some of the last commercial vessels to be built from wood. Everything from pitch pine, elm, and oak were in use for the construction of the hull – often a mixture, depending on the price of the raw materials. Trennels, or tree nails, usually made of oak (essentially strong wooden dowels, turned on a lathe) would have been used originally to hold the hull together, but in later designs and in refits, these were replaced with metal.

The history of the West Country Trading Ketch

In their heyday, the fleet of these ketches numbered around 700. However, like many other sail-powered boats, the decline of these ships began with the advent of internal combustion engines at the beginning of the 20th century. Although some were still used as late as the 1960s, many West Country trading ketches ended their working lives during the Second World War. During this period they were moored up in various estuaries and used to hold down barrage balloons which protected ports and harbours from enemy aircraft. Sadly, after the war, there was little money to be made by refurbishing these ships for commercial use, and many were left to rot in shipyards, or on the shores of the estuaries themselves.

West Country Trading Ketches today

The demise of the fleet of West Country trading ketches means that these vessels are now extraordinarily rare – only three remain in the UK. Venturesail are thrilled to be offering charters on Bessie Ellen, a West Country trading ketch whose history stretches back nearly 120 years. Her working years all began with a cargo of manure on her maiden voyage from Plymouth to Bideford in 1907. Bessie Ellen then worked through both World Wars, and her long history at sea has earned her a place on the National Historic Ships Register. Refurbished by owner and skipper Nikki Alford in the early 2000s, there’s nary a winch in sight and all sail handling is done by hand. Happily, though, the cargo hold has been converted into a comfortable main cabin with private bunks so you can relax after a day hoisting halyards and helming (as well as enjoying the stunning scenery of her sailing destinations).

Step back in time and experience the maritime history of these beautiful vessels for yourself with a voyage on Bessie Ellen.

Discover La Maddalena: The Hidden Gem of Sardinia

Italy Sardinia Madallena archipelago

Close your eyes and imagine an idyllic island paradise – turquoise waters, secluded beaches, and spectacular views. Welcome to La Maddalena, a stunning Italian archipelago located off the Northern Coast of Sardinia. This tiny chain of islands are dwarfed by their larger neighbours of Sardinia and Corsica, and can often be overlooked by visitors to the region. Although they may be small geographically, these islands certainly pack a punch when it comes to authentic Italian culture, cuisine and breathtaking scenery. La Maddalena is a highlight of our sailing holidays to Southern Italy – keep reading to discover why.

The La Maddalena Islands

The La Maddalena archipelago is made up of seven individual islands, the largest being La Maddalena itself. Other islands include Caprera, Santo Stefano, Spargi, Budelli, Razzoli and Santa Maria – as well as many other small islets. Discover the islands with classic yacht Chronos for a luxury holiday with 5* service, gourmet cuisine, and onboard water sports. Or visit with luxury catamaran Agave for a wellness experience complete with a professional guide and an onboard nutritionist!

Natural Wonders

La Maddalena is perhaps best known for its rugged natural beauty, carefully protected and preserved by its status as a natural park. From powder-soft beaches backed by pink granite cliffs to lush pine forests surrounded by verdant vegetation, this archipelago is undoubtedly one of mother nature’s finest Italian creations. Head to uninhabited Spargi to lose yourself in one of the last untouched landscapes in the Mediterranean. A protected nature reserve, Spargi offers the chance to dust off your hiking boots. Here you can get up close with some remarkable wildlife, including dolphins, turtles, ospreys and even the odd wild boar! The entire island chain is home to some incredible geological formations and picturesque grottos. Explore these ancient rock formations carved by waves, wind, and time, and pay a visit to the Capella della Madonetta, where a tiny church clings to the granite rock overlooking the sea.

Authentic Italy

Although La Maddalena is a top spot for those in the know, it has not experienced the same rapid increase in tourism as Sardinia and Corsica, meaning you can still find the most authentic Italian lifestyle and cuisine. Whilst the large majority of the islands are uninhabited, the main island has a vibrant cultural scene. Unique dining experiences abound here, with fresh fish and seafood in abundance, caught locally that very day! The many smaller harbours and fishing villages around the islands showcase the very best of Italian hospitality. Here you can wander through charming winding streets, chatting with locals and enjoying gelato and espresso at every turn.

Underwater Delights

La Maddalena is known for having some of Europe’s most pristine underwater ecosystems, untouched by pollution and mass overcrowding. Both Chronos and Agave carry a range of water toys, including snorkel gear and paddleboards, meaning you can truly immerse yourself in this underwater paradise. Spiaggia Di Cala Coticcio is a favourite anchorage of Agave. The waters here are so clear that you get a glimpse of the hidden delights below before even stepping foot off the boat. Dive straight in to discover an underwater paradise teeming with vibrant coral and shoals of fish darting beneath the waves. Perhaps you’ll even spot some of the local turtles, dolphins or whales on your underwater adventures in Italy.

Why you should visit La Maddalena on a sailing holiday

Undoubtedly the best way to take advantage of all that La Maddalena has to offer is on a sailing holiday! Not only will you be able to see the archipelago from a unique perspective on the water, you’ll also reach some of the most remote parts of the archipelago that are only accessible by boat. As you sail around the islands, you’ll be able to soak in the stunning scenery without having to worry about overcrowding or noise pollution from other tourists. You’ll have time to swim, snorkel, and even fish on the way to each anchorage each day. From exploring sweeping bays dotted with ancient villages to encountering playful dolphins just off the bow – a voyage around these islands will be an unforgettable experience. You’ll quickly see why this archipelago is referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’.

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable escape from everyday life, set sail to La Maddalena. Join us on a sailing holiday with classic yacht Chronos or luxury catamaran Agave.

Our top 5 places to visit in Denmark on a sailing holiday 

Copenhagen Denmark colourful houses on the Nyhavn

With over 444 islands, and 368 of them uninhabited, sailing in Denmark is undoubtedly the best way to experience the country’s hidden gems. There are countless reasons to love sailing in Denmark; the incredible soft and gentle landscape, emerald islands, rolling hills, quintessential fishing villages and fairytale castles. Not to mention over 1300 beaches in Denmark, meaning you’re never far away from white sands, secluded anchorages and hidden bays!

All our trips run within the Danish summer season, with low waves and moderate wind speeds to be expected. This temperate weather makes it an ideal sailing destination for a relaxing, skippered sailing holiday. Although it’s impossible to list all our favourite destinations in Denmark, we’ve rounded up our top 5 picks to make your Danish sailing holiday one to remember!

1. Fairytale city of Copenhagen

A must-see destination for any adventure traveller, the vibrant city of Copenhagen is where a number of our sailing holidays in Denmark begin. Meander through old narrow cobbled streets lined with colourful houses, quirky coffee shops and vintage boutiques. Be sure to visit the 17th-century street of Nyhavn – the oldest and most colourful street in the city of Copenhagen. Nyhavn is bursting with architectural delights where cafes line the leafy canal replete with old wooden sailing ships. 

Copenhagen is also home to some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in the world making it a perfect stop off the boat to enjoy some world-class cuisine! As your vessel departs Copenhagen, be inspired by the world-famous sculpture of the Little Mermaid. For more than 100 years, Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale figure has been sitting on its rock at the Kastellet, a former fortress guarding the entrance to the city.

Start your Scandinavian adventure sailing from Copenhagen to Stockholm with tall ship Iris, or enjoy a short break in Copenhagen after sailing the Baltic sea with Eye of the Wind.


2. The Cultural delights of Bornholm

Situated east of Denmark, the island of Bornholm is known as “solskinsøen” which beautifully translates to sunshine island. The island’s landscape is unusual by Danish standards, with towering rock formations overlooking sandy beaches paired with lush green forests. A must visit destination when sailing in Denmark, Bornholm is known for its long and varied history and culture. Art lovers will enjoy the local crafts – with its artisan history, the island became the first place in Europe to become a designated World Craft Region. Once you’ve found an anchorage for the day, why not visit some of the sweet artist’s studios.  

History buffs will fall in love with the rich medieval history that permeates through the island of Bornholm. The castle ruins of Hammerhus showcase the largest medieval fortress in northern Europe, well worth a visit after a morning of sailing. The island is also home to 15 medieval churches, with four unique round churches. The island showcases the fascinating medieval history just waiting to be discovered on your holiday sailing in Denmark. 

Visit Bornholm on a sailing adventure with traditional tall ship Eye of the wind, sailing from Denmark to Sweden. Take in the history and culture of the island as you sail from Copenhagen to Stockholm with Iris. 


3. Explore the maritime history of Ærø 

Part of Southern Denmark, the island of Ærø is only accessible from the water, making it the perfect place to explore on a holiday sailing in Denmark! This sweet seaport has well earned its reputation as the sailing hub of Denmark. Throughout history, the island has been home to fleets of working ships with a busy marine heritage – with many still active today.

The harbour is home to the renowned Maritime Museum, housing over 200 model ships and exhibits from all seven seas. Ærø is also home to the magical Ærøskøbing – nicknamed ‘the fairytale town’. Soak in some mythical Danish history in the best preserved 18th century town in Denmark. Unchanged for hundreds of years, guests can admire the colourful Danish architecture on a visit from the boat. 

Visit Aero on a short break in the Baltic Sea with Iris, or enjoy the island with traditional schooner Aron of Svendborg


4. Enjoy star gazing on Møn

An island in South East Denmark that is best known for its sweeping stretches of white chalk cliffs named Møns Klint. The island is crowned by deep-green forest, surrounded by beautiful beaches and small secret coves. Møn is a paradise for nature lovers and has received international recognition for its unique flora and fauna. The island has in fact been designated by UNESCO as Denmark’s first Biosphere reserve.

After a busy day exploring the natural wonders ashore, spend an evening relaxing and stargazing on the boat as you experience the magic of Scandinavia’s first Dark Sky Park. This makes it officially one of the best places in Denmark to experience the majestic beauty of the night sky. Step back in time on your traditional boat, take in shooting stars and marvel as galaxies pass by without the light pollution of the modern world. 

Visit Møn on a Baltic Sea sailing holiday with tall ship Iris, or explore with Eye of the Wind as she sails from Germany to Copenhagen.

Als, Denmark – View of Sonderborg Castle


5. History, tranquility and wildlife on the island of Als

Lying close to the German-Danish border, the island of Als is home to the town of Sonderborg. Explore ashore on this typical Danish island oozing with history, tranquillity, and nature! A major attraction is the Sonderborg castle with its beautiful gardens in clear sight of our anchorage. Wander the historic merchant’s houses lining the harbour as you stroll through the Old Town boasting typical Danish tranquillity.

