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COVID-19 FAQ’s – Book with Confidence.

Pellew Sailing

Update December 2020

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

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Will my 2021 booking go ahead?

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

Will I need to take a test?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is my money safe?

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

Do I still have to buy travel insurance?

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

Will I need to wear a mask?

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

 Will I still get the same sailing holiday experience?

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

Sailing in Northern Spain

Cies Islands-Vigo-Galicia-Spain

The North Coast of Spain is still relatively unknown on the tourist map which provides the perfect location for summer sailing and stunning anchorages in secluded bays. A perfect location for those wanting to experience warmer temperatures, escape the rat run and explore “off-the-beaten-track”

Rugged coastlines dropping to traditional seafront harbours and stretches of sandy beaches provide perfect locations for overnight stops and evening wanders. The Atlantic sea air provides great sailing winds and in the event of not so good weather, this coastline is teeming with inlets, fjords and hidden bays, great for sheltering.

Many of the seafront harbours and villages still rely on their traditional fishing and farming methods so you won’t be short of fresh produce and arguably some of the best and freshest seafood in Europe! Our Skippers love to hop ashore, hopefully timing their stop with a sweet traditional Spanish market where they can pick up the freshest produce to bring back to the boat. If the timing is even better, some of our boats have been known to liaise with local fisherman over the radio, rendezvous in the bay and exchange fresh fish for baked goods!

Wildlife in Spain is impressive and diverse due to its varied landscapes and its geographical location on the migration routes between Europe and Africa. Home to 635 bird species including kites, vultures, eagles and bustards this coastline is a prime position for bird watching so make sure you have your binoculars at the ready!


There are currently no voyages scheduled for this vessel. Please contact the VentureSail team to find out what’s available, or if there are other upcoming voyages that might be suitable.
Do give us a call in the Office on 01872 487288 or email info@venturesailholidays.com, and we will be happy to help you find your next adventure!

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Bessie Ellen & the newbie!

Bessie Ellen in Scotland

Emma Jamieson, food blogger and first-time sailor, shares her experience of a week aboard Bessie Ellen in the Hebrides – it was love at first sight!

“Dolphins!” came the shout from Skipper Nikki at the bow of Bessie Ellen. We were whipping along at a nifty 7.6 knots – a cracking pace as she sliced through the waves on her merry way to the Hebridean Isle of Canna. Over in the distance we spotted them, jumping and diving in their hundreds towards us to play under our bowsprit.

Three days before, I had never set foot on a boat, and suddenly there I was, wind in my hair, wildlife surrounding me, helming a traditional tall ship on a trip round the Hebrides!

When I’d boarded – three days before – with eleven other travellers looking for adventure, I had very little idea the lasting impact this trip would have on me. From all walks of life and ages all of us bonded immediately as we gathered on deck for warming whisky macs and our first briefing. Within an hour of leaving Oban, we had hoisted the sails, learned to make fast, got our first taste at the helm and practiced knots! Anyone joining Bessie Ellen can get involved as much or as little as they want, but there is always something to do and see and learn, so few of us ever sat still.

A warming dram of whisky

Each day brought a new surprise. The sun rose and we were straight at it, scrubbing the deck, plotting our course for the day and taking turns on watch. Paddle-boarding surrounded by dolphins was a clear highlight, as was spotting minke whales and seals, wild swimming in remote coves or being surrounded by puffins and razorbills on the Treshnish Isles.

Love these guys!

Our huge appetites from all the sea air were handsomely rewarded. We ate like royalty throughout the trip, with stellar meals apparating like Hogwarts feasts from a galley kitchen the size of a broom cupboard – from fresh baked bread to haunch of venison, Thai curries and homemade sorbet! Over evening meals by candlelight we played games, swapped anecdotes and even had a “pub quiz”.

Fresh Lobster for lunch!

All the fusses of terrestrial life seemed to melt away on board. Whilst there is no scrimping on comfort – from a spacious shower room and the cosiest bunks, I didn’t wash my hair or wear make-up once, spent most of my time with what looked like a tea cosy on my head, wearing ten layers and I couldn’t have given a monkey’s less.

Cosy down below
I’ve fallen for the Hebrides!

When the final night arrived I could barely remember the day I came on board. Numbers were exchanged and all of us revelled in the lifetime’s worth of stories collected in even such a short time. A sail on Bessie Ellen is no mere holiday. It is a moment of spirit-filling, pure, unadulterated happiness and adventure suspended in time.

Swimming was refreshing!

To read Emma’s full article please visit her blog The Edinburgh Epicure