« All Voyages Flying Dutchman's Schedule »

Sailing the Islay Whisky Festival

  • Vessel: Flying Dutchman
  • Where: Oban, Scotland
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Embark: Oban - 26 May 2023, 18:00
  • Disembark: Oban - 4 June 2023, 10:00
Single berth in Twin Cabin Ensuite£1,495.00 £373.75
Twin Cabin Ensuite (single occupancy)£2,220.00 £555.00
Single berth in Twin Plus Ensuite Cabin£1,635.00 £408.75

Sail with traditional tall ship the Flying Dutchman as she takes guests to experience the annual Islay Whisky Festival.

Join tall ship the Flying Dutchman in the Scottish harbour town of Oban on the West Coast of Scotland. This adventure sailing holiday in the inner Hebrides will focus on sailing and exploring the Islay Whisky Festival and neighbouring island of Jura.

  • Fully crewed tall ship
  • Traditional sailing
  • Private cabins
  • Whisky distilleries
  • Half-board


Hebrides, Scotland

Celebrate the annual Scottish Islay Whiskey Festival with a nine day sailing adventure with the Flying Dutchman. This voyage is the perfect balance of Whiskey distillery tasting, touring and traditional tall-ship sailing – a proper pirate adventure! Islay is a small remote island, South of Oban on the West coast of Scotland. Famous for boasting an impressive nine whiskey distilleries, their annual Whisky Festival attracts travellers from all over the world and is certainly best explored and experienced under sail. Access to the distilleries across the islands is difficult, but from the water, purpose boat pontoons have been made by the waterfront of the majority of the distilleries.

The remoteness of Islay consists of landscapes exposed to the elements: wind, rain and sea water of the Atlantic Ocean providing the perfect ingredients and environments for beautiful whisky. The peat is burned to mash the barley and gives the single malt a salty seaweed flavour.


Hop aboard the Flying Dutchman at 6pm and after an introduction to the crew, dinner will be served at 7pm where you can get to know your fellow guests. (If you are arriving into Oban earlier, just let the boat know and you can drop your luggage off and spend some time exploring.) The route will be entirely dependant on the wind direction so there is no fixed itinerary.

Set the sails for the island of Islay and enjoy a hearty breakfast underway. Pas the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool dividing the water between Jura and Islay – a spectacular sight. Our first stop will be Port Ellen where we will moor up and take the bus to Bruichladdich where everyone can enjoy all the activities and tastings of the excellent whiskeys.

Spend the next couple of days exploring all that Islay has to offer both from the water and amongst the Whisky Festival activities ashore. Visit the Caol Ila distillery before sailing around to the Laphroaig Distillery. Read more from the Festival Programme here. Set the sails for the famous Bowmore Distillery open day where there is also a small music festival to enjoy before heading to the island of Jura.

The island of Jura is a paradise of pristine wilderness and natural beauty. The name Jura comes from Norwegian and means ‘Deer Island’, still an appropriate name because some 5,500 deer exceed the human population of 180. Wild nature lovers can find more than 100 species of birds, including rock eagles, goats, seals, rabbits, hares, reindeer and otters. 

After a beautiful experience on the Isle of Jura, it is time to visit the beautiful distillery of Bunnahabhain on Islay. At the end of the day we sail to Ardbeg and anchor in front the Distillery. It’s a great opportunity to have a whiskey tasting on board after a good meal.

Life onboard

One of traditional sailing, sea-faring tales and breath-taking destinations, sailing with the Flying Dutchman is a far cry from its ancestral name. Although a traditionally rigged vessel with an authentic wooden boat feel throughout, the Flying Dutchman has been fitted as a charter vessel to a high, modern standard – providing guests with an authentic sailing experience while ensuring comfort and mod-cons are not forgotten. With private twin en-suite cabins, large communal spaces both above and below decks and an onboard chef for hearty home-cooked meals after a day of good sailing – sailing with the Flying Dutchman is an experience you won’t forget!

Enjoy a balance of traditional sailing harnessing the power of the wind to spending time exploring ashore in hard to reach locations away from the tourist hustle and bustle. The half board nature of the Flying Dutchman means that guests are able to enjoy the cuisine and fresh produce of the local area.

Read more about what to expect from life on board the Flying Dutchman.

Flying Dutchman

Guest berths: 24 Rig: Schooner

Built in 1903, the Flying Dutchman has been recently re-fitted to a high standard for comfortable sailing holidays in Scotland. There is a huge 480m² sail area to propel you through the water and on the Flying Dutchman you will have the option to participate in helping the different sails up and getting to know all the different crafts. You will be guided by an experienced crew to help you with all the different crafts on the ship. If you want to steer the ship, do not hesitate to ask the captain.

The main saloon is a generous space with plenty of portholes providing comfortable area with lots of natural light. A combination of sofas and tables make it a great communal area to get to know your fellow guests and enjoy meals inside. There is also a well-stocked bar within the saloon area too. Below decks, there are ten ensuite cabins for guests with bunk beds, all with heating and air-conditioning depending on where you are in the world.

The rear deck is layered with wood, which emphasises the traditional atmosphere of the ship. On the main deck there are 3 different tables and couches to sit on, this area is covered to protect the guests from the rain. This offers the opportunity to stay outside and eat your dinner under the stars.

Deck plan

Flying Dutchman deck plan More about Flying Dutchman


  • Are all meals included?

    Yes - all meals are included in the price (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Hot Drinks) Please note that alcohol/soft drinks are not included. There is an honesty bar onboard.

  • Are there any added extra's?

    No, unless you go ashore. Excursions are not included.

  • Can you cater for dietary needs?

    Vegetarians only.

  • What language is spoken onboard?


  • What are the sleeping arrangements?

    10x double ensuite cabins and 1x four berth ensuite cabin

  • How many toilet/showers does she have?


  • Is there WIFI?

    No, but you should easily be able to reach 3G/4G from the shore.

  • Can I charge my phone/Camera?


  • Are there life jackets provided?


  • Are Waterproofs provided?


  • Do I need sailing experience?

    No, absolutely not! Just a lust for adventure.

  • Will I be sea sick?

    Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure.

  • Is bedding included?

    All bedding and wash towels are included. Please bring a swimming towel if you wish to swim ashore.


From: Oban

To: Oban

Buckie is very close to Airport Inverness. There will a free minibus from Inverness airport to take people to the boat in Buckie.

To get from Oban, the bus is the best means of transport, whether you’re flying from Edinburgh or Glasgow (15 minutes difference). From both airports there is a transfer bus every 30 minutes to Buchanan (Glasgow) Bus Station, from where the bus to Oban departs.
For more information: Citylink.co.uk
If you wish to travel by train, first take the bus to Glasgow. Then you can take the train from Glasgow: Scotrail.com

Klm flies to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
EasyJet flies to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.
Flybe flies to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.
Ryanair flies alone to Edinburgh.

Latest from our journal

Zorba full sails Greece
30 June 2022

Our Top Five Family Friendly Sailing Holidays

Read more
Richard Collett on Grayhound
9 June 2022

Life on a Cornish Lugger - Sailing in the foosteps of Smugglers

Read more
Zorba greece Saronic island sailing
30 May 2022

Why should you choose a skippered sailing holiday charter in Greece?

Read more
Falmouth Classics Parade of sail
14 May 2022

Why you should join us for the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival!

Read more