Danish wildlife is waiting in abundance on the island of Als. Rare breeds of amphibians and tree frogs inhabit the damp woodlands found on the island. Als lies at the migration route of birds travelling from southern Europe to Sweden – so bring your binoculars for some Danish wildlife spotting at sea! 

Journey to the island of Als on a baltic sea sailing holiday from Germany with Eye of the Wind. 


Ready to start sailing in Denmark?

If you’re feeling inspired and ready to start your adventure sailing in Denmark, read more about the destination here! Find out more about traditional schooner Aron of Svendborg, historic windjammer Eye of the Wind or traditional tall ship Iris as they sail and explore Denmark and the Baltic Sea. 

Scotland and the Hebrides Wildlife Guide

For centuries, Scotland and the Hebrides have been known for their rugged coastline and breathtaking scenery, attracting travellers from all over the world. Now, more than ever before, it is also gaining recognition for the diverse range of wildlife species that call the Hebrides home.

With a wealth of ecosystems and wildlife habitats, there are species found nowhere else in the world, making this an extraordinary location for nature lovers. From majestic sea eagles soaring the skies to sea otters fishing for their dinner, the flora and fauna of the Hebrides is so unique that there’s no better way to experience it all than with a Scottish sailing holiday. 

This guide will take you through an introduction to the wonderful wildlife of Scotland and the Hebrides. Jump to:
On Land – Scotland & the Hebrides Wild Animal Guide
In the Water – Scotland & the Hebrides Marine Wildlife Guide
In the Sky – Scotland & the Hebrides Birdwatching Guide

On Land – Scotland Wild Animal Guide

Scotland is home to an astounding array of wildlife on land, perhaps unsurprising considering the diverse range of ecosystems and habitats present in this corner of the world. One of the many benefits of a sailing holiday in the Hebrides is the opportunity to spend time experiencing so many different areas and islands in one holiday, maximising your chances of spotting Scottish wildlife on land.

The Scottish Wildcat

Britain’s last remaining large predator and only wild feline. The wildcat has evolved and adapted to the Scottish landscape and pre-dates even early human existence! Unfortunately, the Scottish Wildcat is currently considered endangered, although there are a number of projects working to save the species.

Where to see the Scottish Wildcat: Found throughout the mainland of Scotland. Most typically seen between dusk and dawn in clearings in woodland or grassland. Look out for them on a voyage along the Caledonian Canal with tall ship the Flying Dutchman or ketch Steady.

The Red Deer

The Red Deer is Scotland’s largest and most magnificent deer species. Red Deer are perhaps most known for their large antlers, visible during the autumn mating season. At this time of year, males attempt to claim their territories and ‘rut’ one another, making a magnificent sight on your wildlife holiday in Scotland. 

Where to see Red Deer in Scotland: A common sight across the mainland and the Hebrides. Keep an eye out for these majestic creatures across the Outer Hebrides, and the Small Isles. Red Deer are frequently seen on our Small Isles sailing voyages, particularly on the Isle of Rum.

The Mountain Hare

Native to Scotland, but also found across Scandinavia, the Mountain Hare is one of the sweetest Scottish wildlife sightings. They can often be found sitting perfectly still whilst eating, or bounding across the moors, although their seasonal camouflage can make them a rather tricky spot! With a grey-brown coat in the summer that changes to an arctic white in the winter, they are most recognisable by the tips of their ears which remain dark brown year round.

Where to see Mountain Hares in the Hebrides: Mountain hares are a frequent sight in less populated areas of the Hebrides. They are common across the Outer Hebrides as well as Eigg in the Small Isles.

In the Water – Scotland Marine Wildlife Guide

From the mighty humpback whale to the humble grey seal, the marine life in the Hebrides is truly a wonder to behold. The best way to maximise your chances of seeing the most Scottish marine wildlife is undoubtedly on a sailing holiday, where you’ll have the chance to sail amongst these animals in their natural habitats.

Dolphins and Porpoises

A common sight on sailing adventures around the world, dolphins are no less special when spotted in Scotland. Marvel as they glide along the bow, swimming in the wake of the boat and playfully dancing in the water. Bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and porpoises all call the waters of West Scotland and the Hebrides their home. 

Where to see dolphins and Porpoises in the Hebrides: The waters between Oban, South Uist, North Uist, Eigg, and Skye are home to a wide array of dolphins, with bottlenose and common dolphins and porpoises a regular spot. To catch a glimpse of the more elusive Risso’s dolphin, head for the waters between Ullapool to Stornoway. All our Scottish voyages have a high likelihood of coming in to contact with dolphins. Head to the Inner Hebrides with Stravaigin for the best chances of seeing common and bottlenose dolphins. Or sail with Steady from Oban to Ullapool to spot the rare Risso’s Dolphin.


Whether it’s the star ‘West Coast Community’ pod of Orcas that call Scotland home, or the more commonly sighted Minke, whales have resided in Scotland for centuries. In fact, there were previously whaling stations across the Hebrides, although thankfully now the focus is on whale conservation. Our charity partners at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust have a wide range of useful information available, including a live whale tracker! 

Humpback Whales

Recent research has shown that humpback whales have made a comeback in Scotland, with more than 100 sightings now recorded. Humpback whales have a somewhat distinctive appearance with a predominantly black body and white patches on the underside. 

Where to see humpback whales in Scotland: Although a rare sight, Humpback whales pass through Scottish waters throughout the year. The best chance of spotting them is off the coast of the Hebrides during their migration seasons in autumn and spring as they travel between Africa and Norway.

Minke Whales

Best spotted in the sailing season between April and October, Minke whales are the smallest whale found in the UK. They are common sights on our Scottish wildlife adventures, and incredibly inquisitive creatures, regularly coming to investigate our boats! We operate a wildlife code of conduct at sea, turning our engines off and letting animals approach as they wish. 

Minke whales in the Hebrides

Where to see Minke Whales in the Hebrides: Minke whales are best seen in open waters surrounding the Hebrides. Minke whales are often seen on voyages to the outer Hebrides with tall ship Blue Clipper or historic ketch Bessie Ellen.


Scotland’s West coast is home to the UK’s only resident pod of orcas, the aptly named ‘West Coast Community’. This small pod consists of just 8 killer whales, a quarter of the size of a usual pod, and far more difficult to spot! Nonetheless, these resident whales are undoubtedly the pinnacle of Scottish wildlife spots. 

Where to see Orcas in Scotland: You’ll be incredibly lucky to catch a glimpse of these rare creatures, but there is a chance to spot them in the Hebrides! The West Coast Community are most likely to be seen around the Small Isles and Skye, so could be potential spots on our Hebridean sailing holidays with pilot cutter Pellew and tall ship the Flying Dutchman.

In the Sky – Guide to Bird Watching in the Hebrides

People watching puffins in the Hebrides

The inner and outer Hebrides are home to an incredible variety of bird life, from charming puffin colonies to majestic golden eagles to nesting seabirds. No Scottish wildlife-watching holiday would be complete without a sighting of some incredible birdlife, and sailing holidays undoubtedly offer the best opportunity to see some of these creatures in their natural habitats. 


Arguably one of the most iconic species of bird in Scotland, Puffins are undoubtedly one of our favourite Hebridean wildlife spots. Puffins have a distinct charm and appeal, and it is fascinating to watch them communicate with their brightly coloured bills. A visit to a friendly puffin colony is a must when hopping ashore, they are incredibly inquisitive and always come to say hello! 

Where to see puffins in Scotland: Although they can be spotted across the inner and outer Hebrides, with large colonies on St Kilda, the most special place to visit them is the isle of Lunga in the Treshnish isles and the island of Staffa, where they can be found nesting during the breeding season between March and May. Head to the isle of Staffa with expedition yacht Zuza, or tall ship Bessie Ellen.

Golden Eagle

The golden eagle is truly a spectacular sight on a wildlife trip to the Hebrides. The eagle survives, and even thrives as a predator in the harsher environments in Scotland, being able to reach speeds of up to 200mph when diving for prey. Scotland is a stronghold for the Golden Eagle, with the highest population in Europe. 

Golden Eagle in flight

Where to see Golden Eagles in Scotland: The Outer Hebrides is home to the largest population of Golden Eagles in Scotland. The remote, untamed nature of these islands means that they reside surprisingly close to human settlements. Pay close attention on the Isle of Harris, where an eagle observatory is located.


Scotland is of high international importance for seabird colonies, and more than 5 million seabirds breed there each year. An incredible array of birds call the Hebrides home, from the closely related Shags and Cormorants to the Guillemots and Razorbills that nest on cliffs. Other common bird watching sights in the Hebrides include Osprey, Skua, Manx, Shearwater and Petrel birds. Most seabirds are common across the mainland of Scotland as well as the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides, and a sailing holiday means you’re never far away from some incredible spots.  

Where to see seabirds in Scotland: One of the best places to spot seabirds is on a voyage to St Kilda, an epic dual world heritage site that is uninhabited aside from the hundreds of seabirds that call the towering cliffs home. The outer Hebrides and Shiants are also home to an incredible array of seabirds, often spotted on voyages with yacht Zuza, tall ship Bessie Ellen, and ketch Steady.

A sailing holiday in Scotland and The Hebrides is an unforgettable experience that provides visitors with a unique opportunity to witness some of Europe’s most spectacular wildlife up close while exploring diverse landscapes and ecosystems. None of our voyages require sailing experience, and our range of fleet offers something for every traveller. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Scottish wildlife adventure today! 

View all voyages in Scotland and the Hebrides here >>

Why sailing in Indonesia should be on your holiday bucket list!

Indonesia Komodo islands anchorage

If you’re looking for an unforgettable sailing holiday, look no further than Indonesia. With its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, Indonesia is undoubtedly the perfect destination for a guided adventure holiday under sail.

From the stunning islands of Bali and Komodo to the vibrant archipelago of Raja Ampat, there’s something for everyone to discover both on land and from the water. Embark on traditional wooden Pinisi boats Katharina or Ombak Putih and make memories that will last a lifetime. Keep reading to discover why sailing in Indonesia should be at the top of your bucket list. 

A Sailing Paradise

With over 17,000 islands making up this tropical paradise, there are countless opportunities to explore some of the world’s most pristine waters under sail. Whether you want to spend your days exploring secluded lagoons, swimming with turtles or discovering Indonesian traditional boat techniques, Indonesia has it all. For those looking for a little more action, make use of the onboard water sports, with snorkelling, kayaking, and paddle-boarding all available too.

Cultural Delights

In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Indonesia is also home to many unique cultures and traditions. From vibrant local markets to ancient temples and mosques, Indonesia offers an abundance of cultural experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Our local guides on board Ombak Putih and Katharina have spent many years building connections with local communities, arranging for guests to explore traditional villages and experience the incredible local traditions. There’s always something new to discover no matter where you go. Visit fishing villages with wooden houses sitting above the water on stilts where locals live off the land and sea. Sample delicious local delicacies like spicy sambal, or just sit back and watch traditional cultural performances put on by locals along the shoreline.

