Skip to main content

Company Ethos- What We Believe In

What Rocks Our Boat

"Professional sailors and guest crew working together as a ships company. Sharing adventures afloat and exploring amazing places ashore. This is our passion; This is what we do." Co-founder Debbie Purser

Traditionally rigged sailing ships

For us a real sailing boat or sailing ship is one which makes your heart skip a beat as it comes around a headland, or makes a commercial fisherman look up from his nets and smile as you sail past. If you love boats with bowsprits, sails set with blocks and tackles, or tall ship rigging you can climb, then Classic Sailing is the holiday company for you. It is easy to fall in love with our sailing vessels...

Europa on an ocean passage to Brazil
Photo by Jordi Plana

'Hands on' Sailing - You are the Crew

'Hands On' sailing is at the core of all our sailing holidays, but it really is suitable for all ages. Once trained by our professional crews, we encourage guest crew to participate as fully as they can within the limits of their ability. You become the crew on brigs, brigantines, barques, schooners, pilot cutters, trading ships, luggers, or dashing privateers.

This ships are built to share. Hands on Sailing Adventures
This ships are built to share.

Adventure Afloat; Explore Ashore

Exploring ashore is as important to us as the sailing. We choose locations more for their wildlife, natural scenery and idyllic anchorages, rather than facilities ashore. On a traditional boat you work hard to reach your destination, and we don't like to disappoint you at the end of your sea journey. An anchorage for the night is about shelter and safety, but our skippers try to chose magical places that inspire you to explore ashore:  Be the first to make footprints in the sand on an Outer Hebrides beach, sail silently under Norwegian cliffs, dance with the locals in Fiji,  climb a volcano in Cape Verde or hug an oak tree in Cornwall.

Caribbean landing by rowing gig on Grayhound
Caribbean landing by rowing gig on Grayhound

Back to Fundamentals

Our voyages bring you back to the fundamentals. Life is simplified. Spending a few days on a boat brings out the best in human nature. Living and working together we talk a lot, laugh a lot, and put the world to rights. It is more than an escape from the complexity of life ashore; the fresh air, natural adrenalin and outdoor activity give your body a good physical detox too.

Reasons why sailing is good for you - seperate article

five nights aboard is tiring but in a healthy way. On our last night together we compared blisters, sore muscles and tended our salt-burnt lips, but all with heroic pride. It was a glowing achieved-something feeling" Nikki V, Cornwall Today magazine.

West Country trading ketch in the Hebrides
You can steer an original trading ketch in the Hebrides


We have never aimed our voyages purely at sailors. That would be 'preaching to the converted'
Who We Are
Classic Sailing flagship Eve of St Mawes
The pilot cutter that launched Classic Sailing - Eve of St Mawes

Classic Sailing was founded in 1996 by Adam and Debbie Purser with the launch of a newly built pilot cutter we named 'Eve of St Mawes'.

Our company ethos was developed  initially through the themed holidays we created for 'Eve' in Cornwall. Adam and Debbie took turns at skippering Eve and running Classic Sailing office. This hard working little pilot cutter ran about 40 voyages a year for 20 years, until she retired from chartering in 2016. Our own well loved 'flagship' was fully booked most seasons, so we started to look for additional traditional charter vessels that were offering something special. Since then we have extended the concept of 'hands on' adventures to a wide range of traditional craft and tall ships around the world.

The fleet we offer today share the Classic Sailing ethos but are independently owned. Each has its own distinctive style of adventure sailing. Your skipper is often the business and vessel owner, so they make a very dedicated host. He or she will be your expert local guide on the history of his or her vessel, the wildlife you see, and the culture of the communities you meet.

Adam and Debbie, thanks for the pleasure of seeing you both in your natural element. You are that rare breed of people that are doing the thing they thoroughly enjoy." Bob T. Derbyshire.


Who Comes?

Solo Travellers who enjoy company

Most of our sailors come as individuals and we welcome couples and groups of friends too. Some are used to solo travelling, while others are taking the plunge for the first time. Sailing is not for everyone and we often have ‘half a couple’, whilst the other half does their own thing. What most would-be sailors have in common is that they are sociable and happy to meet new people.

The boats will always try to ensure that solo sailors sharing the same cabin are the same sex. Europa unfortunately does not allow solo sailor to book their two berth cabins but all other boats do.  If you wish to have sole occupancy of a cabin on any of our voyages a single occupancy charge will apply, this depends on which boat you wish to sail on. 


"By Saturday it was hard to believe some of us had only met on Friday" Mark Coates.

Escapists and Explorers

We choose sailing locations more for their wildlife, natural scenery and idyllic anchorages, than facilities ashore. Our skippers will awake the natural explorer in you. Be the first to row ashore and make footprints in the sand, sail silently under towering Norwegian cliffs, or enjoy crossing the last unspoilt wilderness – the open sea. We are not complete purists though. We do find the pub eventually !

"What a grand way to spend a Monday morning" 007 actor Pierce Brosnan. Secret Eve day sailor

tall ship crew ashore on South Georgia with millions of penguins at St Andrews Bay
tall ship crew ashore on South Georgia with millions of penguins at St Andrews Bay

Romantic Souls

All walks of life make up our motley crews; Craftsmen who love wooden boats, Patrick O’Brien readers escaping their armchair, musicians and artists looking for inspiration, climbers that feel at home on the top gallant yard, those of us forced to work indoors with restless souls that respond to the ‘gulls cry’…

Aloft on a wooden beauty - Agnes Pilot Cutter
Aloft on a wooden beauty - Agnes Pilot Cutter

New Challenges & Sea Changes

A Classic Sailing gift voucher can nudge a friend back into sailing after years ashore or help celebrate a major event. Learning to sail could be a new year’s resolution. A surprising number of people run away to sea to re-appraise their lives ( it worked for us ! ). Others have become friends and ‘recharge their batteries’ with us several times a year.

Valid for 3 years. Easy to buy on line. Plenty of voyages in £100 to £300 range to use a voucher on

What others say about us


Facebook reviews

"A life changing experience with talented crew who gave us hope for mankind ...and biscuits"

Customer comments

Read what the press say about our holidays

Magazine articles


Why book with Classic Sailing?

The call of the sea

Destinations for sailors & explorers

Over 300 voyages a year

11, 051 customers introduced to

traditional boats and tall ships.

Tell us your sailing dreams


Office Team of 4 Skippers

6 Times Around the World between Us

Selling Holidays for 22 Years

3 Dogs to make us laugh

Contact Us

How to Book

Voyage Applications Online 24 /7

How to book a voyage

Terms & Conditions   Travel Insurance

Office open Mon - Fri, 9 - 5

Frequently Asked Questions