Sail with expedition yacht Zuza to the UNESCO world heritage island of St Kilda off the West coast of Scotland from Mallaig to Oban.
Join expedition yacht Zuza for a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a sailing adventure to the Outer Hebrides and UNESCO world heritage site of St Kilda. Set sail with Zuza from the port of Mallaig to explore St Kilda before finishing in the port town of Oban.
Zuza endeavours to make this epic adventure every summer, and her crew have become adept at navigating the islands, discovering the most sheltered of coves and experiencing the magic and solitude of this spell-binding part of the world.
- Skippered sailing
- Private cabins
- All-inclusive meals
- Wildlife watching
- Open water sailing
- Remote island discovery
- Perfect for adventurers
Your Sailing Area
the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda
The main focus of this adventure sailing holiday is to reach the Outer Hebridean islands, perhaps stop-over in the uninhabited Shiants and as long as the weather is favourable, reach the far flung archipelago of St Kilda.
This voyage is perfect for those looking for a once in a lifetime sailing adventure with longer passages at sea. The exact itinerary and route will be entirely weather dependant with Zuza aiming to arrive onto the remote archipelago of St Kilda by the second day. In exceptional circumstances, an overnight crossing may be made directly from our home port – but this tends to be very rare. Guests are encouraged to get involved with sailing Zuza but it is not mandatory and overnight sailing participation is not expected – rather, part of the experience if guests wish to part-take.
Lying out in the Atlantic Ocean, the UNESCO world heritage site of St Kilda sits 45 miles west from the Outer Hebrides. This isolated and volcanic archipelago is shrouded in myth and legend and was once home to Britain’s most isolated community. The history of the people, its harsh inaccessibility and amazing wildlife make the islands an exceptionally desirable destination for anyone interested in natural history.
Zuza aims to spend three days on St. Kilda, exploring the main island of Hirta (with picnic lunches provided for any day walks) and viewing the other islands and stacks in the group – Dun, Soay, Stac Lee, Boreray and Stac an Armin. Walk amongst ancient ruins with the only background noise being the sound of thousands of birds nesting in the cliff faces. It’s hard to imagine that an island as remote as Hirta once provided a home to a small community.
The Outer Hebrides…
From white sandy beaches with crystal clear water to stark rocky hills patched in purple heather, the Outer islands feel untouched by humans, a place that just simply commands a connection with nature. Each day there will be time to walk ashore, climb a mountain or wander along these perfect beaches before heading back for a cosy evening on board. Your journey back will be more leisurely, with beautiful anchorage and hidden coves waiting to be discovered.
Wonderful WILDLIFE Encounters
Sightings of seabirds such as Black Guillemots can be seen in their hundreds and white-tailed eagles soar along the rugged coastline. Sailing on Zuza is often rewarded with widespread sightings of birds of prey like Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks and Peregrines and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the diminutive Merlin. The sound is magnificently overwhelming, with the call of seabird colonies, Puffins, Guillemots & Razorbills, echoing off the cliffs.
There are frequent encounters with Common, Bottlenose & Whitebeak dolphins on board these trips, and Risso & White-sided dolphins are also occasionally sighted. There are plenty of whales in this part of the world too. Our most common encounters are with Minke – Humpbacks are a less frequent visitor, while the real star of the show is the resident pod of Orca if you’re lucky enough to see them gliding through the water. So keep your eyes peeled and have your binoculars at the ready!
Please note that the wind and weather will determine your route and destination so it is never 100% guarantee that St Kilda will be reached – guests safety is paramount.
All voyages for Zuza
Guest berths: 8 Rig: Bermudan Cutter
Built in 1998, Zuza has had an interesting life on the water. After being launched in South Africa, the British Royal Geographical Society chose Zuza to be an offshore base for an international marine research project off the east coast of Africa, where her features and reliability helped to facilitate groundbreaking marine research.
This expedition yacht has a double hull and Bermudan Cutter rig, which makes her very smooth and steady on the water, and is perfect for those that want to learn more about sailing or to just sit back and enjoy the ride in the comfort of the warm and dry wheelhouse.
Zuza has an experienced crew and spends her season sailing around the inner and outer Hebrides in Scotland. With trips to St Kilda, Mull, Jura, Barra, The Small Isles and Skye, Zuza can sail to locations that are not accessible by the larger cruise boats in this area which make her perfect for sailing holidays in Scotland. Her quiet approach also stands her in good stead as to not scare off wildlife, which means she can get as close as is fair to the plethora of marine and wildlife that calls Scotland home.
She has a modern cutter rig and operates her sails with an easy and safe winch system. So if exploring hard to reach Scottish islands and wildlife watching in comfort is the sort of experience you are seeking, then Zuza is the boat for you!
Zuza accommodates eight guests with versatile living room both on and below deck. Unusually for a vessel of this size, she has two lovely private double ensuite cabins, which are often popular with guests travelling as couples. There are also another two private twin-berth cabins with bunk-bed style accommodation that share a bathroom. Alternatively, an executive double cabin with ensuite and dressing room can be made by combining the twin cabins.