A world of wonderful wildlife

When it comes to wildlife in Indonesia, you’ll be spoilt for choice. On land, visit Komodo National Park, where ancient dragons wander amongst over 3,000 species of plants and animals. These majestic creatures are fascinating to watch. Spend a day on the island of Borneo, travelling up river to marvel at the infamous Borneo orangutans that have attracted nature lovers for centuries.

Underwater wildlife is where the treasure really awaits though. Snorkel, dive and swim amongst the finest marine wildlife and pristine coral reefs in the world. Marvel as you drift crystal clear waters alongside whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles in their natural habitat. It’s easy to see why Indonesia is one of best places in the world for snorkelling attracting many the adventure traveller.

Sail on a traditional Pinisi Boat

Both Katharina and Ombak Putih are traditional Wooden Pinisi boats that have been around for centuries and are still used by locals to this day. They’re built on the beach from local hardwoods such as ironwood and teak, decorated with intricate carvings and launched with a traditional village ceremony.

Experience traditional life on board these vessels as part of your adventure sailing holiday in Indonesia. From fishing villages to uninhabited islands, you’ll get to see parts of Indonesia far away from the iconic tourist hotspots. Best of all, you don’t need any prior experience or knowledge as everything is taken care of by experienced crew members and a local guide. 

Ready to start your adventures?

A sailing holiday in Indonesia is sure to provide an unforgettable experience like no other – one that will stay with you long after your voyage has ended. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, or both, sailing in Indonesia has something special waiting just around the corner. Read more about life on board Ombak Putih and Katharina.

View all sailing holidays to Indonesia here >

A Guide to Sailing in St Vincent & the Grenadines

View of Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, Caribbean

For those looking for an unforgettable Caribbean sailing holiday, St Vincent and the Grenadines is the perfect destination, with a world of rich culture, vibrant flavours, and diverse wildlife. The Grenadines archipelago is located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and consists of the main island of St Vincent as well as 32 smaller islands, including Bequia, Mustique, Union Island, and Tobago Cays to name just a few. Although closely connected to Grenada, it is a separate island nation.

A sailing holiday around St Vincent and the Grenadines is a dream come true for all travellers, with a unique blend of authentic Caribbean culture, spell-binding nature and adventure travel. We sail around this island chain with two different vessels; historic Brigantine Florette, and luxury yacht Chronos. So whether you’re looking for a peaceful paradise escape or an adventure-filled journey, a skippered sailing holiday in the Grenadines certainly won’t disappoint. Keep reading to discover some of the highlights you can look forward to as you enjoy a Caribbean sailing adventure of a lifetime.

‘The Mainland’ – the Island of St Vincent

The island of St Vincent is blessed with natural beauty, from its lush rainforest interior to its white sand beaches, set within an unbelievably stunning tropical volcanic landscape. A likely mooring on the island is Chateaubelair bay, home to some of the sets for the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Awake on your first day in St Vincent to incredible views of the bay and island. Volcanic hills layer the horizon covered in lush green, with the most vibrantly coloured houses nestled into the mountainsides. Misty rain rolls down from the mountain peaks giving it a wild and mysterious feel, highlighting the untamed beauty of the island.

The Real Pirates of the Caribbean

As you step off the boat and head ashore you’ll be spoilt for choice with a wide variety of natural wonders to absorb. Perhaps take a hike up the La Soufrirère Volcano, with spectacular views from the summit. The La Soufrière National Park is one of two UNESCO World Heritage sites in St Vincent, where you can take a leisurely stroll through lush rainforests filled with exotic plants and birdlife. Perhaps head to one of the most iconic beaches if the Caribbean – Wallilabou Bay. With black volcanic sand, stunning natural rock formations and crystal clear waters that are home to coral reefs (and even a pirate shipwreck!), you’ll soon see why it was another location for filming the Pirates of the Caribbean. If you choose a sailing holiday in St Vincent with historic tall ship Florette, you’ll feel as if you have stepped back in time to really experience life as a pirate yourself (although with a touch more comfort!)

Cultural Delights Await

The island of St Vincent also offers a wonderful cultural experience as well as delicious local cuisine unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean! Anchor near historic sights such as a Young Island, where the historic remains of Fort Duvernette will rise above you, or head to Fort Charlotte to take in the sweeping vistas across the island. Foodie lovers will be in heaven here as you can wander through the local markets, bustling with an array of fresh produce.

Visit one of the many local Caribbean restaurants, serving mouth-watering meals and traditional dishes all made with locally sourced ingredients for an authentic taste of St Vincent. If you prefer to catch your own supper, for the more adventurous traveller there are plenty of fishing opportunities to be had straight off the boat – you could try your luck at catching marlin, tuna, or mahi-mahi and cooking it up on the beach!

The Grenadines

The Heart of the Grenadines – Union Island
View of the beach at Chatham Bay, Union Island

A volcanic island with scenery straight out of Jurassic Park, Union Island lies close to the neighbouring islands of Carriacou and Grenada and is the southernmost of the Grenadines. Full of culture and character, the island provides a truly unparalleled authentic Caribbean holiday experience.

You’ll soon be enveloped in this local island charm as you wander through the vibrant street market where locals sell fresh produce alongside bright paintings, handmade crafts and clothing. There are plenty of adventures to be had for the active traveler here to, including hikes through the volcanic landscape where you’ll be immersed in a thick green rainforest with large jagged mountains towering above. 

Paradise Found – Tobago Cays

One of the most talked about spots in all of the Caribbean is undoubtedly Tobago Cays Marine Park. Home to five uninhabited islands surrounded by shallow turquoise waters, powdery white sand beaches and swaying coconut palms. The water here is so clear that even from the deck of the boat you can see the vividly coloured coral reefs below and the wildlife that calls them home.

Spend the day making use of the onboard snorkelling, kayaking, or paddle-boards with Chronos to explore these beautiful reefs. You’ll be dazzled by an array of friendly fish darting beneath the surface of the coral, perhaps even spotting a stingray or majestic sea turtle. After a busy day exploring the Cays, return to your vessel where a red snapper may be caught straight off the back of the boat for a BBQ on deck. After dinner enjoy an evening of star gazing – made all the more magical by the fact that there is absolutely no light pollution here!

The Unspoiled Caribbean – Mayreau
Aerial view of Mayreau Island, the Grenadines

This unspoiled island paradise offers a quiet escape from everyday life. Mayreau is home to crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkelling and swimming. The secluded beaches are for those looking for some peace and quiet away from it all, with Saline Bay and Salt Whistle Bay among the most picturesque spots.

Wildlife watching in Mayreau is also rewarded with regular sightings of flamingoes, iguanas and pelicans diving bombing the water. With the surrounding ocean also providing an abundance of marine life to spot, a sailing holiday in the Grenadines is certainly the best way to see it all.

A Royal Retreat – Mustique

Known for its luxury resorts and stunning beaches, this private island was famously owned by Lord Glennconner and has since become one of the most exclusive and slightly mysterious retreats in the Caribbean. The epitome of luxurious Caribbean holidays, you’ll feel right at home on board luxury classic yacht Chronos. One of their favourite places on the island is the world-famous Basil’s Bar, one of the hottest night spots in the Caribbean. Or, if you’re looking for adventure, Mustique has beautiful hiking trails, waterfalls and horseback riding along the beach. The secluded coves of the island are also great for making use of onboard water sports – such as kayaks and paddle-boards.

Charming Bequia Island

Sail from Mustique to Bequia island with numerous flying fish in your wake, looking across to the verdant landscape that awaits you. You may even be joined by some sperm whales as you make the crossing from one island to the next!

As you reach Bequia, you’ll be welcomed by the sights of quintessentially Caribbean villages, lush green hillsides and picturesque harbours. The island is packed with colourful buildings and cobblestone streets, making it perfect for meandering strolls through the town. There are also several cafes, shops, and restaurants worth a visit. The highlight of these is perhaps Jack’s Beach Bar, a relaxed spot with incredible views over Princess Margaret Beach, and a menu of local dishes and specialties sure to whet the appetite.

Ready to set sail?

A skippered sailing holiday in St Vincent and the Grenadines offers a unique opportunity to explore some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands and secret spots. From snorkelling through Tobago Cays, relaxing on a private beach in Mustique, or exploring volcanic islands, there’s certainly something for everyone.

All of our Caribbean sailing holidays include a full crew and skipper with individual cabins bookable. Many of our voyages in the Caribbean cover both Grenada and the Grenadines, for more information on sailing in Grenada, read our previous adventure log here.

Whether you sail with historic brigantine Florette, or luxury classic yacht Chronos, your sailing holiday in St Vincent and the Grenadines will be one of stunning natural beauty, luxurious amenities and an incredible assortment of activities on shore. So what are you waiting for?! Let us help make your next sailing holiday an experience that will stay with you forever!

View our Caribbean Sailing Holidays here >

A Guide to a Sailing in Grenada

St George's Harbour, Grenada, Caribbean

A small Caribbean island nation notable for breathtaking beaches, pristine white sand, and dazzling turquoise waters, harbouring some of the world’s best underwater marine life. A sailing holiday is undoubtedly the best way to experience Grenada, spending each day visiting new anchorages and discovering new delights. 

Grenada is often the starting point of our sailing voyages in the Windward Islands and is made up of three islands. The main island being Grenada, and the two smaller islands of Petit Martinique and Carriacou. Whether you choose to sail in luxury on board yacht Chronos, or explore with historic Brigantine Florette, join us to uncover the very best of a sailing holiday in Grenada.

A New Adventure Begins – St George’s Bay, Grenada.

St George's Harbour, Grenada, Caribbean

A naturally formed, horseshoe-shaped harbour, St George’s Bay has been named the Caribbean’s most picturesque anchorage, and as you arrive here to begin your skippered sailing holiday, it’s easy to see why. Spend your first night in the Caribbean at anchor here, awaking at sunrise to views of crystal clear waters surrounded by lush green vistas, punctuated by dashes of bright colour where villages nestle into the mountainsides. It provides the perfect starting point for your voyage with easy transport links, and is an excellent location to begin island exploration.

Explorations ashore – the island of Grenada.

Swim in waterfalls, wander around crater lakes, visit cocoa and spice plantations, and indulge in Grenada’s very own spiced rum. With so much to see and do on the island, having an experienced skipper and crew makes all the difference. Many of them have been sailing in the Caribbean for years and with endless local recommendations, they’ll certainly show you all the best places to visit in Grenada.

