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Santa Maria Manuela - Azores Programme 2019

Santa Maria Manuela in port in the Azores with volcanic peak

The Azores Archipelago of 9 islands are part of Portugal, so exploring it on a four masted schooner that is registered in the Azores makes perfect sense, and it is a great way to meet the local Azoreans. 

Santa Maria Manuela is a familiar sight amongst the islands, both for her charter voyages and as a floating diving and research base for the Oceano Azul Foundation expedition with National Geographic Pristine Seas Project in 2018.  She is offering a range of voyages sailing to and from the Azores, as well as island hopping voyages based in the island and specialist diving holidays where you can dive on some of the best dive sites identified by her oceanographic underwater research and film work.

Whilst Santa Maria Manuela crew included qualified Dive master's and have considerable local knowledge of the underwater Azores, Classic Sailing have not offered diving voyage before. We are not sure whether to promote them as the amounts of sailing between dive sites could be minimal. Please let us know if this type of diving only holiday appeals and we will add them to our website.

Azores crater lake

Mini Ocean Passage to the Azores

You can sail to the Azores on a mini ocean passage from Portugal. Launched in 1937 as a Portuguese cod fishing vessel for Greenland and Newfoundland waters, the renovated Santa Maria Manuela today is amongst one of the more comfortable tall ships on the water. All are welcomed aboard as members of the sailing crew and given every opportunity get personally involved in the sailing of the ship. No previous sailing experience is required to enjoy a voyage aboard the Santa Maria Manuela, just a spirit of adventure.

At 350 miles from Lisbon to Ponta Delgada (check), this is an ocean passage that is not too long and on a ship as large as Manuela it would be a a good introduction to ocean sailing if you are a novice or fairly new to sailing.  The voyage is over 8 days, so sailing continuously you could be there after 2 days and 2 nights, and have time to explore the islands. Obviously it depends on the winds and waves, as sailing ships cannot always go in a direct line.

The Azores in sight on Portuguese flagship Santa Maria Manuela
The Azores in sight

Island Hopping in the Azores

In 2016, National Geographic Traveler elected the Azorean archipelago the most beautiful place in the world. All different, all equally beautiful, this voyage gives us the option to visit Terceira, Graciosa, São Miguel and Faial. Trainee guests are invited to get involved in all aspects of the life of the ship as we sail between the islands, with plenty of time to explore their hilly slopes, local culture and food. If you live in the UK, the Azores is under 4 hours flight from several airports

Highlights include:

  • Spotting whales in St Jorge Channel
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage City of Angra do Heroísmo
  • Visit the extinct volcano Algar do Carvão and swim in the natural lava pools of Biscoitos
  • Discover local food and wine
SUP in the Azores with schooner Santa Maria Manuela
SUP in the Azores with schooner Santa Maria Manuela. Go for it Nigel.

Diving Holidays on Santa Maria Manuela

These are aimed at divers only. The diving has great dive leaders that can show you some of the best dive sites found by the National Geographic Pristine Seas expeditions. The sailing opportunities are likely to be limited, but as long as you realise this is a dive holiday on a fantastic mother ship, and not a hands on sailing holiday then we can take your booking.

Please ring us directly for dates and prices on 01872 580022 or email us at

If you are a diver who also wants to sail then there can be opportunities to dive at the start or end of an island hopping voyage in the Azores, but this would be using a local dive school. 

Underwater adventures with Santa Maria Manuela
Underwater adventures with Santa Maria Manuela

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