Coastal Sailing Adventure Spain to Gloucester
- Vessel: Bessie Ellen
- Where: Spain/UK
- Duration: 15 days
- Embark: La Coruna, Spain - 16 September 2023, 12:00
- Disembark: Gloucester, UK - 30 September 2023, 10:00
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Join tall ship Bessie Ellen for a coastal sailing adventure from Spain, across Biscay and along the Brittany coast before heading over the channel to her home for the winter in Gloucester.
Join Bessie Ellen from the coast of northern Spain, crossing Biscay and then on to Breton islands on the Brittany coast before heading back to the UK and making port in Gloucester.
This offshore sailing voyage is best suited for those wanting to experience authentic traditional sailing on the open water with longer passages at sea. Once on the coast of Spain, there will be time to explore quaint Spanish harbour towns ashore and walk the beautiful coastal fjords. The perfect ocean mile builder for those wanting to experience life on the open water!
- Skippered sailing
- Traditional rig
- Build sea miles
- Great for solo travellers
- Wildlife watching
- Longer passages and watches
YOUR SAILING AREA
Spain to the UK
La Coruña is a great maritime port to begin your offshore sailing adventure. The 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 mediaeval 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 before you join Bessie Ellen!
During this trip, you will develop a love of sailing, and the best way to make a start on any boat is to feel you are a vital and competent part of the crew. We will teach you the seamanship skills of steering, setting sails, reefing, and tying knots with conviction! The skills you learn will be relevant for modern yachts, but you should also feel at home on traditional boats and tall ships with blocks and tackles.
Before we cross the Bay of Biscay, spend some time exploring the Galician coastline, visiting small fishing harbours, tranquil estuaries and secluded bays. 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. Rio de cederia is a lovely nature reserve with tranquil anchorages and the seaside towns of Vice and Celeiro make good overnight ports.
Ensuring the fairest weather conditions for crossing the Bay of Biscay is important so the exact itinerary won’t be known until we are underway with the latest weather forecast. Depending on the weather, we’ll look to cross the Bay of Biscay as soon as we can. This will involve longer hours under sail and perhaps some overnight sailing under the stars too. Guests are welcome to join our watch system and although it is not mandatory, we truly believe it’s part of the magic of sailing! During these mile building passages we cannot be certain of fair winds so this voyage is best suited to those with some sailing experience and/or a lust for adventure!
We’ll spend some time on the Breton coast visiting the serene island of Belle Île and the quaint French port of Camaret-sur-Mer. The Ushant isles will be our last stopover before making way across the Channel and if the weather is fair, we’ll look to stop over on the Isles of Scilly before heading back to mainland Gloucester!
At this time of year, the weather will be cooler and the winds steady but with the interesting coastline, there may be plenty of chances to stop. You will join the ship as her voyage crew alongside the professional crew. Stand watches, help navigate and hand sails where necessary to make the 500 miles north towards Lands End.
All voyages for Bessie Ellen
Guest berths: 12 Rig: Gaff Rigged Ketch
Step aboard Bessie Ellen, a classic tall ship with over 120 years of history, and embark on a sailing holiday that takes you back to a bygone era. As one of the last West Country trading ketches, Bessie Ellen has a remarkable past. She sailed through the turbulent times of both world wars, and has since been recognised for her historical significance, as she proudly graces the National Historic Ships Register, signifying her importance as a vessel in need of conservation.
Today, Bessie Ellen has transitioned into a vessel that sails the waters of the British Isles and Europe, offering unforgettable hands-on sailing holidays. With a warm and experienced crew, she provides guests with a comfortable and authentic tall ship experience.
Life on board Bessie Ellen
Sail alongside skipper Nikki and her crew as they navigate the stunning coastlines of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, the Hebrides and St. Kilda. Discover unique landscapes, encounter abundant wildlife, and enjoy delicious food sourced locally and prepared on board. Joining on this maritime adventure is Bracken, the spirited and seaworthy ship dog, eager to accompany you on your voyage!
