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Explore the Coast Under Sail

Coastal sailing is by far the most popular type of voyage that we offer and every vessel in the fleet has an element of coastal sailing in their programme. Ever since we founded Classic Sailing, exploring ashore has been as important to us as adventure afloat. Yes we love the occasional ocean crossing but after we have had our fill of open horizons we crave the sight of oak branches sweeping over a coastal creek or the smell of flowering gorse on a windy headland.  


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Explore The British Coast Under Sail

Our office sits on a Cornish Peninsula so close to the coast we can hear the fog horn from St Anthony's lighthouse. As local skippers we know almost every anchorage, secret cove, stone quay and wooded creek intimately like a smuggler. If you are visiting the UK, or just looking for a different way to explore your own country, then we think a sailing holiday where you live on board with a skipper as your guide is the best way to connect with our incredible coastline.

Helping sail a historic sailing ship or wooden you can relate to the everyday folk from past centuries that once fished, traded and set off to find new lands. If you want a more contemporary understanding of UK coastal communities then why not get involved in delivering small cargoes between local producers, cafes and restaurants along the coast on Sailing Lugger Grayhound.

Coastal Voyages on Historic Vessels around Britain

Rowing ashore in Grayhound's gig
Rowing ashore in Grayhound's gig

Coastal Sailing Holidays - World Wide

We have a wide range of classic boats and tall ships sailing all over the world. The skippers of these ships can show you their favourite coastlines, from a local sailors perspective. Look for the vessels that base themselves in a sailing ground for part of a season and return there year after year. They have already discovered the good walks ashore, history and wildlife of an area.

We have plenty of  coastal journeys that hop along the coast too. Your skipper and crew might not know the shore side treats of every sheltered bay, or be able to call the harbour-master by name, but most professional sailors that entertain guest crews like to talk to the locals and build relationships. At every new stop, they take the trouble to find out things you can see and do ashore.

Watching the icebergs float by in Scoresby Sound
Watching the icebergs float by in Scoresby Sound

What Sort of Coastal Sailing is Best For Me?

So what type of Classic Sailing voyage will give you the coastal adventure you are looking for? We think there are 3 types:

Coastal Wandering Voyages

  • Are you the sort of person who heads for the coast to chill out and decompress from a frenetic life? 
  • Do you want a break from tight itineraries and deadlines? 
  • Is the only ‘rush’ you want is when a good breeze pips up and everyone hurries to set more sail? 
  • Do you want to have time to wander lonely as a cloud along a shoreline, once the ship is safely anchored?
  • Prefer not to beat to windward when there is a more inviting destination you could head for on a beam reach?

We have recently coined the phrase ‘Coastal wandering voyage’ and we think this type of voyage is what you might be looking for.

It mostly applies to voyages that start and finish at the same port. The magic works particularly well in a location where the boat crew are local experts on what to see and do. It can be a short break in Suffolk or Cornwall or a week long ‘tour’ around favourite Scottish islands that are only a days sailing apart.

Read more About Coastal Wandering Voyages

Exploring un-inhabited islands in the Scillies on Agnes
Exploring un-inhabited islands in the Scillies on Agnes

Coastal Culture – Meet the locals on a Cargo Voyage

We want to change the perception that the cargo runs on Grayhound Sailing Lugger are all about crossing the channel between France and Britain. In actual fact the 90-100 mile Channel crossing can be all too brief as Grayhound skipper Marcus is rather efficient at picking the right weather window to make a fast passage. The offshore bouncy bit could be over in 10 or 12 hours. On a 7 day voyage you then have quite a bit of coastal sailing in Brittany or the West Country, with the perfect excuse stop in small ports, anchor for a swim or drop off a small cargo and meet the locals.  

In particular the voyages beginning in Douarnenez and sailing to Cornish Ports via the Isles of Scilly create a real sense of purpose and you can meet the café, restaurant, farm shop owners that have the vision to buy organic French Wine with a low carbon footprint. You can be proud that the cargo you delivered was transported by wind, tide and your physical sail handling efforts.  Many of the cargo buyers have waterfront premises like Dibble and Grub on Porth Cressa Beach in the Scillies. A cause for a celebration in every port we think.

Read more about Grayhound Cargo Voyages


Getting ready to take a cargo ashore
Getting ready to take a cargo ashore in St Marys, Isles of Scilly


Coastal Journeys Under Sail

Voyages that follow the coast and start in one port and end in another offer a real exploration journey where there are new sights around every headland. You won’t get bored on these coastal voyages as they generally intend to stop on route (unlike an ocean voyage) and there is a shared sense of purpose to get to the next new port or anchorage. It might involve night sailing or entering or leaving a port in the dark to catch a tide. There will be potentially more challenge and navigational choices to make. The ports visited may be new to the skipper so more detailed pilotage is needed. These voyages are great for intermediate sailors and those interested in voyage planning choices and navigation.

The also appeal to romantic beginners and those who feel a sailing vessel should be travelling somewhere rather than anywhere. Longer day sails or overnight passages are likely to involve watches.

Read More About Coastal Sailing Journeys

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Why book with Classic Sailing?

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