‘Spice island

Stepping ashore, you’ll quickly discover how it received this infamous moniker. A fertile landscape awaits, with a tropical climate that fosters some of the best-growing conditions for an array of sweet smelling spices. There are plenty of botanical spice gardens on the island, with Laura Spice & Herb Garden being the most notable. Our crews can help arrange a tour of any of these botanical delights to suit you.

Waterfalls Await

Another activity sure to create lifelong Caribbean memories, is a dip in a local waterfall. Grenada is famous for its waterfalls, and there are simply too many to list here! Our current favourite is Seven Sisters waterfall, located in the centre of the island. Hike through luscious jungle, dominated by bamboo forests that harbour hidden delights at every turn. You’ll soon be rewarded with an incredible sight, where natural pools and rivers congregate, forming the Seven Sisters waterfall. Dive straight in, washing your troubles away, and you’ll leave with an invigorated feeling, ready to continue your Caribbean sailing adventure.

Deserted Island Paradise – Hog Island, Grenada

Perhaps you’ll spend a day anchored at Woburn Bay, where you can hop off the boat to visit the nearby Hog Island. Uninhabited, the stretches of white sand beaches will envelop you, making it feel as if you’ve stepped straight into a dream. The perfect place to make use of the onboard water sports available on Chronos. Kayak and paddle-board around the many inlets to explore the coastline at your own pace, in harmony with nature and tranquillity.

However, if you’re lucky enough to visit the island on a Sunday evening, watch it spring to life. The Barefoot Beach Bar is a thriving hotspot for those in the know. Here you can join in the authentic Caribbean way of life, drinking, dancing and simply enjoying the local culture.

Underwater Delights – Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park, Grenada

Grenada is home to some of the best snorkelling opportunities in the Caribbean, thanks to a unique underwater ecosystem. The marine life around the island is so rich it’s hard to know where to begin, with over 550 species of marine life and over 100 species of coral alone. Although there are opportunities for experiencing this in many locations around the island, our guests consistently return to tell us that the Underwater Scultpure Park in Grenada is an absolute highlight and must-see on a sailing holiday in Grenada. 

Called the 14th wonder of the natural world, slip on your snorkel fins and discover this underwater paradise. The artist Jason deCaires Taylor created the sculpture park, designing life-size sculptures depicting members of Grenadian society, including fishermen, farmers, musicians, and artists. Formed out of concrete before being placed at the bottom of the sea bed, after more than 20 years the sculptures have come to life. Bright corals in every colour imaginable have grown upon the sculptures, and thousands of fish now call the park home. An otherworldly feel will soon overcome you as you dive down beneath the surface, with an initially eerie feeling giving way to a sense of wonder and amazement as the man-made world and mother nature collaborate. A truly magical visit.

The Heart of Grenada – Carriacou

The small island of Carriacou is a must-visit on a sailing holiday in Grenada. We often anchor in the picturesque bay of Tyrell bay to start our explorations ashore. The tranquil climate and fertile soil lends itself to the production of a variety of crops such as citrus fruits and cocoa, leading to its name of ‘The heart of Grenada’. Although famous for its annual Carnival held in March, the real star of the show is the nearby Sandy Island, a favourite anchorage of all our vessels.

A Caribbean Postcard Comes to Life – Sandy Island

Anchor close to shore and step onto uninhabited Sandy island, a true Caribbean postcard experience. A long, thin island, where palm trees wave gently in the breeze sitting on bone-white strips of sand, contrasted by the deep blue Caribbean sea. Unwind as the waves gently wash ashore, bringing with them an incredible array of shells and corals that sprinkle across the beach giving it a pink hue. While away the hours here, simply unwinding on the powdery soft sand. Or snorkel just off the shore, drifting with the waves and immersing yourself amongst schools of fish and tiny corals.

Spend the evening watching the sunset paint the sky shades of the most vivid pinks and purples before an inky black sky takes over and the stars light up. With some of the lowest light pollution in the world you’ll feel as though you’re on the edge of space itself.

The Authentic, Chilled, Caribbean – Petite Martinique

After some time spent in the secluded islands of Grenada, head to Petite Martinique, where you’ll soon discover the epitome of unspoiled, authentic Caribbean island life. With a population of around 900, this is a place to wander around and chat with locals who will welcome you with open arms. A more “off-grid” island, its chill and unassuming nature will leave you forgetting the world you came from, immersing yourself in an authentic Caribbean way of life away from tourist hotspots.

Palm Beach Restaurant is a favourite of ours on the island as it has a mooring, making it easily accessible on your sailing holiday in Grenada. Unwind with tropical cocktails, and enjoy local specialties, with freshly caught fish, fried plantains, and an endless variety of local produce all being whipped up in the kitchen each day. If you relish the chance to get your hiking boots out, take a meandering hike to Piton, the highest point on the island providing incredible vistas across Petite Martinique, Carriacou, and the nearby Grenadine islands which may be next on your adventures.

Ready to set sail?

If you’re ready to start your journey to a Caribbean island paradise, continue the next leg of your adventure in our journal about St Vincent and the Grenadines. To view our full itinerary of voyages to Grenada with luxury yacht Chronos, or historic Brigantine Florette, head to our Caribbean schedule.  

*Please note that all our voyages travel with the power of the wind, therefore although certain locations and anchorages mentioned have previously been visited by our vessels, there is never a guarantee or set itinerary for any of our voyages*

Our Top 5 Destinations for a Sailing Holiday in Germany

flensburg germany baltic sea

Excellent coastal sailing, sweet Scandinavian villages and an immersive maritime culture. Just a few of the highlights to discover on a sailing holiday in Germany! Whilst Germany may not be the first place to spring to mind when booking a sailing holiday in Europe, the North coast of the country borders the Baltic Sea and provides some fantastic coastal sailing. Departing in Germany also offers the opportunity to sail across the Baltic Sea to Denmark and Sweden. Here you’ll find Scandinavian harbour villages with wooden cabins, fairy-tale castle ruins and exhilarating Baltic Sea sailing.

flensburg germany baltic sea

Two of our fleet, traditional windjammer Eye of the Wind and tall ship Iris, call the Baltic Sea home. Our voyages take place in the summer months, when the winds are stable across the Baltic. With perfect conditions for a full set of sails, it is an ideal destination for a fully skippered traditional sailing holiday! To help you get started, we’ve rounded up our top 5 destinations to visit on your sailing holiday in Germany.

Kiel – A Maritime Lovers Delight

A starting point for a number of our voyages sailing in Germany, the city of Kiel is one of the world’s best known maritime hubs. Immerse yourself in this magical maritime atmosphere, with hundreds of years of sailing history and fabled sea stories. The Kiel Week regatta, an international sailing festival, cements the city as a top destination to visit for maritime lovers. Of course it would be impossible to talk about Kiel without mentioning the canal, the world’s busiest, bustling with shipping routes and sailors. Get a true taste of authentic German sailing with our traditional tall ship Eye of the Wind as she sails through the canal on a taster sailing voyage – perfect for a short break in Germany! 

Aside from being a maritime hub, Kiel is home to a vibrant cultural scene, making it a great place for a short break in Germany before boarding your vessel. Eight of the local museums here have formed a collective titled ‘Museen am Meer’, museums by the sea. Here you can take in some marvellous collections of ancient art, oceanic research, fine art and local crafts. A visit to the street of Dänische Strasse will have you stepping back in time. Meander through the streets, lined with traditional 19th century buildings full of the local charm and heritage. 

Rostock – A 13th Century Masterpiece

Rostock is a top German holiday destination for exploring the many coastlines and islands of the surrounding Baltic sea. Many of our voyages sailing in Germany depart from Rostock as it’s an easy transport hub with direct flights from around Europe. The city was the original home port of traditional tall ship Eye of the Wind when originally built in 1911. Although Eye of the Wind has since circumnavigated the world, she still fits in well at her home port! 

Dominated by Gothic brick buildings from the Hanseatic era, Rostock undoubtedly had its heyday in the 13th century. With some of the best preserved historical sites of this period lying within the city bounds, there’s so much to uncover on your adventure holiday in Germany. From the remnants of the city wall and fortification towers to the town hall and monastery that hides hidden garden delights within its walls, Gothic architecture is waiting at every turn. Another must see is the St Marien Church, a prime example of the city’s 13th century splendour. The church houses an incredible astronomical clock, still functioning today nearly 500 years on. For some (slightly!) more modern history, visit the Warnemunde Lighthouse, built in 1897 and still in use today. The lighthouse also provides an incredible view of your sailing area in the Baltic sea.

Eckernförde – Home of Natural Relaxation

Whilst originally a traditional fishing town, Eckernförde is now best known as an Ostseebad, a spa resort. This means it’s a local German holiday destination hotspot for relaxation and spending time on the beach. Enjoy three miles of stunning beaches, backed by a beautiful promenade brimming with local boutiques. 

Visiting Eckernförde on your German sailing holiday offers the chance to immerse yourself in the natural world and truly connect with nature. The area has an incredibly diverse landscape. Coastal seaside trails, shady forests teeming with wildlife and blossoming meadows with an abundance of native flora, all of which can be explored by bike or on foot. After working up an appetite with a day of sailing and exploring, enjoy some traditional cuisine. Perhaps indulge in the freshly caught local fish that Eckernförde is known for, or sample other local delicacies in the town’s charming restaurants. The town is the perfect blend of Danish and German cultures, shown in the local architecture with traditional rust red cottages and narrow cobblestone streets.

Stralsund – unesco world heritage site

The oldest city in Pomerania dating back to the 13th century, Stralsund tops the list for history lovers sailing in Germany. The old town is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to its outstanding brick gothic buildings that survived the world wars. There is even a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage exhibition for those who want to learn more. The town has an abundance of historic churches to visit, with St Mary’s Church, built in 1383, once standing as the world’s tallest structure. Step inside the incredible octagonal tower for panoramic views across Stralsund, the Baltic Sea and Rugen Island. Rugen Island, well known for its striking white chalk cliffs, lies just off the coast of Stralsund, and could potentially be a stop off the boat on your travels sailing the Baltic Sea with tall ship Iris. 

Another spot that is well worth a visit is the German Oceanographic Museum, Germany’s largest aquarium and oceanographic collection. The fascinating exhibits provide an in-depth understanding of the native flora and fauna found in the depths of the Baltic Sea. You’ll soon be an expert on the natural world beneath the waters on your journey sailing in Germany!

Flensburg – Artisanal delights Await

A port at the head of the Flensburg Fjord, Flensburg is a popular destination for local shopping and sampling of artisanal goods. As a starting point for some of our voyages with tall ship Iris, why not spend an extra day here soaking in the blend of German and Danish cultures and enjoying some of the local events during the busy summer months. The historic lanes and traditional merchants courtyards in the town have transformed into modern cultural delights. The small restaurants and boutiques, artisan workshops, cafes and galleries, are perfect for soaking up the unique local culture.

