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Sailing voyage from Cornwall to the Kiel Canal

  • Vessel: Bessie Ellen
  • Where: UK/Germany
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Embark: Fowey, Cornwall - 2 September 2020, 15:00
  • Disembark: Kiel, Germany - 11 September 2020, 10:00

Sail with Bessie Ellen as she makes her way from Cornwall to Germany exploring the South West English Coast and onto the Kiel canal and Frisian islands.

Have you ever imagined life at sea travelling with the wind and tides, working a ship to a destination? Join Bessie Ellen as she makes her way towards the Baltic Sea following the English Channel and onwards up to the North Sea to the Kiel Canal.

Way back in 1947, Bessie Ellen made the same journey with a cargo of china clay but today you can experience the voyage at a different pace, standing ships watches, steering and navigating – releasing your inner sailor. The simple awareness of travelling at a slower speed pace opens ones eyes to the delights of the natural world with little interference of modern man save that of a wooden ship under canvas sailes out here at sea you can gain a significant amount of relaxation and reflection as each day, watery miles fall astern in the wake leading to new lands and cultures.

With all our long-distance voyages, no itinerary is set with the emphasis being the ability to sail as much as the weather and wind allows.

Leaving behind the picturesque cornish harbour town of Fowey, the English channel beckons Eastwards toward the Dover Straits with a stop in Dieppe, an attractive fishing town famous for its seafood. One of the busiest shipping channels in the world, the straits of Dover provide plenty of challenges whilst on watch, with strong tides and vast ships abound for Europe or outbound to all corners of the world.

Opening out into the North Sea, the Belgian coast provides the perfect stopover with Oostend for Frites mayonnaise and of course excellent chocolate! If we need to bypass Belgium, the Frisian Islands also make for a perfect stopover for the day. These tidal sandy islands made so famous in the “Riddle of the sands” are a wonderful way to discover the Netherlands before rejoining the busy shipping lanes heading into the Elbe River before casting off for the peace and tranquillity of the Kiel Canal.

the Kiel Canal is the most historic of canals and was expanded back in the late 1800s by Kaiser Wilhelm ii to make the channel a hugely important trade link for the Baltic states and onto the rest of the world. Today, we sail the same canal in company with transiting vessels passing through perfect landscapes complemented by willow trees, waterfowl and charming waterside villages before coming to the monstrous locks at Kiel Holentau, where our journey reaches its final destination.

As with all Bessie Ellen’s sailing holidays, your ticket price includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks and Drinks. Curtained bunk berths are int he spacious shared open saloon below decks with bedding provided – you just need to bring your own towel.

Simply click “Enquire Now” to reserve your berth for five days whilst you sort your travel plans. No booking form or deposit is required until you are ready to book!


VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/p

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


  • 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 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 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: Fowey, Cornwall

To: Kiel, Germany

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