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Crossing and whale watching in the Bay of Biscay

  • Vessel: Bessie Ellen
  • Where: Galicia Spain
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Embark: Vigo - 22 August 2020, 15:00
  • Disembark: Newlyn - 31 August 2020, 10:00
£1,280 ( Deposit: £320 )
Enquire now
Single berth£1,280 £320

Sail with Bessie Ellen from Vigo on the Galician coast on her journey home to Cornwall for 10 days of exhilarating sailing.

Begin your sailing holiday in the traditional fishing port of Vigo, still home to Europe’s largest fishing fleet! An industrious port on the one hand but a traditionally and culturally Spanish on the other. Wander the old city walls and soak up the historic Spanish architecture, old tavernas and traditional tapas bars before you board Bessie Ellen.

As you sail out of the Vigo estuary, you may stop and explore the beautiful Iles Cies. An archipelago situated in the mouth of the River Vigo and now a designated National Park teeming with birdlife. Anchor in its picturesque sheltered coves and swim in its glistening clear waters to the stretches of sandy white beaches. Follow the walking trails as they meander higher amongst the trees before reaching Mount Faro – a fabulous point offering spectacular panoramic views.

Continuing up the Northwesterly Galician coast, the sailing will mostly be made by day, however, there may be an opportunity for an overnight sail up the coast. As you make your way up, there will be opportunities to explore stunning locations such as Muros. A seafront town lined with ancient granite-paved streets, traditional Spanish markets and bustling taverns. La Coruña is a town rich in history and still closely connected with its fishing and trading port history. The peninsula on which the historic part of town is situated, is home to an interesting Romanesque road network with squares and medieval churches as well as the Hercules Tower, the oldest lighthouse in the world.

From La Coruña begin your journey sailing across the Bay of Biscay towards the French coast. Become part of Bessie Ellen’s voyage crew, standing watches, reefing sails and taking part in navigating and all other aspects of life on a wooden vessel as she journeys across. This is an ideal opportunity for mile building towards yacht master accreditation.

Crossing Biscay hosts some spectacular wildlife watching opportunities with sightings of pods of Fin and Minke whales and of course hundreds of Atlantic common Dolphin. Last year the record of 14 fin whales were seen in one day just to the west of the continental shelf. Many years ago a false killer whale played in the wake in around the same region.

Your return destination will see you on the Cornish coast – Bessie Ellen’s true home. Port in the quaint fishing village of Newlyn, a picture perfect way to end a sailing holiday on a classic tallship!

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.

All food and soft drinks are included in your ticket price.


VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/p
Crossing and whale watching in the Bay of Biscay22 August 202010£1,280Enquire now

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


  • 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

  • Are meals included?

    Yes - and we pride ourselves on the quality of food served!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


From: Vigo

To: Newlyn