If learning more about maritime heritage is top of your list when sailing in Germany, spend an afternoon exploring the historic port’s collection of boats from all periods of history. The next stop surely has to be the museum shipyard, containing boats recreated from the 18th and 19th centuries. The historic nature of this part of Flensburg means that traditional windjammer Eye of the Wind fits in rather well!

Join us for a sailing holiday in Germany

With all this to discover and more, if you’re feeling ready to start your adventure holiday sailing in Germany, find out more about sailing here with windjammer Eye of the Wind or tall ship Iris.

Everything you need to know before you visit Svalbard

Noorderlicht Svalbard Hiking Guests

With ice covered fjords, colossal glaciers and soaring mountains, the wild and fragile landscape of Svalbard is on the bucket list for many of us. But as with any truly world class destination, travelling to Svalbard can seem daunting, with an overload of travel information to be found online. We are well versed in travelling to this remote destination, so whether you’re looking to join us for a skippered sailing tour of Svalbard, or you’re just searching for some top tips for your own journey, let us take you through a simple guide of everything you need to know before you visit Svalbard.

Noorderlicht Svalbard Glacier View

What you need to know about travelling to Svalbard

Svalbard is part of the Arctic circle and is the northernmost settlement in the world. Although many think of Svalbard as an island, it is in fact the name of the entire archipelago, home to nine unique islands. The main island, Spitsbergen, is home to the main settlement of Longyearben, where our tall ship Noorderlicht departs from. The other islands are less inhabited, and it’s important to remember that visitors cannot leave Longyearben without a registered guide due to the dangers of Polar bears and the harsh local climate.

One of the most important things to remember when planning a Svalbard holiday is the fragile nature of this landscape, and the impact that visitors can have on it. A sailing holiday on our traditional tall ship is the most sustainable way possible to travel to Svalbard when compared to a larger cruise, but it is still important to consider your impact on the environment here. Svalbard is being greatly affected by the effects of climate change and this will only continue in the future, with a particular impact on the local wildlife. This shouldn’t be a reason not to visit Svalbard, as long as you are visiting with a company that adheres to the strict regulations put in place to protect Svalbard. Noorderlicht is one of few boats that has been awarded an annual licence to operate in the area.

How to get to Svalbard

The easiest way to travel to Svalbard is through a connecting flight. Tromso or Oslo in Norway both have several connecting flights a day to Longyearben. Most major airports in Europe have flights available to Tromso and Oslo. Once you’ve touched down in Longyearben, there will be taxis and buses waiting to meet each incoming flight, stopping at the marina where Noorderlicht is based on request. If you’re planning to stay in Longyearben before or after your trip, the airport shuttle service will stop at all hotels in the centre.

Where to stay Svalbard

Of course the best (and most unique) place to stay on your visit to Svalbard is on a traditional tall ship! Where else will you find handcrafted accommodation, all inclusive meals freshly prepared by the onboard cook, and a new arctic view to wake up to each day? However, if you’re looking for some more traditional accommodation, perhaps before or after your Svalbard sailing adventure with us, we recommend visiting the tourism board for a full list of hotels and places to stay. These include modern hotels, independent apartments and even the world’s northernmost campsite for visitors in the summer months.

When is the best time to visit Svalbard

Sunny Winter – 1st March to 16th May.
The most ‘normal’ season on Svalbard, with a clear distinction between night and day. After the long polar winter, nature awakens, and the landscapes become more diversified and teeming with wildlife. 

Polar Summer – 17th May to 30th September.
Polar summer includes the Svalbard phenomenon of the Midnight Sun where the sun rises on the 20th of April and does not set again until the 23rd of August. This phenomenon is a wonder to behold, and also marks the true awakening of flora and fauna found on Svalbard as the temperatures reach the highs of 6˚c.

Arctic Winter – 1st October to 28th February.
Arctic winter includes the Polar night, when the sun sets on the 26th of October and does not rise again until the 16th of February. With the archipelago embraced in darkness, this is undoubtedly one of the best times of year to see the Northern lights in Svalbard! 

Our sailing trips to Svalbard run between April and September, meaning there’s a chance to sail in the Sunny Winter and Polar Summer. Sailing in these months means you too can experience the incredible phenomenon of the Midnight sun or even the Northern lights. The months between April and September are well known for being the best times of year to see the widest variety of wildlife on land, sea or sky!

Things to do in Svalbard

Guided hikes in Svalbard 

Although many operators in Svalbard offer hikes and excursions around the island, these can prove costly. The most economical and environmentally friendly way to see all the top destinations in Svalbard is on a sailing adventure with us! All our voyages have daily guided hikes ashore which are an amazing way to see all that Svalbard has to offer, and discover the incredible flora, fauna, geography and history of the area. 

Watch out for wildlife 

The call to visit Svalbard for many starts with the chance to see some of the world’s rarest and most endangered wildlife. Sailing in Svalbard allows you to get up close with some incredible creatures in their natural habitat, with minimal disturbance to them and their environment. Although the old tale of there being more polar bears than people is not quite the case, there are still many chances to see Polar bears in the wilderness as they explore the ice. The Svalbard Reindeer, Arctic Fox and Sibling Vole – who all thrive in these conditions as they are capable of building up enough fat reserves to survive the harsh winter, are common spots in this corner of the world.

The sailing waters around the archipelago are also home to many incredible marine animals that make a once in a lifetime spot on your trip to Svalbard. These include mystical fairy-tale Narwhals, and over 10 different species of whales, including Blue, humpback, fin, Beluga and Minke. Spend time on the spacious, open decks of tall ship Noorderlicht watching out for these creatures, and have your binoculars at the ready for some more frequent sightings of walruses, seals and the incredible bird life here.

Ghost town exploring 

Svalbard has a plethora of ghost towns and whale hunting stations, quite literally frozen in time. Explore the historic Russian settlement of Pyrimaden, the town named after the pyramid shaped mountain that it sits next to. Now largely abandoned, there is a small hotel which houses the Pyramiden Museum alongside a post office and souvenir shop. The town has been well preserved, largely due to the cold weather and offers an incredible insight into the long mining and whaling history of Svalbard throughout the centuries. 

Explore the numerous Glaciers 

All of our voyages and trips to Svalbard make sure to visit to some of the area’s most impressive glaciers. Being on board Noorderlicht with its shallow draft means exploring bays that cannot be reached by land or by other larger tour boats in the area. 

One glacier that Noorderlicht visits regularly is the breathtaking green-blue bay of Magdalenafjord, one of the most impressive in Spitsbergen. With a gorgeous beach, impressive vistas of the mountain tops and glaciers, this bay is an incredible stopping point. A truly rugged landscape, its vastness is impossible to explain with words. The local fauna has taken over and there are regular sightings of reindeer, polar bears, and walruses. 

The Alkhornet Cliff – 

Head to Trygghamna bay on your sailing adventure trip to Svalbard, before a guided hike to Alkhornet cliff where some 10,000 pairs of different seabirds breed. The carbonate cliffs are more than a billion years old, meaning you’re truly at one with an ancient landscape. If you’re not feeling up to the whole hike, simply marvel at the tundra landscape at the base of the cliff, with gentle grazing meadows for the local reindeer, as well as many great wildlife spots of arctic foxes and polar bears.

Walk in Whalers footsteps

Although all our voyages visit sites of whaling history, we also run a number of voyages with a special focus; ‘Sailing in the Whalers Footsteps’. The history of whaling is long, often controversial, but it no doubt plays an important part in the heritage and modern day community of Svalbard. Get a feel for historical life on your visit to Svalbard. Voyage to the 17th century island of AmsterdamØya to witness the remains of daily life in the arctic wilderness. Or visit Kvitfiskstranda, ‘white whale beach’ where there are reminders of the past hunting of Beluga whales, which fortunately have returned to swim in the bays here.

What to pack for a trip to Svalbard

We provide a full extensive packing and kit list ahead of your voyage to Svalbard, but here are just a few of our top tips;

Layers, layers and more layers! Quick-drying layers are a must so you can adjust quickly depending on the temperature. Warm, lined, waterproofs are necessary, as well as base/thermal layers and water-proof boots. All clothing and accessories for a cold winter environment such as hats, scarves and gloves. Sun protection and polarised sunglasses are also necessary due to the sun glare from the snow!

Although the arctic climate means that keeping warm is of the utmost importance, below decks on Noorderlicht offers a warm respite from the cold, so you’ll need light, comfortable clothes for relaxing times on board.

Our secret top tip for a trip to Svalbard is to mark your boots, as most places indoors in Longyearben you have to remove your shoes before entering. This is due to a decades old custom leftover from the days of mining, where the local residents had to remove their boots to enter shops and restaurants to avoid the mess of the coal dust!

Visit Svalbard

Join us for an adventure sailing tour of Svalbard

If you’d like to learn more about a visit to Svalbard on a sailing adventure with us, head to Noorderlicht’s page to find out more information about specific voyages. If you’re interested in learning more about the location, head to our Svalbard destination page for all the latest information! 

Our Top 5 Skippered Sailing Holidays in the UK

Skippered sailing holidays in the UK

Whether you’re an experienced sailor or you’re new to the nautical world and are wanting to try a sailing experience, our incredible range of skippered sailing holidays in the UK offer an adventure to suit everyone.

Why Choose a Skippered Sailing Holiday in the UK?

The benefits of a skippered sailing holiday, where you can book a berth, cabin, or even the whole boat, are extensive. Firstly, you’re able to truly relax, knowing that a fully qualified crew and skipper are taking care of all safety measures and planning the best sailing routes, whatever the weather. This gives you plenty of opportunity to learn the ropes and get hands on with sailing the boat or sit back take in the view – the choice is yours! Secondly, all meals are included in the ticket price of our skippered sailing holidays in the UK which are prepared fresh each day by a dedicated chef on board. Time on the water can certainly boost your appetite so you can be sure of good quality local produce and freshly baked treats with a warming cuppa along the way. With all other distractions of a busy life out of the way, you can truly relax and enjoy all the benefits that come with spending time out on the water, immersing yourself in the natural world whilst discovering new destinations.

1. Skippered sailing holidays in the Hebrides
For many, the search for a skippered sailing holiday in the UK starts with the renowned Hebrides. This enchanting collection of Scottish islands are undoubtedly best explored by boat, with each isle different from the next. These world-class sailing waters are home to a fantastic array of wildlife; from whales to basking sharks, sea birds to seals, otters, deer and even the occasional orca pod! Our skippered sailing holidays in the Hebrides provide plenty of time to wildlife watch whilst soaking up the breathtaking scenery, anchoring in deep lochs and exploring the rich and varied landscape ashore.

