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Crossing the Bay of Biscay

  • Vessel: Bessie Ellen
  • Where: France
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Embark: Douarnenez - 18 July 2020, 15:00
  • Disembark: La Coruna, Spain - 27 July 2020, 10:00
£1,280 ( Deposit: £320 )
Enquire now
Single berth£1,280 £320

Sail with Bessie from the French Coast across the Bay of Biscay to La Coruna, perfect for an open water adventure or mile building trip.

Cross the Bay of Biscay and become part of Bessie Ellen’s voyage crew, standing watches, reefing sails and taking part in navigating and all other aspects of a wooden vessel as she journeys down. This is an ideal opportunity for mile building towards yacht master accreditation.

Visit tiny traditional fishing ports with their quaint and ancient stone corn storage buildings while tasting local wines, tapas and excellent seafood in the shorefront bars. After exploring in the Rias on the north coasts, we may get the chance of coach trip to the ancient Spanish city of Santiago de Compostella. Wander the streets within the walls of this old medieval city, revelling in its history and elaborately carved stone architecture opening onto grand plazas.

Finish in La Coruña whose town’s history is closely connected with its historic fishing and trading port, and the peninsula on which the historic part of town is situated is home to an interesting Romanesque road network with squares and medieval churches as well as the Hercules Tower, the oldest lighthouse in the world. The Museum of Fine Arts, with works by Goya and others on display, is also worth a visit.

The Bay of Biscay hosts some spectacular wildlife such as pods of Fin and Minke whales and of course hundreds of Atlantic common Dolphin.  Last year the record of 14 fin whales were seen in one day just to the west of the continental shelf. Many years ago a false killer whale played in the wake in around the same region.

Migrating birds can be a common visitor in the evenings as they fly southwards, mostly the smaller summer birds but later on egrets can stay the night.


VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/p
Crossing the Bay of Biscay18 July 202010£1,280Enquire now

Bessie Ellen

Guest berths: 12 Rig: Gaff Rigged Ketch

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.

More about Bessie Ellen


  • 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.

  • Will there be time to get off the boat?

    Yes on most of our trips we try and explore the areas we are sailing around each day, except for passage crossings where of course we are at sea for most of the voyage.


From: Douarnenez

To: La Coruna, Spain