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Remote Oceanic Islands

There is something romantic about an island, but not if Richard Branson has got there first. We are not talking about the tropical islands dotted with eco lodges and bare foot cocktail waiters. We are talking uninhabited islands or those with resilient island communities with their own quirky cultures and way of surviving. The sort of anchorage where you are centre stage and welcomed for the cultural exchanges that are possible.  You don't have to sail to the ends of the earth to find a 'remote island'

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Why we love this sailing ground

We Love Remote Islands & Isolated Communities

"If you fantasise about a Robinson Crusoe experience on a desert island or just like quirky, resilient island communities then Classic Sailing is definitely the website to get you there in true explorer style." Travel writer Fiona Smythe, June 2013

Arrive with Achievement 

Your first step ashore is one of achievement, you helped get yourself there, and now you are being rewarded for your effort. It’s not like you sat in squashed up seat in a metal tube jetting through the sky and eating plastic food. This is slow travel, relaxing travel, active travel, social travel and rewarding travel all wrapped into one. When you arrive there is so much to take in, trying to understand how these places survive, how they cope with isolation and tiny communities. Stretching your legs on land again, finding the interesting places and enjoying the excitement of meeting new people.

Most years we have over 250 remote islands in our voyage itineraries but they are forever changing.

Staging Posts for Ocean Wandering Tall Ships

The trade wind routes our tall ships follow often involve big ocean crossings where any inhabited island with an anchorage is a ‘jewel’ to be cherished because you are made so welcome by the local inhabitants....

Hitching a ride with the locals on Tristan Da Cuhna
Sharon and Rosie hitching a ride with the locals on Tristan Da Cuhna. Photo Roland Gockel

World Wide Islands Include:

South Shetlands, Signy in the South Orkneys, South Georgia, Tristan da Cunha, Ascension, St Helena, Maderia, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Bahamas, Bermuda,  Azores and every year we find new ones. The Arctic gives us new islands like Jan Meyen, Bear Island and numerous islands off Arctic Norway.

Isolated Communities that welcome you. These are places you mostly can’t fly to, they get the occasional supply ship and the odd cruise ship but a tall ship really is special.

Boa Vista. Just us baby. Oosterschelde crew land
Oosterschelde crew land on Boa Vista. Just us baby.

Classic Sailing Wager:

Who can visit the most remote islands?

It started with a wager amongst friends, but it has become a bit of an obsession. Classic Sailing charter skippers Adam and Debbie versus the Merchant Navy – represented by our friend Kirsty. The competition was: Which of us could visit the most obscure, remote islands in the world?

Debbie was quite proud of her Tristan Da Cuhna passport stamp after waiting 3 days for the swell to die down enough to land in 2007. Adam counts circumnavigating the island of Cape Horn on tall ship Europa in 2010 but Kirsty now has a shiny new Master Mariner ticket so does this mean she can take unfair little de-tours on her Maersk tanker ?

Adam and Debbie have since visited Coronation Island and Signy Island in the South Orkneys. Paulet Island, Dundee Island and Devils Island on the east of the Antarctica Peninsula, and on the Western side of Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland - Astralabe Island, Decep[tion Island, Half Moon Island and Aictcho or Barrientos Islands.

Debbie has landed on Bjorn Islands in Scorsby Sund, Greenland in 2013.


'Atlas of Remote Islands' by Judith Schalansky

This beautiful and subversive little book of maps was a present from Kirsty and has revitalised our remote islands competition. On the cover it lays down the gauntlet “Fifty Islands I have never visited and never will.” Well, YOU CAN and WE HAVE...or at least about 7 of them!

Tell us about your Island Quests

If you manage to visit a remote island you think we should visit, please e mail us and we'll add you to our Classic Sailing Remote Islands Wager Page.

If you find one that looks impossible to reach by conventional travel let us know your island quest and we'll add it to our wish list. Who knows, one of our skippers might just dream up a future voyage that could  pass by your island quest.

A Sample of possible islands on current itineraries:

Cape Verde: Sao Vincente, Santo Antao, Sal, Boa Vista, Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava, Sao Nicolau.

Antarctica  Ocean Voyages & Antarctica: East and West Falklands,  South Georgia, Prion Island, Paulet Island, Astrolabe, Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands, Livingston island, Joinville island, Trinity, Deception, Greenwich Island, 

Scotland, Outer Hebrides and St Kilda :-Ailsa Craig, Sanda Is, Arran, Great Cumbrae, Bute, Inchmarnock, Cara, Gigha, Texa Islay, Jura, Colonsay, Scarba, Lunga, Eilean Dubh, Treshnish Isles, Luing, Garbh Eileach, Shuna, Kerrera, Lismore, Mull, Inch Kenneth, Ulva, Carna, Gometra, Little Colonsay, Iona, Tiree, Coll, Oronsay, Staffa, Muck, Eigg, Rum, Canna, Skye, Soay, Isay, Rona, Raasay, Crowlin Isles, Longay, Pabay, Scalpay,.....and then there are the Outer Hebrides chain -  Berneray, Mingulay, Pabbay, Sandray, Vatersay, Muldoanich, Barra, Fuiay, Flodday, Hellisay, Gighay, Fuday, Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, Ronay, Floddaymore, North Uist, Berneray, Harris, Lewis, Shiant Isles, Taransay, Great Bernera, Vacsay, Vuia Mor and way out into the Atlantic - St Kilda consists of Hirta, Soay and Boreray and the tiny Flannan Islands.

Scillies -Tresco, Bryher, St Agnes, Gugh, St Martins, Ganilly, Sampson, St Mary's

Atlantic  La Gomera, El Heiro, La Palma, Tenerife, Madeira, Santos,  St Helena, Ascension, Tristan Da Cuhna, all of the Azores, Westerman Islands off Iceland, Fair Isle, The whole Faroes, Orkney and Shetland archipelagoes

Caribbean: For those craving proper tropical islands with palm trees, check out our Caribbean destination pages

Arctic - Jan Meyen, Bear Island, all the islands in the Svalbard achipelago and Lofoten group

Destination Vessels
Europa has a reputation as an ocean Wanderer - Albatrosses in Southern Ocean; Skysails in tropics

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