Tempted? Join Dutch ketch Steady to sail this ancient landscape in comfort. Or climb aboard beautiful yacht Stravaigin for some of the best wild swimming opportunities in the world. If you’d like to learn more about the Hebrides, read our journals about sailing the Hebrides, the Small Isles, and the islands surrounding Mull.

2. Skippered Sailing Holidays to St Kilda
Steeped in mystery and wonder, the uninhabited isles of St Kilda are known as ‘the islands at the edge of the world’ and for good reason. Now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site for both natural beauty and cultural significance, St Kilda has earned its place on many a bucket list. Only accessible by boat, these alluring isles are one of our top picks for a unique skippered sailing holiday in the UK. Approaching the islands, one can’t help but appreciate the wild beauty and sheer remoteness, marvelling at how the residents fared until their evacuation in 1930. Stepping ashore, you will uncover the eerie remnants of civilisations combined with sweeping vistas across the iconic sea stacks and rugged natural landscape, populated with an abundance of native flora and fauna that can’t be found elsewhere.

Zuza St Kilda Scotland anchor

Sail here with tall ship Blue Clipper to immerse yourself in traditional sailing, or join expedition yacht Zuza for smooth and steady sailing to St Kilda. Make sure to read our journal to learn more about sailing with Zuza, or read more about sailing to St Kilda.

3. Skippered sailing holidays in Devon
Fondly referred to as ‘the English Riviera’, pretty Devon offers some of our favourite skippered sailing holidays in the UK. And the good transports links available means Devon is the perfect place to while away a long weekend. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced sailor, Devon is a great choice for getting out on the water offering a fabulous combination of sheltered waters and exhilarating coastal sailing. Enjoy time exploring traditional fishing towns, sail through tranquil rivers, and soak in the magnificent views from deck.

Devon is home to historic ship Pilgrim of Brixham, offering traditional coastal sailing adventures in South Devon. Or spend some time on board classic yawl Escape for short breaks – perfect for beginners and families! Read our journal to learn more about beginner sailing in Devon, or discover the best hidden bays of Devon.

4. Skippered Sailing Holidays in Cornwall
The home of VentureSail, our list of skippered sailing holidays in the UK wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Cornwall. Sail and explore an incredibly diverse and ever-changing coastline, discover hidden coves and deep estuaries, marvel at the towering dramatic cliffs, and visit quaint traditional harbours to enjoy a pasty or Cornish ice-cream. Rich in maritime history, Cornwall is home to a treasure trove of local legends including tales of pirates, smugglers and even the odd mermaid or two!


To experience traditional Cornish life at sea, join Grayhound – a replica of a 17th Century Cornish lugger. For hands on tall ship sailing, step on board historic ketch Bessie Ellen to explore the Cornish coastline. Or try some exhilarating sailing on pilot cutter Pellew – entirely handcrafted in Cornwall! If you’d like to learn more about sailing in Cornwall, read our seasonal guide to sailing in Cornwall, the history of Cornish pilot cutters, or discover life on a Cornish lugger.


5. Skippered sailing holidays in the Isles of Scilly
If you’re looking for a skippered sailing holiday in the UK that feels just a touch more exotic, venture to the sub-tropical archipelago of the Isles of Scilly. The crossing from Cornwall is truly exhilarating, offering incredible sailing with majestic views of the west Cornish coast. A slower pace of life can be found on the Scilly Isles, allowing you to relax on deck and take in the view, swim or snorkel in incredibly crystal clear waters whilst basking in the warmer-than-average temperatures. Often described as ‘a place like nowhere else in England’ you would be easily forgiven for thinking you’re on a sailing holiday in the Caribbean. The remote nature of this archipelago means a sailing holiday is the only way to discover it all, with plenty of time to step ashore to roam the islands at will. From incredible walking trails, to archaeological sites, powder soft deserted beaches and tempting eateries, there is plenty to occupy every traveller. And after a heavenly day exploring, lie back to take in the star-filled skies – the Isles of Scilly are an official Dark Sky area proffering magnificent star-gazing opportunities. 

Set sail from Newlyn with classic gaff ketch Maybe, or venture to these incredible isles with pilot cutter Pellew. Learn more about sailing the Isles of Scilly by reading our island by island guide.

If a skippered sailing holiday in the UK sounds like it might be for you, or would like to find out more please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can reach one of our friendly team on 01872 487288, or at [email protected].

What is Blue Therapy?

Blue therapy sailing experiences

The benefit of spending time near the water has been long-understood; listening to the waves and allowing the soothing sounds to wash away our woes. But what is it about the water that is so therapeutic and how exactly does this aptly named ‘blue therapy’ work?

Cast Off
As an ‘always on’ society, it can be really hard to find ways to switch off. This is where being at sea truly comes into its own and all our guests confirm that climbing aboard the vessel they experience a subtle psychological shift, stepping off land, onto the water and away from it all. No longer physically connected to life ashore, we begin to unwind. Casting off and setting sail there is a true sense of having escaped, leaving anxieties and troubles behind.

The Benefits of Being at Sea
While the health benefits of green spaces are well documented, research in recent years has shown that ‘blue spaces’ can have an even greater effect on wellbeing. A 2013 study on happiness in natural environments found that proximity to the coastline or marine environments had the greatest effect on an individuals happiness. One of the largest reasons for this is the psychologically restorative effect that water has. The evidence is clear that spending time around water has been consistently shown to increase positive mood and reduce stress, and there’s no better way to experience this than on a boat!

Sanctuary at Sea
The therapeutic qualities of the sea are now growing in popularity with increasing bodies of evidence now supporting the benefits of being in, on or around the water. This is no surprise for Cornish mental health charity Sea Sanctuary who have long placed the sea at the heart of their programmes and pride themselves on ‘taking therapy out of the office and onto the water’. Teaming up with historic ketch Irene of Bridgwater, Sea Sanctuary are able to offer a range of sailing programmes, all focused on reducing stress and anxiety whilst rejuvenating bodies and minds in a non-medicalised way.

VentureSail Holidays are proud to confirm that Irene has also joined our fleet, offering guests the chance to take to the water and explore the Cornish coast under sail. We are contributing a percentage of each Irene booking to Sea Sanctuary to support their invaluable charitable work. View Irene’s Schedule >

Chase away the Blues

All our ventures offer the chance to experience the magic of the water, from voyages to far-flung St Kilda to cruises around the Cornish coast and Isles of Scilly. There is something very special about being completely surrounded by water, the fluid motion and tranquility of life on the waves is something that lures guests time and time again. Why not climb aboard and experience some blue therapy first hand? We are confident you will return to shore feeling revived and restored with a new found love for the sea.

Where will you venture? >

Island by Island Guide to Sailing in Cape Verde

Santiago coast Cape Verde

Comprising of 10 individual islands, the sub-tropical Cape Verde archipelago lies some 500km off the coast of West Africa. With a unique geography, landscape and culture like nowhere else on earth, sailing in Cape Verde is the best way to experience all that life has to offer in this corner of the world. Explore Cape Verde in style onboard luxury yachts Chronos and Kairos, or experience traditional life at sea with historic tall ship Oosterschelde

Whilst a typical package holiday to Cape Verde may offer a day trip or two to the lesser known islands, a sailing holiday remains the best way to travel between the islands and uncover all they have to offer. Part of the magic of sailing in Cape Verde lies in its variation of landscapes and activities, meaning that there really is something for everyone to discover. Enjoy relaxing on golden sandy beaches, exploring a colourful African market or hiking through a volcanic forest landscape! With so much to discover, we have put together this handy island guide to prepare yourself for an adventure sailing in Cape Verde. 

Sailing in the Barlavento Islands 

The Northern band of the Cape Verde islands are known as the Barlavento Islands. They include Sal, São Vicente, Santa Antao, São Nicolaus and Boa Vista. Our luxury sailing yachts Chronos and Kairos usually depart from the Northern islands.

Sal Cape Verde
Local boats moored in Sal, Cape Verde


One of the most popular islands for holiday makers in Cape Verde, Sal is home to the majority of beachside resorts, restaurants and bars. The island also has the better transport options, with direct flights from the UK arriving here. This makes it the perfect starting point for sailing in Cape Verde. Oosterschelde’s voyages begin in Sal, providing plenty of time to explore the island before setting sail. Those who make the effort will be rewarded – the coastline here showcases an endless stretch of golden sands and crystal clear waters whilst inland offers a desert, a lunar-like landscape. It’s worth a trip to the hidden mirage at Terra Boa appearing as an ocean in the middle of the desert!

Santa Antao Cape Verde
A mountain village in Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Santa Antão

Considered the most beautiful island of the archipelago, Santa Antão is a paradise of lush mountain peaks and native flora. A must see destination, all our vessels sailing in Cape Verde call in to visit this beautiful island. Spend the day exploring the island at your leisure before returning to the boat in the evening. The adventurous traveller will particularly enjoy hiking the Riberia Grande trail. The trail dramatically winds its way along the edge of a volcanic crater providing stunning sweeping views across the island. 

Cape Verde Sao Vincente
The mountainous shoreline at Sao Vicente, Cape Verde

São Vicente 

Considered the cultural hub of Cape Verde, São Vicente has excellent international transport links. Along with Sal, this makes it a great place to start your venture sailing in Cape Verde. The capital Mindelo is home to the islands famous music scene, with a rich local culture and a vibrant nightlife. Join tall ship Oosterschelde to discover all that Mindelo has to offer. Take in the local cuisine with dinner in the city before a crew member guides you to the best spots for live music and dancing! Beach lovers will enjoy the world renowned wind surfing beaches, or the natural lagoon for swimmers at Baia das Gatas. 

São Nicolau 

An unspoilt paradise, São Nicolau is home to undoubtedly some of the most breathtaking scenery in Cape Verde. One of the least visited islands due to its secluded location, São Nicolau is a fine example of how sailing in Cape Verde can unlock the hidden gems of this diverse archipelago. Our luxury yacht Kairos has formed strong local relationships here and visits regularly when sailing in Cape Verde. Breathe in fresh crisp air on a mountain walk amongst sweet smelling pine forests or climb the inactive volcano of Mount Monte Gordo. Wander through volcanic landscapes, discover the islands beautiful national parks and meander through the colourful town of Ribeira Brava, before heading back to the ship.

