Sailing the Isles of Scilly with Bessie Ellen
- Vessel: Bessie Ellen
- Where: Newlyn, Cornwall
- Duration: 7 days
- Embark: Newlyn - 22 August 2023, 14:00
- Disembark: Newlyn - 28 August 2023, 10:00
Sorry we’re full!
This voyage is fully crewed. Check out our voyage finder to see what else we have available.
Explore the beautiful archipelago of the Isles of Scilly with classic boat Bessie Ellen under sail.
Experience the sub-tropical archipelago of the Isles of Scilly with tall ship Bessie Ellen as she sails from the coast of Cornwall.
You’ll be setting sail along the rugged south coast and crossing a 28 mile stretch of the Atlantic in order to reach the near-tropical archipelago of the Isles of Scilly. The 10-12 hour passage is well worth it. You’ll have the most tranquil week island-hopping in some of the clearest, warmest waters the UK has to offer. Walk barefoot on sandy shores, spot marine life and seabirds galore and experience the charming history of the UK’s most southerly archipelago.
- Skippered sailing
- Island hopping
- Traditional rig
- Suitable for beginners
- Great for solo travellers
- Wildlife watching
- Sail area & highlights
- Life on board
- Sample menu
- Travel planning
- The boat
- What's included
- Boat schedule
YOUR SAILING AREA
ISLES OF SCILLY
Life at sea is never predictable, so exactly where you explore on Bessie Ellen when you get to the Scillies will be decided by the whims of the wind and tide. (Please note, if the weather is not in favour then an alternative sailing plan will be decided to explore the wonders of the coast of Cornwall instead.)
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
Bessie’s main aim of this voyage is to reach the archipelago of the Isles of Scilly but this will be entirely weather permitting. Read more about what’s to offer from a sailing holiday in the Isles of Scilly here.
These stunning islands feature large stretches of deserted white sandy beaches, dramatic rocky coves, stunning seascapes, amazing archaeological sites, beautiful walks and scenery along miles of coastal and country paths and nature trails. Remember to pack your swimsuits too, as the Isles of Scilly boasts some of the clearest water in the UK which makes for beautiful open water bathing.
Out of the 55 islands, just 5 are inhabited and each has its own distinct character. Tresco is home to a beautiful botanical garden, which has some exotic rare plants unable to grow anywhere else in the UK. Sampson has been uninhabited since 1855, is known as the haunted island and is steeped in folklore. The beaches of St Martins are some of the best in the world and Brhyer is dotted with lagoons and rocky outcrops. St Agnes is the artisan island bursting with creativity while St Mary’s is the “capital” with the largest population. Dependent on the weather you’ll be able to visit where you like, as each of them is accessible easily by boat.
If the 28-mile sea passage to the Isles of Scilly is not possible, rest assured Bessie Ellen will still show off the beauty that the coasts of Cornwall have to offer. Explore the Helford river or Trelissick, allowing guests to absorb the calming peace of the river as the sun goes down or perhaps the historic maritime port of Falmouth, it’s large sheltered bay makes for one of the UK’s finest places to sail. This will be your final destination, but as long as the weather permits, there would be time to explore further along the coast before winding our way back to Falmouth at the end of the voyage.
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 European waters, offering hands-on sailing holidays. With an experienced and hospitable crew, Bessie Ellen provides her guests with a comfortable and authentic tall ship sailing 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.
Read more about Life on board Bessie Ellen here >
Sail with Bessie Ellen and Nikki, around Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, the Hebrides and St. Kilda, 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.
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.