Choose from a range of sailing experiences on Bessie Ellen. Opt for a traditional sailing weekend break, delve deeper into the maritime experience with a weeklong trip, or embark on a 10-day exploration to remote destinations. Whichever journey you choose, you can be certain that you will be transported to a world where the wind fills the sails, the sea beckons, and the echoes of history resonate with every nautical mile.
Sailing on Bessie Ellen is more than just a holiday; it is an opportunity to embrace the authenticity of a bygone era. As you step aboard this historic vessel, you become part of her living legacy, connecting with the spirit of seafaring that has endured for over a century. Book your voyage with Bessie Ellen today and embark on an extraordinary journey through time.More about Bessie Ellen
Life on board Bessie Ellen
Sailing with traditional tall ship Bessie Ellen is certainly an experience you will never forget. From the moment you board, you can feel the 100 years of sailing history this magnificent classic has under her sails. Faithfully restored over many years by her owner and skipper Nikki, it’s clear to see how dedicated she is to the rich maritime history and authenticity of sailing such a tall ship.
Bessie Ellen is perfect for those looking for an immersive traditional sailing experience while enjoying Nikki’s famous hospitality, great food and team spirit. From solo travellers, to adventurous couples, sailing with Bessie Ellen will leave you with life-long memories and you’ll quickly see why her guests return year on year.
The crew actively encourage guests to get involved with all aspects of sailing such a traditional vessel – it really is an all-hands-on-deck attitude. They are well-versed in having beginners on board and are always on hand to show guests the ropes. From hoisting the sails together, taking the helm in open waters, basic rope work and even some navigation pointers, you soon feel at ease and part of the team! Believe it or not, you don’t need any sailing experience to join Bessie Ellen, just a lust for adventure.
The other important crew member is ships dog Bracken! A small border terrier who is well-versed in life on board, loves watching for dolphins, exploring ashore and sleeping while under sail.
Sleeping and relaxation
Below decks, guests are indulged in a spacious saloon with original wooden beams, comfy open bunks and two toilet/wet-rooms where you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you were even on a boat! Each bunk has it’s own light, full bedding and a privacy curtain. A tiny galley sits tucked mid-ships and you will be in awe and wonder of the meals that come out of this space.
Nikki is not only a competent skipper but also incredible cook using locally sourced produce everywhere possible and has spent many years in both Cornwall and Scotland networking a myriad of local suppliers.
- All-inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Soft/hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet)
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and fro the boat
- Offshore sailing jacket and trousers for emergencies (these are not permitted to be taken ashore)
What’s not included
- Wash and/or swim towel
- All flights
- Transit hotels
- Travel to and from the boat on the day of joining/leaving
- Travel insurance
- Sailing Insurance (Please read our Sailing Insurance page for more information)
- Crew tips
- Personal expenses
Travel insurance notes
As this is an active adventure holiday, we advise that everyone has the appropriate personal accident travel insurance whilst onboard in addition to standard travel insurance which would cover you in the time between making your booking and departing for your adventure. These policies can sometimes be combined so please check with your travel insurance provider.
This voyage will be more than 12miles offshore.
Are meals included?
Yes - and we pride ourselves on the quality of food served!
Can you cater for dietary needs?
Yes, please let us know at the time of enquiry
Do I need to tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew!
Do I need to bring bedding or towels?
All your bedding (duvet and pillow) is provided but please bring your own towels (washing and/or swimming)
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
How many toilets/showers does she have?
Bessie Ellen has two toilets/showers for guests.
Is there WIFI?
No, but you will be able to reach 3/4G when you are close to land.
Is there an age limit?
No, but we advise over 16's for scheduled voyages as there is an open saloon sleeping arrangement. There is no limit for private charter.
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.
Are there life jackets provided?
Are waterproofs available?
No. Please bring your own. There are a few spare for emergencies only.
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.
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.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are worried to take some medication 24 hours before travelling.