Cape Verde Boa Vista
Sweeping sand dunes in Boa Vista

Boa Vista

One of the most visited islands, Boa Vista is home to dazzling sandy beaches and glorious landscapes. It’s name translates to ‘beautiful view’ and it’s little wonder why. Added to this, the island is undeniably a snorkellers paradise with plentiful tropical fish, native coral and mysterious shipwrecks to bubble down to. Both Kairos and Chronos sail with various water toys to make use of whilst you visit the best beaches in Cape Verde. Time it right and you’ll be able to admire the world’s largest Loggerhead Turtle breeding sites – a once in a lifetime experience and all part of the sailing adventures with Oosterschelde whose crew arrange for guests to meet with a local guide from the turtle foundation.

Sotavento Islands

The southern cluster of islands are known as the Sotavento islands. They are most often visited by tall ship Oosterschelde whose crew are familiar with the area and local population.

Santiago coast Cape Verde
The coastline of Santiago, Cape Verde


The largest island in the archipelago, Santiago is home to colourful local markets brimming with the unique Creole culture and a landscape bursting with lush green valleys. Santiago is often the first island sailed to from Sal, and with a crossing of 110 miles between them there’s likely to be night sailing, celestial navigation, and incredible starry skies! Following our arrival into Santiago – and a well-earned hearty breakfast on the boat – guests are free to step ashore and explore the island at will. We suggest taking in the peaceful mountain village of Rabelados as well as making a visit to the reservoir of Agua Barragem or The National Park of Serra Malagueta. 

Fogo Cape Verde
The volcano Pico do Fogo, Cape Verde


Thousands of years ago the island of Fogo was formed from a volcanic eruption, and remains known for its fiery landscape. The dramatic volcano of Pico do Fogo dominates the landscape with fantastic hiking opportunities. Pretty Portuguese squares, local coffee and traditional wine combine to create a fascinating island brimming with culture.

Santa Luzia

The smallest of the islands in Cape Verde and the only one that lies uninhabited. Santa Luzia is a mysterious place, with a wild and rugged north coast, and beaches and dunes to the south. Become one with nature as you experience the unique flora and fauna of Santa Luzia. Tall ship Oosterschelde often passes by the island which is well known for it’s plentiful fish. Guests are welcome to throw out a fishing line and you may even catch your own dinner!

Maio & Brava

Maio and Brava are two of the most untouched islands in Cape Verde, both brimming with flora and fauna. Our sailing adventures in Cape Verde tend to forgo these islands for the more dramatic scenery found elsewhere in the Sotavento islands, however be sure to look out for them on deck as you sail by!

With all this to explore and more, discover this tropical island paradise with us on a skippered sailing holiday to Cape Verde. Choose from a number of trips on our fleet, from a luxury voyage with 5* service, or an offshore expedition on a traditional tall ship, there’s an adventure for everyone.

View Cape Verde Sailing Schedule >

A Guide to Sailing in the Algarve

Algarve Portugal

Searching for an all inclusive holiday to Portugal? Why not try something new with a fully skippered sailing holiday in the Algarve. With around 200 kilometers of breathtakingly beautiful coastline, azure blue waters and warm winds, a skippered sailing holiday in the Algarve allows you to experience true, authentic Portugal. For those who have yet to be tempted, read on to find out more;

The natural beauty of the Algarve
From gentle golden cliffs sheltering sea caves to striking red rock formations and sand dunes, the coastline is ever-changing here and is best absorbed under sail. A tall ship sailing holiday in this region means you can soak in the natural beauty of the Portuguese coastline at all times, from dining alfresco, sunbathing on deck, or even using onboard kayaks to explore the coast.

The sheltered coastline and warm sailing winds create the perfect sailing area for beginners or old hands, and if you’ve been wanting to learn to sail on a traditional boat in warmer climates, Portugal may be the place for you. Historic tall ship Maybe offers taster sailing trips, perfect for a short break getaway from Portimão. Adventure travellers will love joining tall ship Blue Clipper for a longer open sea voyage around the Spanish and Portuguese coast. 

Beautiful Algarve Beaches
With miles of secluded coastline it’s little wonder that the beaches here are renowned for being some of the most beautiful in the world, with the region regularly voted the best beach destination in Europe. With gentle, secluded coves hugged by whitewashed pretty fishing villages, vast stretches of golden sands and white soft shores along the islands, variety is guaranteed. And the best way to discover as many as possible? By boat of course! Offering an adventurous twist on a typical Portuguese beach holiday, a sailing holiday in Portugal means you’re sure to find the best hidden beaches in the Algarve (and after a morning learning to sail a traditional tall ship, there’s no better way to relax!)

Ancient History

The history of the Algarve is extensive to say the least. The Algarve was once occupied by the Arabs and the name ‘Algarve’ actually arose from the Arab word ‘Al-Gharb’, which means ‘The West’. The Romans then settled here until their fall in the 5th Century which saw the region occupied by roman Visigoths. In 1755 Portugal experienced a huge earthquake which destroyed much of the Algarve’s then-infrastructure as the epicenter was close to Lagos. There is still plenty to see, including the Castelo de Tavira which dates back to the neolithic period, the Faro archaeological museum and Roman ruins in Vilamoura. A skippered sailing holiday with traditionally rigged tall ship Blue Clipper or historic ketch Maybe offers you the opportunity to experience Portugal as explorers would have done hundreds of years ago. Make the most of the warm winds at sea and ancient history on shore. 

The beauty of the sailing winds in this area means there’s plenty of time to explore ashore, with new destinations ready to be explored nearly every day.  Get a taste for authentic Portuguese culture, splitting your time between cultural highlights and hidden gems away from the tourist hustle and bustle. 

Fabulous Food

After a busy day at sea learning the ropes under the watch of the professional crew, you’ll be sure to work up an appetite. It would be impossible to talk about the Algarve without mentioning the incredible cuisine. An eclectic mix of seafood and meat dishes, both influenced by the Arabian and Portuguese ruling throughout the years, the local delicacies are a real highlight of this area. Although both Blue Clipper and Maybe offer all inclusive holidays in the Algarve, with an onboard chef ready to prepare delicious meals, there is still plenty of opportunity to experience the local delicacies ashore! 

Whales and Dolphins

Over 26 species of cetaceans pass through the Algarve waters with 5 calling the area home. Sailing in the Algarve provides an incredible opportunity to observe common, bottlenose, risso dolphins and even minke whales. It’s no secret that marine wildlife is best spotted from the water, and there’s no better place to watch than the deck of a tall ship. Channel your inner explorer with a sailing holiday and be ready to spot killer whales, pilot whales, humpback whales and schools of tuna. 

Explore Gibraltar and North Africa

The Algarve is a great starting point for those wanting to sail the Southern coast of Spain, or even venture down to Gibraltar. Sail with us down to the ancient port of Cadiz in Southern Spain to soak up over 3000 years of maritime history. Head to Gibraltar to experience the melting pot of English, North African, and Spanish cultures, before crossing the Gibraltar strait to visit Ceuta. Sailing holidays from the Algarve are able to reach some interesting destinations, with some breathtaking landscapes along the way.

With all this and so much more, sailing in the Algarve is the best way to experience this phenomenal region. Why not try it for yourself on board tall ship Blue Clipper. Take a break from the grey skies, soak up some winter sun and fall in love with a new destination!?

Discovering the Isle of Skye on the West Coast of Scotland


At fifty miles in length, the Isle of Skye is the largest of the inner Hebrides and the second largest island in Scotland. Although connected to the north-west Scottish mainland by bridge, the island remains remote, rugged and seemingly untouched by the modern advances and with approximately 30% of the local population speaking Gaelic, it is easy to forget you are just moments from the British mainland. The best way to discover this part of Scotland certainly has to be a sailing holiday in Skye.

A sailing holiday in Scotland is an utter joy as we are among some of the finest sailing waters in the world. If weather permits, you may visit one of the lochs, in particular Loch Scavaig and Loch Coruisk deemed to be ‘the wildest scene in the Highlands’ Nestled on the southern half of the islands, at the foot of the often mist-shrouded Black and Skye Cuillin, the waters here are almost completely enclosed and said to be home to kelpies. Anchoring on Loch Scavaig, at the mouth of Loch Coruisk is utterly breath taking and perhaps one of the most awesome anchorages in the world. Step ashore to uncover another world, exploring foothills, untamed landscapes and the dark granite cliffs. Adding a little life to this often eerily quiet and still setting is the resident seal colony as well as the occasional playful dolphins who accompany vessels across the waters, dancing in and out of the bow waves.


Wildlife watching in Scotland is exceptional and nature lovers will delight in the numerous opportunities to observe the plethora of animal species in their natural habitats on Skye. These who venture across the island may be rewarded with Red Deer, Otters, Sea Eagles, Hen Harriers and the Pine Marten. Out at sea, the waters almost throb with marine life with sea-farers often spotting seals, dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks and a variety of whales. On a sailing adventure in this wildlife haven it’s best to keep cameras at the ready to capture memorable moments, you won’t be disappointed.


The beauty and history of Skye has longed lured filmmakers with the island featuring in many a Hollywood film including King Arthur, Transformers and the Legend of the Sword. Its wide and varied history can be seen in the seven castles that are located across the island, some are ruined remains whilst others stand tall and statuesque but each point to Skye’s tumultuous past, one of clan feuds and violent battles. Each of our ventures to Skye allow time to explore the island so it is worth speaking with the crew who will be able to assist with any land arrangements to ensure your sailing holiday adventure is as you wish.

The Isle of Skye is Scotland’s most second visited destinations after Edinburgh and is home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes. It is a land of fairy pools, velvet moors and towering sea cliffs. Of mist shrouded jagged mountains, folklore and wonder. Barren and windswept, sailing holidays to Skye are thrilling and there is no denying that this enchanting, majestic island will hold visitors under its spell long after departing.

View our Isle of Skye sailing schedule

Life on a Cornish Lugger – Sailing in the foosteps of Smugglers

Richard Collett on Grayhound

Richard Collett, travel journalist, recently joined Cornish lugger Grayhound as she sailed from Plymouth to Falmouth and back again, following in the wake of sailors and smugglers from days gone by. First-time sailor Richard eagerly climbed aboard, keen to embrace the experience, learn to hoist the sails, tie ropes and fall in love with life on the waves.

Grayhound is a newly built Cornish lugger who launched in 2012 but don’t let her modernity fool you. She is an exact replica of the original ‘Grayhound’ who was built in Cornwall in 1776 having been commissioned for the collector of customs, Mr John Knill, in St Ives. Designed for speed, she subsequently spent her first few years working as a revenues lugger, patrolling and chasing smugglers who, when caught, had their goods impounded as well as their vessel. The latter was then later sold at auction, whilst the smugglers fate lay in the hands of the law.

Smuggling was rife in the southwest during this time period and ironically, the vessel of choice for many smugglers was a Cornish lugger as their speed was unrivalled. In fact, these vessels became so difficult to chase down that the government eventually banned three-masted luggers in an attempt to stymie the smuggling trade!