Zuza’s versatile accommodation makes her a great fit for all party sizes whether you are smaller group, couple, solo traveller or are looking for a private charter. She has a comfortable saloon that is perfect for getting to know each other; trading sea-faring stories and enjoying some of the delicious food prepared by the chef. The saloon is adjacent to the well-equipped galley that serves as the chef’s workstation, and there are lots of windows throughout to make the most of long summer evenings and wildlife watching with a glass of chilled wine.
Deck planMore about Zuza
Life on board
Exploring Scotland and the Hebrides with expedition vessel Zuza is perfect for couples and solo travellers looking to discover this hard to reach destination from the water. With so many islands to explore, travelling by boat certainly takes guests to places far away from the tourist hotspots.
Sailing with Zuza requires no previous sailing experience so you can sit back and enjoy the views, however, if you wish, the crew are more than happy to show you the ropes and even give you the helm! She has a sloop rig with modern winches so is a great boat to learn the ropes on.
Sleeping, eating and relaxation
Along with the skipper and first mate, there is also an onboard chef ready to cook you locally sourced and freshly prepared meals. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all included in your ticket price and the crew will definitely indulge you after a day of sailing in the fresh sea air!
Zuza was originally built as an expedition vessel so her space below decks is well considered. She has two twin cabins and two double ensuite cabins. A generous saloon sits next to a compact galley while the navigation station and helm sit at deck level in a covered wheelhouse with 360degree windows – perfect for wildlife watching in comfort!
Wherever you sail with Zuza, be sure that the views will be breathtaking and the wildlife in abundance, so have your eyes peeled and your binoculars at the ready for a wonderful trip. With all inclusive food, private cabins and comfy social spaces, this is a sailing holiday adventure in the Hebrides not to be missed!
What’s the weather like in Scotland?!
We get asked this question quite a lot and it is not a simple answer! The geography of the islands and coastline mean that weather can be very localised, changeable and in true Scotland fashion – a little moody at times. 2023 saw a lot of sun and not much wind at the start of the season, and 2022 saw a lot of rain and great sailing winds – there is no rhyme or reason but that’s what makes exploring Scotland exciting for the adventure traveller!
The beauty of localised weather and being on a boat surrounded by islands is that the skipper can plan and chase the better weather windows, finding sheltered anchorages – this is why we don’t commit to a sailing itinerary.
Once you’ve booked, we send a recommended kit list on what to pack to suit all options although we always recommend checking the weather forecast in the week leading up to your holiday.
To give you an idea of the average temperatures…
June, July & August > HIGHS of 18°C and LOWS of 9°C
- All inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, soft/hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet) and wash towel
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and fro the boat
- Offshore sailing jackets for use in emergencies. These are not permitted to be taken off the boat
What’s not included
- Any 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.
Is there an age limit?
8+ years but 8-18yrs please check with the office as it can vary from voyage to voyage.
Can you cater for dietary needs?
Meat eaters and vegetarians only. It's a small galley!
Can I charge my phone and camera?
Yes we have charging outlets onboard - although mobile signal can be intermittent.
What should a pack?
A mix of warm and light clothes with a good pair of walking boots for exploring. See our kit list in your joining pack information.
Do I need to tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew!
What language is spoken on board?
Will I get bitten by midges?
The summer in Scotland brings midges which mostly are not a problem for guests as we anchor offshore far enough away for them not to bother us. We recommend you bring SMIDGE repellant just in case.
Are bedding and towels provided?
Yes - but please bring an extra swimming towel if you wish to go in the water.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently on a boat. Zuza has a double hull so is very steady and smooth to sail - which helps with the motion of the boat. We recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
Zuza has 2 double ensuite bed cabins and 2 twin bunk cabins. The two twin bunk cabins can be turned into an extra large double ensuite cabin too.
How many toilets/showers does she have?
An ensuite with each double cabin and a shared bathroom for the twin cabins.
Are all meals included?
Yes, all meals are included in the price unless you go ashore.(Breakfast, lunch, dinner, soft/hot drinks) Alcohol is not included.
Are life jackets provided?
Are there waterproofs available?
Yes, Zuza does have some aboard, but please bring your own if you can.
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
Mallaig offers limited long stay parking in a car park to the left on the Train Station as you drive into Mallaig. Alternatively try another long stay spot at 24 East Bay, Mallaig.
You can travel by rail overnight on the Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston to Fort William. Once in Fort William you can take The Jacobite Steam Train or the electric train direct to Mallaig. Mallaig station is then only a 5-10 minute walk to the harbour pontoons.
Glasgow or Edinburgh Airport are best placed for access to Mallaig. From either of them take a train onto For William and then onto Mallaig which takes approximately 2-3hours. There are good links direct from the airport to the train and bus terminals for onward travel to Fort William.
STAY IN MALLAIG:
There are plenty of places to stay in Mallaig. Try Chlachain Inn, Seaview Guesthouse or West Highland Hotel.
Oban station is a 5-10 minute walk from North Pier. Trains run 6 times a day to Glasgow Queen Street Station where there are good travel links to the rest of the UK and back to Mallaig if you’ve left your car there!
Glasgow and Edinburgh Airport both require taking a train from Oban which takes approximately 2-3hours. Flights go direct to Stansted Airport.
STAY IN OBAN:
There are plenty of places to stay in Oban. Try Witchwood House, The Scot or Perle Hotels Oban.