A granite archipelago where the boundary between the land and sea is re-drawn with every tide. The Isles of Scilly are part of Cornwall, but have an island culture and climate shaped by Atlantic Ocean and warm Gulf stream that flows past the islands. The islands and reefs are separated by deep blue channels slowly reconnect as glittering white beaches emerge with the falling tide. The rippled seabed exposed reveals starfish where we once sailed with hand bearing compass held tight.
|Vessel||Start Date||End Date||Start Port||End Port||Price|
|Grayhound||Douarnenez, Brittany||Plymouth, UK||From £ 720 GBP|
|Agnes||Falmouth, Cornwall||Falmouth, Cornwall||From £ 850 GBP|
Explore the Isles of Scilly Under Sail
We have a select collection of traditionally rigged sailing vessels visiting the Isles of Scilly. They navigate safely between the myriad of rocks and along the channels. You will able to island hop, beachcomb, wildlife watch, snorkel in crystal clear seas and chill out amongst the sea pinks.
At the end of the day you can watch the ocean sunset from wooden decks or enjoy the camaraderie of fellow travellers as you plan the next day’s adventure.
Interesting Tidal Navigation & Offshore Passage
You could just participate in the steering and sail handling and let the professional crew take you to the Scillies, but there is plenty to learn to if you want more involvement. A voyage to the Scillies has everything a keen sailor could want in terms of gaining more experience in offshore watch-keeping, identifying landfalls and traditional pilotage. If you already have a RYA day skipper then this is a great trip to see tidal curves, transits and clearing bearings in action in a more advanced context.
The passage from St Mawes or Falmouth, around the Lizard, past the lonely sentinel of Wolf Rock and way out west beyond Lands End, can be challenging or totally benign. The passage from Falmouth to the Scillies is over 60 miles and usually means an early start and a long day. If you start from Newlyn the distance is shorter but you still have 35 miles of offshore sailing with big ships passing Lands End, fast tides, and long ocean swell, so it still feels pretty 'out there.' The Atlantic Ocean frequently rewards you with sightings of dolphins, pilot whales, sunfish and basking sharks. The islands reveal themselves in tantalising stages as each island becomes distinctive on the horizon.
Seals play in the swirling kelp forests, flowers flourish in walled fields and the locals go about their daily business by boat. This is a paradise governed by the wind, waves and tide. Exploring the islands offers an intensive lesson in practical seamanship and navigation for adventurous beginners and experienced sailors alike.
Beach Combing & boats - a way of life
Once nestled in an anchorage, our landing stage is usually a beach so bare feet and sandals are the order of the day. The pace of life is so relaxed it can take a few days to adjust to this small scale world. At first our crews stride out to circumnavigate an island, but after a few hours you will be happy beach combing, sketching or snoozing amongst the sea pinks. With over a dozen anchorages in the archipelago to choose from and the ever changing Atlantic Ocean all around, no Scillies trip is ever the same.
The Scillies boatmen ferry locals, tourists and supplies by boat between the main inhabited islands of St Mary's, Tresco, Bryher, St Martins and St Agnes. Daily lives are dependant on the tides and winds. Shipwreck cargoes over the centuries ocean flotsam has provides a motive for beach combing.
Island economy based on the Pilot Trade for 100 years
The pilot trade was a major industry for 100 years on the islands so they extend a warm welcome to pilot cutters like Agnes. Our former charter vessel Eve of St Mawes was another pilot cutter that explored the Isles of Scilly with guest crew every summer for 20 years.
Whilst there are no wooden pilot cutters permanently based in the Isles of Scilly now, each island has its own pilot gig boats and the racing each week is very competitive. Often at anchor we salute a hard working gig crew with an evening wine glass -as they power past us with 13ft oars.
"Wouldn't it be cool to live on a boat mum ?"
For many families the Isles of Scilly are the perfect escape. Islands without cars, white sand beaches, a climate generally better than the mainland, crags to climb and crabs to catch. As you are on the classic Sailing website we are guessing you are looking for something a littel bit different from a holiday cottage ashore? How about a three masted lugger with 8 cannon? You don't need any sailing experience to book a Scillies voyage on Grayhound. Her owners have a young son themselves and they have created the ultimate family holiday: You can live aboard Grayhound with all the cooking provided, island hopping so you can enjoy a different sunset each night, beach BBQS, and young professional crew with a creative supply of outdoor activities to keep all ages of kids and teenagers busy
Wrecks Galore - Not a Place to be in a Storm
We have a good record of getting to the Scillies, but it is not always possible. There are no harbours or anchorages in the Scilly completely safe from all wind directions, so if there is bad weather forecast or heavy swell, the skipper may have to seek more sheltered sailing grounds. That might mean Mounts Bay or East of the Lizard, but the skippers will always endeavour to give you a holiday as close in spirit to a Scillies type adventure as they can
Where do we go in the Scillies ? Some of our anchorages are well known. Others, we would rather not tell too many people.