Category: Sailing Tips

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 >

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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.

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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!

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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! 

Sailing in the Baltic Sea

denmark bornholm

The Baltic Sea is a fabulous place to sail offering easy access to several European countries, including Denmark and Sweden, each with a differing coastline and culture. Home to thousand of islands, sailing in the Baltic Sea is a fantastic mix of sheltered coastal sailing with open water, wilder crossings. Experience gorgeous unspoiled coastline dotted with isolated archipelagos, untamed nature, islands and coastal villages each home to fabulous seafood restaurants, bars and interesting architecture. A well known destination for the adventure sailor, sailing holidays in the Baltic Sea are fast growing in popularity. A number of our fleet offer tall ship sailing in the Baltic Sea, read on to discover why we love venturing in this diverse, inland sea.

Outstanding Natural Beauty

Ruggedly beautiful, the Baltic Sea is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and there are numerous national parks in the area, set up to preserve and protect. With lands steeped in mythology, sailing in the Baltic proffers the chance to follow in the footsteps of the Vikings. Uncover an eclectic range of islands some home to craggy coastlines with others offer sweeping stretches of white sands and sheltered swimming. Each of our vessels sailing in the Baltic Sea allow plenty of opportunities to explore ashore, joining in with adventure activities, meeting the locals and discovering the picturesque beauty.

Baltic Sea Sailing Conditions 

Sailing in the Baltic is variable depending not only on where you sail, but when. We are pleased to confirm that all our ventures sail during the Baltic summer, a season of small waves and moderate wind speeds, making it ideal for a relaxing, skippered sailing holiday. Drink in the fresh sea air, dine on delicious locally sourced food whilst turning your hand to traditional seamanship. Sailing in the Baltic enables you to visit a new destination each day, experiencing the beautiful landscape from the sturdy deck of a tall ship. Explore cosmopolitan harbours, appreciate the gentle countryside views and ancient castles and towns that line this part of the world. Join traditional schooner Aron, traditional tall ship Iris or windjammer Eye of the Wind, all perfect for beginners or old hands wanting to get to grips with sailing in the Baltic Sea. 

The Scandinavian Lifestyle

Scandanavia is the home of “Hygge” – a concept that translates to a cosy feeling of togetherness, the feeling of wellbeing and warm atmospheres. So wherever you sail, whether with family and friends or as a solo traveller, you’re sure to be greeted with welcoming and friendly nature. Although all our sailing holidays offer all-inclusive meals cooked by the onboard chef, we allow plenty of time to take in the mouth-watering local cuisine and culture ashore. The rich history of Scandanvia permeates through to the lifestyle of today, making the country an incredible location for those seeking to switch off.

Sailing in the Baltic is spectacularly beautiful and our Baltic Sea ventures provide the chance to explore Germany and sail Denmark coast and Swedish islands under sail. Climb aboard traditional schooner Aron of Svendborg, historic tall ship Iris or join Windjammer Eye of the Wind as they offers sailing ventures around this pretty part of the world.

View Aron’s schedule >
View Iris’ schedule >
View Eye of the Wind’s 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!?

10 Reasons to sail in the Caribbean

St Lucia Caribbean Marigot bay unsplash

The Caribbean is regarded by many as the Best Place in the World to holiday. Home to thousands of islands and perfect sailing winds (out of hurricane season of course!) we would have to agree with this… Forget the all inclusive Caribbean resorts and head for an authentic Caribbean adventure on an all inclusive sailing holiday! Sailing trips to the Caribbean should be on everyone’s bucket list, and if you’re still not convinced then here are our top ten reasons for choosing a sailing holiday in the Caribbean!

1. Warm Weather
Temperatures in the Caribbean sit between 23ºC to 30ºC all year long both day and night – so you can ditch those woolly jumpers but don’t forget the suncream! Whilst there’s plenty of time to be spent ashore sunbathing on the beach, one of the best things about yachting in the Caribbean is the gentle ocean breeze as you relax on the deck of the boat.

2. Perfect Sailing Winds
We obviously make sure that our holidays occur outside of the hurricane season! The Caribbean has constant trade winds, averagely blowing at about 15 – 25 knots from the East, most of the year. Dream sailing conditions making island hopping a dream to navigate for our skippers on Eye of the Wind, Chronos, Rhea, Blue Clipper and Skyelark. So whether you’re joining us on a 5* luxury yacht, or on a traditional tall ship, the warm winds make sailing a breeze..

