Bessie Ellen

Jump on board this historic 100ft vessel for a hands on sailing adventure and an exceptional dining experience

Bessie Ellen offers quality sailing holidays on board a classic tall ship with over 100 years of history, and is now one of the last West Country trading ketches.

This ship worked through both world wars during the last era of wind-powered trade, when ships like Bessie were seen all over England. She is featured on the National Historic Ships Register, which identifies her as a historic vessel that needs to be conserved.

Now, her working life is very different, and she spends her days cruising around British and Spanish waters, offering sailing holidays. With an experienced and hospitable crew, Bessie Ellen provides her guests with a comfortable and authentic tall ship experience. Skipper Nikki occasionally nods back to Bessie’s past by loading her up with cargo for ocean passages, transporting beer from Harbour Brewery and making the most out of the emission free transport that Bessie offers.

Sail with Bessie Ellen and Nikki, around Cornwall, the Hebrides, St. Kilda and the Canary Islands, and not only enjoy sailing aboard a tall ship, but experience unique coastlines, abundant wildlife, and excellent food. While enjoying all of this you will also be able to feel smug about having such an environmentally friendly holiday, as Nikki tries to be as green as possible in every aspect of her journeys – everything down to providing guests with toiletries that are microbead free, and so don’t harm the marine life.

Choose from weekend breaks, weeklong trips, or 10 day explorations for a truly unforgettable holiday.

Accommodation
  • Total number of berths : 20
  • Guest berths : 12
  • Day trips in sheltered waters : 60 (maximum)
  • Day trips offshore : 12
  • Reception/party on deck : 90
  • Luxury dinner in saloon : 32
  • Buffet in saloon : 40 (maximum)
Particulars
  • Builder : W.S. Kelly, Plymouth
  • Year built : 1904
  • Displacement : 98 tons
  • Length overall : 35m / 115'
  • Draft : 3m / 9'6''
  • Air draft : 34m / 80'
  • Beam : 6m / 20'
  • Rig : Gaff ketch
  • Sail area : 330m² / 3550′²
  • Number of Sails : 8
  • Engine : 310hp Volvo Penta
  • Crew : 4 (+2)
  • Charter berths : 12
VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/pDeposit
Voyage to Scotland28 April 20189£850£213Full
Hebridean Magic12 May 20186£850£213Enquire now
Canna, Rum & Skye19 May 20186£850£213Full
Discover Scotland Under Sail26 May 20184£850£212.50Enquire now
Adventure to St. Kilda, Scotland2 June 20189£1050£263Full
Tall Ship Taster – Discover Mull & her Surrounding Isles12 June 20184£500£125Full
Discover Scotland Under Sail16 June 20186£850£213Enquire now
Adventure to St Kilda, Scotland23 June 20189£1050£263Full
Tall Ships Taster – Discover Mull & Her Surrounding Lochs & Isles3 July 20184£500£125Full
Highland and Island Adventures7 July 20186£850£213Enquire now
Discover Mull14 July 20186£850£213Enquire now
Adventure to St Kilda, Scotland21 July 20189£1050£263Full
Hebridean Magic4 August 20186£850£213Enquire now
Adventure to St Kilda, Scotland11 August 20189£1050£263Full
Tall Ship Taster Experience – Magical Scotland in Early Autumn21 August 20184£500£125Full
Secluded Scotland25 August 20186£850£213Enquire now
Celtic Sea – South Bound Passage1 September 20187£850£213Enquire now
  • What language is spoken on board?

    English is the main language spoken, however on occasion we have crew onboard who are multilingual.

  • What are the sleeping arrangements?

    There are 12 comfortable berths in the former cargo hold. This is an open plan area that is also used for meals and relaxing

  • Are meals included?

    Yes - and we pride ourselves on the quality of food served!

  • Do I need to be a seasoned sailor?

    Not at all. We give everyone who joins us on board the choice to do as much or as little as they like, whether the know how to or not.

  • Can I charge my phone or camera?

    Yes. We run generators every day in the morning and evening, which run the 240 volt system of normal 3 pin sockets.

  • Do I have to do watches?

    During a passage crossings you may be asked to be part of our watch rota, this is not compulsory but is definitely part of boat life that guests enjoy when at sea for long periods.

Skipper profile

Nikki Alford

Nikki, owner and skipper has proudly taken care of the magnificent Bessie Ellen since 2000. She provides a strong, skilled leadership and will make even the newest of sailors feel at home on the ship.

Read Nikki Alford's Adventure Logs
Life onboard

Bessie Ellen

Life on board Bessie Ellen is as you make it. Whether you want to relax and watch for wildlife, or get stuck in with either honing your skills or learning the ropes, it is entirely up to you.

Read Bessie Ellen's Adventure Logs
The History of

Bessie Ellen

Bessie Ellen started life out in Plymouth, England, and is now one of the last remaining trading ketches in the West Country, where there was once a fleet of almost 700.

Read more

Destinations

Our range of vessels enables us to offer several destinations all over the globe. Which adventure will you choose?

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Our Fleet

With vessels of all sizes and each with a unique history and construction, there is no shortage of choice for your sailing holiday.

View Fleet