On winding down her career as a revenues lugger, from 1780 Grayhound served as a privateer – a privately owned armed vessel granted a warrant by the government to wage war on enemy ships. With conflict arising due to the Declaration of Independence by the North American Colonists in 1776, privateering in the English Channel and beyond became common place and Grayhound, being a well armed and fast ship became a successful privateer vessel. Her final fate is unknown but it is assumed she was sunk in battle, if so, we imagine it was a glorious one!

Grayhound sailing
Three-masted Cornish luggers were built for speed

Back to modern day and on joining Grayhound in Plymouth, Richard explains “I didn’t know my fore from my aft, but as we raised the sails and set out across Plymouth Sound I was keen to learn the ropes.” Richard soon familiarised himself with the slower pace of life that is synonymous with tall ship sailing, unwinding and observing as the gorgeous coastline unfolded and an anchorage was chosen for the night. Read more about Richard’s sailing holiday on Grayhound in his article on Travel Tramp or experience it for yourself with a 2022 tall ship adventure!

Why not get a taste of life on board this lovely Cornish lugger yourself? She has a few berths remaining for the 2022 season, from Scilly to Brittany or sailing around the Devon and Cornish coasts, there’s something for everyone. View Grayhound’s 2022 Schedule >

Why should you choose a skippered sailing holiday charter in Greece?

Zorba greece Saronic island sailing

Adventure travellers Sarah and Matt explain why they those chose a stress-free all-inclusive skippered sailing holiday to enjoy the very best of Greece’s blue water sailing in the Saronic Gulf.

“The aeroplane doors opened in Athens and we were bathed by a wall of Greek heat. After two years of limited travel options, we couldn’t wait for our skippered sailing holiday in Greece to begin. 

After a short taxi ride, we jumped on a ferry from the bustling port of Piraeus’ to meet sailing yacht Zorba on the island of Aegina; the heart of the Saronic Gulf. Skippers Aga and Greg were waiting to meet us on the harbour front with beaming smiles and open arms. They were as happy to see us as we were to see them. Their love for sailing in Greece was clear to see from the moment we exchanged pleasantries and had a quick tour of the boat and we were already beginning to see why they come back here year after year. 

Offering fully catered, skippered charters in Greece is something a little different from the iconic flotilla charter that it is known for but Aga and Greg are passionate about showing their guests the true authentic Greece and sharing their local knowledge – something you just don’t get from bareboat hire or a group flotilla. From finding deserted desert islands with only wild deer and peacocks for residents to the relationships they’ve forged with the locals and traditional tavernas; their passion for the culture and lifestyle is infectious. 

Polish couple Aga and Greg make the voyage. A sailing couple for over six years, they own and sail Zorba, a beneteau Cyclades 50.5 and spend their summers living aboard while they sail and explore the Saronic Islands and the lesser Cyclades with guests. With four double cabins, a twin bunk and generous saloon area, sailing yacht Zorba was the perfect floating base for us to explore Greece. She has a great space on deck for dining alfresco lunches under sail, sunbathing on deck or the option for full shade under the cockpit. A swim ladder and transom shower were perfectly positioned for the multiple swims throughout the day in a variety of azure blue anchorages.

For those wanting to learn more about sailing a modern yacht in Greece under the guidance of a professional skipper and instructor, we couldn’t have asked to be in better hands than with Greg. Having spent many years sail racing in the Baltic, he traded his fast paced corporate life, bought a boat, headed for Greece and has remained sailing here ever since. He quips that ”at the point in the year I have to wear socks – this is a disaster for me“.

Aga, a film producer turned sailor, cannot do enough for guests. Appearing every morning with a beaming smile and an enormous bowl of fresh fruits, yoghurts and nuts, she would then ring ahead to ensure we were booked into the best local taverna at each anchorage. It’s clear to see why Aga and Greg have a loyal following of returning customers – there really is nothing they won’t do for their guests.

We spent a lot of time researching the sail area in Greece and looking at our options for hiring a boat ourselves. Having done a small amount of local coastal sailing over the years, we just couldn’t get our heads around the idea of being responsible for an entire boat ourselves, route planning, weather watching and catering for ourselves while still trying to enjoy the scenery and making time to relax.


Sailing and island hopping in the Saronic islands, we were pretty much guaranteed good sailing with the meltimi winds making Greece one of the best warm weather sailing destinations in the world. With the consistant winds and small tidal range, exploring the Greek islands by boat makes for safe sailing. That being said, it gets shallow quickly, everything is done on a who-you-know not what you know basis in Greece and with harbouring to stern being the norm in most ports – we just couldn’t imagine being responsible for our own boat and still being able to completely relax.

Choosing a fully catered and skippered yacht charter in Greece meant we were able to get the perfect balance of learning the ropes and sailing holiday relaxation without the responsibility of our own boat.

Greece is well known for its sunshine sailing in the travel industry and boat world. But VentureSail Holidays are offering something a little different with their fully catered, skippered charter sailing holidays. Staying away from the flotilla towns and tourist hotspots, sailing with Zorba in the Saronic islands and the Cyclades offers so much more than just a bareboat charter. A safe, stress-free environment to learn the ropes under the guidance of a professional skipper mixed with the local knowledge of the best anchorages, swim spots and traditional Tavernas really pays testament to Aga and Greg’s years of accumulated knowledge and easily answers the question of why a skippered yacht charter is the best way to sail in Greece.”

Sailing in the Cyclades Islands, Greece

Zorba anchored Cyclades

The dazzlingly beautiful Cyclades islands are scattered off the southern Greek mainland and whilst many will recognise names such as Santorini and Mykonos, we invite you to join sailing yacht Zorba to discover some of the lesser-known isles. During the summer months, the islands are blessed by a northerly wind known as the ‘meltemi’ which turn these stunning lands into a sailor’s dream, perfect for island-hopping and exploring. But, aside from these perfect conditions, what makes sailing here so special? We asked Aga and Greg, the skipper’s of Zorba, why the Cyclades islands never cease to amaze….


We love that each island is so very evidently Greek. Intricate white-washed labyrinthine towns, blue roof-tops and bright pink Bougainvillea all greet you on arrival from the sea and this always make us smile. Watching as guests reach for their cameras while mesmerised by the beauty is so wonderful and is a fantastic way to start each island visit.


The Aegean Sea is warm, turquoise and crystal clear. With numerous secluded bays, deserted beaches and rocky outcrops, snorkelling and swimming opportunities are plentiful. Having spent the last fifteen years sailing in Greece, we know them well and have several ‘secret’ spots to take guests where the marine life is plentiful. Colourful fish dart amongst the rocks whilst the sun gleams through the water onto the white sand below, it’s just magical and one of the many reasons why we love to take guests on sailing holidays in the Cyclades islands.


With plenty of picturesque islands, exploring here is best done under sail. Leaving behind the well-known tourist hot spots of Santorini and Mykonos we prefer to sail in quieter shores far from the crowds. At the beginning of each venture we ask if there is anything in particular guests would like to experience and then we tailor the trip to meet these requests. History lovers will enjoy experiencing the ancient acropolis on Antiparos as well as the ruins on Delos, an island which was sacred to the ancient greeks.

Beach goers are simply spoilt for choice, we can head to Ios which is known for it’s golden sandy shores or the small isle of Koufonissi which promises remote beauty. Just 10 square miles in size, what this island lacks in size, it certainly makes up for with jaw-dropping beauty. And after a day spent in the fresh air soaking up all that the Cyclades islands have to offer under sail, sit back and take in the warm Greek hospitality at a traditional Greek taverna where we will while away the evening.

Sailing Holidays in the Cyclades Islands

If you’re feeling tempted by a sailing holiday in Greece (and who wouldn’t be?!) then take a look at our schedule for sailing yacht Zorba. She sails to the Cyclades in August, returning north to Athens and the Saronics towards the end of the month.

Sail in the Cyclades with Zorba >

A Guide to Sailing in the Saronic Islands, Greece

Zorba sailing

For many, the notion of sailing in Greece is often one of flotilla’s, large groups and crowded waters however, our sailing holidays in the Saronic Islands could not be further from this. Join gorgeous Zorba in Athens for a skippered, charted sailing holiday in the Saronic Islands and step off the beaten track to experience authentic Greece and remote escapism.


The Saronic islands are renowned for their natural beauty which has long-drawn writers and artists seeking to draw inspiration from the stunning scenery. Blessed with stunning beaches, secluded coves and ancient olive groves, the isles boast more lush vegetation than many other Greek islands. Surrounded by clear cerulean seas which glitter under the bright Grecian sun, they offer an unparalleled natural beauty. While away the hours exploring uninhabited islands, soak up the sun on deserted beaches and snorkel in warm waters before relaxing on Zorba’s deck and absorbing the picturesque landscape with a drink in hand.


No holiday to Greece would be complete without taking in the 2500-years of history and with the Saronic islands having played a pivotal role in the history of Greece, the islands offer plenty of historical attractions. Stop off at Aegina to visit the Temple of Aphaia, one of three historical Greek monuments which form the so-called holy triangle of antiquity, along with the Parthenon in Athens and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion. Head to car-free Hydra, one of the most popular islands, navigate yourself through the cobbled streets to the fascinating Museum of Historical Archives and Bastions. Hydra town has been restored and preserved exactly as it was in the 1800’s with breathtaking Venetian style architecture looming tall and proud above the harbour. Or call in at Poros, the island made up of two parts having formed as the result of a volcanic explosion in 273BC, to visit the Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, founded in 1720 by the then-Archbishop of Athens.


Although they lie in close proximity to Athens, each of the Saronic islands proffer their own personality and true Greek hospitality, with tavernas lining harbours and hillsides. Sailing in the Saronic islands is utter bliss and with so much to explore, we guarantee that come the evening, you’ll have worked up a healthy appetite! We step ashore each evening to allow guests the opportunity to enjoy the warm Greek hospitality and fabulous food – the islands have even featured on one of Rick Stein’s culinary journeys and it is easy to see why. The food offering in the Saronic islands is unbelievable, from locally produced wine to home-grown fresh-out-the-field produce, there is plenty to tempt the hungry sailor. Dine in waterside taverna’s, absorb the views from rooftop garden restaurants in the mountains and hunker down in unassuming backstreet eateries. This region loves it’s food and drink, the only thing the people love more is sharing it with those who take the time to visit.

Sailing Holidays in the Saronic Islands

Sound enticing? Then jump aboard Zorba this season for a sailing holiday in the Saronic islands, with cheap flights from the UK to Athens and the boat moored just a short taxi-ride from the airport, joining us couldn’t be easier! Sail with Zorba in 2022 >