3. Beautiful Beaches
We have all seen the photos of the pure white beaches hugging the islands providing the perfect holiday backdrop. Whilst typical Caribbean beach resorts are brimming with tourist hustle and bustle, our boats can take you to so many “off the beaten track” beaches you won’t know where to look! So whether it’s beaches overlooked by the volcanic mountains of St Lucia, or tropical beach destinations hidden along the shores of Antigua, find your favourite hidden gem beach in the Caribbean (and be sure to let us know!).

4. Wonderful Wildlife
From flamingoes to Sea Turtles, Marmut Monkeys to rare butterflies, the Caribbean is home to a rich and diverse abundance of fascinating wildlife and rare species. One of the benefits of a sailing holiday in the Caribbean is the proximity to marine wildlife. From our boats, you can swim with dolphins and sea turtles, snorkel with tropical fish in beautiful coral bays or even rent a diving suit at a local village and explore the shipwrecks. Whatever island you visit, rest assured you won’t be short of wildlife spotting opportunities.

5. Crystal Clear Waters
Low water density and lack of industry make for fantastically clear waters so swimming and snorkelling are top of the list for activities! And not only are they crystal clear but the average water temperature is also 27ºC – it’s like swimming in a lovely bath! Many of our voyages are able to take in the world class snorkelling destinations in the Caribbean, including the reef-lined Bequia Island or the under-water world of Tobago Cays.

6. Thousands of Islands
The Caribbean is made up of thousands of islands and with so much to explore, you’ll be longing to return for more from the moment you arrive. A skippered sailing holiday is the best way to experience as many islands as possible, with each mainland wonderfully culturally different from the next.

7. Fabulous Food
Traditional Caribbean food is a fabulous fusion between African, European, East Indian and Chinese cuisine. Your all inclusive Caribbean vacation starts with our on board chefs, who will certainly make sure that they are hopping ashore to grab the local delicacies to cook up a feast for your dinner. The seafood is especially fresh and the spices available will be like nothing you have tasted before. And of course, you must try the Caribbean rum!

8. Colourful Caribbean Culture
From the beautiful timber buildings to the local festivals to the wildlife, there are so many ways in which the Caribbean is full of colour. It would be impossible to choose the best Caribbean islands to visit, with each having its own unique community and culture. A sailing holiday in the Caribbean allows you to soak in as much culture as possible on your tropical vacation! The festivals reflect the rich and cultural diversity of the islands and if you catch one, you will be in for a once in a lifetime experience!

9. Interesting History
The Caribbean is steeped in colonial history with each island seemingly worlds apart from the next. The BVI is home to many pirate stories and shipwrecks while the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda are full of historical and archaeological places of interest for those who love to sniff out a bit of history. A skippered sailing holiday to the Caribbean means you have built in tour guides in the form of our experienced crew who will be more than happy to make recommendations on all the top sights and hidden gems.

10. The Caribbean People
Whatever island you visit, you will find the (majority!) of locals to be friendly, happy-go-lucky and amazingly laid back. As you anchor from one port to the next be sure to befriend the locals, as they know all the best hidden gems of the area. They really do make your Caribbean sailing holiday experience a relaxed one!

Take a look at our sailing holidays in the beautiful Caribbean.

How to service (serve) a rope

The Bessie Ellen - 1904 West Country Trading Ketch

The arts of a sailor such as serving, splicing and knotting is fast becoming a dying art: skills are lost, tools are harder to come by, and sailors seem to have less and less wish to whittle or turn out their own. Drugged by the power of smartphones, social media, the fo’c’sle has become a very different place than when I started life at sea 20 years ago.

One of the first arts we would learn was serving a splice. Aboard sailing ships much of the wire rigging would be parcelled and served, rope eyes and strop-blocks all dressed smartly in turns of marlin. Today, even though materials are modern and hardier, serving is still an important task to learn, finished off with a waterproofing of linseed oil and tar offering the appearance of a well-dressed ship.


Set up your work between two points and heave taught.

Worming the rope is to fill up the vacant space between the strands of the rope with spun yarn in order to render the surface smooth and round for parceling.

Parceling a rope is wrapping old canvas round it, cut into strips two or three inches wide according to the size of the rope.

The parcelling is put on with the lay of the rope.

The service is of spun yarn, put or hove on by a wooden mallet; it has a score in the under part according to the size of the rope so as to lay comfortably on the rope.

The serving is always laid on against the lay of the rope, a man passes a ball of spun yarn taking the turns well out of it at some distance from the man that is serving the rope; when the required length is put on, the end is passed under the last 6 turns and hauled taught before cutting off.