Discover life aboard a traditional tall ship as you explore the sheltered coastline of Cornwall from Fowey.
Join the magnificent Bessie Ellen in the harbour town of Fowey, the perfect joining location to explore the South West coast of Cornwall under sail on a classic boat.
This voyage is perfect for those looking for new experiences and adventures. Even if you’ve never set foot on a boat before, the coasts of Cornwall give great sheltered sailing grounds that are the perfect setting for getting to grips with a traditionally rigged tall ship. The professional and friendly crew will be on hand to show you the ropes, hoist the sails and even offer the helm.
- Traditional tall ship sailing
- Sheltered coastal sailing
- Great for beginners
- Perfect for solo travellers
- All-inclusive board
Your Sailing Area
Cornwall is very much home for Bessie Ellen, who has worked in and out of Cornish ports for many years. The county is also home for the skipper Nikki, who grew up here and knows the coasts and harbours well so she is able to show guests hidden coves and secret spots during the voyage.
The time at sea is yours to make your own and guests are invited to become as involved as much as they like by taking the wheel, navigating or hauling the ropes. Alternatively, just sit back, relax and soak up the sights as the gorgeous Cornish coast passes you by, keeping eyes peeled for dolphins, basking sharks and a host of bird life, including the world’s fastest flying bird, the Peregrine falcon, which has made a strong comeback along the Cornish coastline recently. No experience is necessary to sail with Bessie Ellen as the ship has a fully trained crew who are on hand and keen to teach newcomers.
This sailing holiday is perfect for those who want to get to grips with classic boat sailing in sheltered waters and soak up the diversity of Cornwall’s coastline. Gaze at starry skies, beach comb remote beaches and feel the salt air in your hair as you revel in a tall ship sailing experience.
WHERE THE WIND TAKES YOU
Setting the sails from Fowey, we could head west to the working port of Charlestown, a fine working example of an 18th century clay harbour and a great place to step ashore, sightsee and sample Cornish ice cream.
From Charlestown we may round Dodman Point, the highest point on the south Cornish coast, before continuing on to the busy port of Falmouth and it’s large sheltered bay, one of the UK’s finest places to sail. From Falmouth, Bessie Ellen will seek an evening anchorage either along the Helford river or Trelissick, each allowing guests to absorb the calming peace of the river as the sun goes down. The Helford is one of the last places in England where ancient woodland covers the coastline directly meeting the sea. The south west coast path also meanders along the river mouths and bays making it a fabulous spot to anchor up, jump aboard the tender and explore ashore after a day of sailing.
Should weather conditions not be favourable for this route then it could be that Nikki steers us up to Salcombe or Dartmouth, venturing into Devon before returning to Fowey for the final evening.
All voyages for 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, Norway, and Denmark, you’ll not only enjoy sailing aboard a tall ship, but experience unique coastlines, abundant wildlife, and excellent food, all sourced locally and prepared on board. Nikki and her crew are also joined by salty sea dog Bracken, who will love to go on you adventures with you!
Choose from weekend breaks, weeklong trips, or 10-day explorations for a truly unforgettable holiday.
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
What COVID policies are in place for sailing with Bessie Ellen?
There are currently no Test & Sail policies in place for the 2022 season.
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.
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
You can leave your car at any of the Long Stay car parks with a weekly or overnight ticket. You can pay using the JustPark app on your phone which can be easier. Try Readymoney (PL23 1JD) or Caffa Mill (PL23 1DF) car parks.
Fowey is just 5 miles / 15 mins by car from Par Station which is on the Southwest mainline. There are trains with Great Western Railway from the start/end of each line at Penzance, Cardiff Central and London Paddington. From here, it is a short ride taxi into Fowey.
Newquay Airport is 20 miles from Fowey, but is generally the quickest way into the county during the spring/summer months. You’d need to get a taxi (around 40-50 minutes) from the airport.
STAY IN FOWEY:
There are plenty of places to stay in Fowey. Try The Old Quay House, The King of Prussia or Havener’s.