Explore the beautiful archipelago of the Isles of Scilly from Cornwall with classic boat Bessie Ellen under sail.
Join Bessie Ellen as she spends her 2024 season sailing around the British Isles to celebrate 120 years of heritage sailing. Built in 1904 and meticulously restored, Bessie Ellen stands as a testament to the golden age of maritime exploration, brimming with captivating tales from the past.
Split into fourteen legs, she will encompass the landscapes and seafaring heritage of the UK. From the enchanting coasts of Cornwall to the rugged shores of Wales and Scotland, including the mystical Orkney Islands and back down the East Coast. As part of this magnificent journey, she will also celebrate the esteemed French maritime festival of Brest before returning to Cornwall and the breathtaking Isles of Scilly.
These final legs of the tour see Bessie Ellen sailing in one of our favourite sailing grounds off the South coast of Cornwall. The Isles of Scilly – with its sub-tropical maritime climate making for a stunning sailing holiday destination.
- Traditional Tall ship Sailing
- 120 years anniversary tour
- Fully Skippered
- Friendly Crew
- Sub-tropical Islands
- Great for solo travellers
- All-inclusive Board
Your Sailing Area
Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, UK
Your sailing holiday to the Isles of Scilly begins in the picturesque backdrop of Newlyn, a charming fishing harbour nestled on Cornwall’s South Coast. This quaint Cornish town teems with friendly locals, exceptional local seafood, and a fleet of traditional sailing boats. While Bessie Ellen’s ultimate goal is to reach the enchanting archipelago of the Isles of Scilly, the weather will determine our timings and route. This voyage finishes further along the Cornish coast in the harbour town of Falmouth.
Newlyn is a beautiful backdrop for boarding Bessie Ellen and beginning your sailing holiday adventure. A quaint tiny fishing harbour on the South Coast of Cornwall, this little town is bustling with friendly locals, great local seafood and traditional sailing boats. 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 Isles of Scilly comprise magnificent islands adorned with expansive stretches of untouched white sandy beaches, dramatic rocky coves, breathtaking seascapes, captivating archaeological sites, and picturesque walks along coastal and country paths. Nature trails beckon with their unparalleled beauty. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuits, as the Isles of Scilly boast some of the clearest waters in the UK, perfect for invigorating open water bathing.
Among the 55 islands, only five are inhabited, each exuding its own distinctive character. Tresco enchants with its exquisite botanical garden, showcasing rare plants found nowhere else in the UK. Sampson, abandoned since 1855, carries an air of mystery and folklore. St Martins boasts some of the world’s finest beaches, while Brhyer is speckled with lagoons and rugged outcrops. St Agnes, the artisan island, overflows with creativity, while St Mary’s serves as the “capital” with its bustling population. Weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to visit these islands effortlessly by boat.
Should the 28-mile sea passage to the Isles of Scilly prove unfeasible for bad weather, fear not, for Bessie Ellen will still showcase the beauty of Cornwall’s coastline. Explore the tranquil Helford River or Trelissick, allowing you to bask in the serenity as the sun sets. Alternatively, venture to the historic maritime port of Falmouth, renowned for its sheltered bay, offering one of the UK’s most magnificent sailing experiences.
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 120 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. Whether you’re a solo traveler yearning for exploration or an adventurous couple seeking a unique journey, sailing aboard Bessie Ellen promises to create lifelong memories. It’s no wonder that guests return year after year, captivated by the ship’s allure.
The crew actively encourage guests to get involved with all aspects of sailing on a traditional vessel – it really is an all-hands-on-deck attitude. This all-hands-on-deck approach ensures an engaging and inclusive experience for everyone. Even if you have no prior sailing experience, the crew’s expertise and guidance will have you hoisting sails, taking the helm in open waters, mastering basic rope work, and even picking up some navigation skills. Bessie Ellen welcomes adventurers of all backgrounds, provided they have a love for adventure and the natural world!
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 its 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 an incredible cook using locally sourced produce everywhere possible.
Become part of her maritime history…
In addition to the incredible experiences mentioned above, Bessie Ellen offers the unique opportunity to embark on her round Britain sailing tour marking her 120th birthday. These voyages take you on an enchanting journey around the breathtaking coastlines and historic ports of Britain. From the rugged beauty of Cornwall to the mystical allure of Scotland’s lochs and islands, each voyage unveils the diverse wonders of Britain’s coastal heritage. Prepare to embark on an extraordinary voyage through Britain’s sailing legacy on board Bessie Ellen, where every moment is infused with the spirit of seafaring tradition and warm camaraderie.
- 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.
From: Newlyn, Cornwall
To: Falmouth, Cornwall
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
Penzance train station is a 10 minute drive from Newlyn Harbour. There are direct trains with Great Western Railway from Plymouth, Exeter St Davids, Cardiff Central and London Paddington into Penzance.
Newquay Airport is generally the quickest way in/out of the county during the spring/summer months. There are direct flights from a number of UK airports. A taxi ride is approximately 1 hour to Newlyn.
STAY IN NEWLYN:
There are plenty of places to stay in and around Newlyn. Try The Ship Inn Mousehole, Artist Residence Penzance or The Queens Hotel Penzance.