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Feis Ile Music's, Malts and Explore the Hebrides

If you're a whisky connoisseur you won't want to miss this one!  The Feis Ile celebration happens every year on Islay and is a festival of whisky and music.  You can expect the distilleries to be laying on some fabulous tours and the pubs providing the evening entertainment.  To add to the excitement, you'll be having your very own private whisky tasting of some very exclusive malts hosted by The Whisky Lounge on the deck of Irene.

Embark
Fri, 24-05-2019 - 17:00
Oban
Disembark
Fri, 31-05-2019 - 10:00
Oban
Duration
7 Nights
Vessel
Irene
Voyage No.
IR240519

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 2 Berth Ensuite Cabin Per Person. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 1,215 GBP. BOOK NOW

Irene - Feis Ile Music's, Malts and Explore the Hebrides

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR...

If you're a whisky connoisseur you won't want to miss this one!  The Feis Ile celebration happens every year on Islay and is a festival of whisky and music.  You can expect the distilleries to be laying on some fabulous tours and the pubs providing the evening entertainment.  To add to the excitement, you'll be having your very own private whisky tasting of some very exclusive malts hosted by The Whisky Lounge on the deck of Irene. 

Of course, you cannot forget the beauty of these sailing grounds and there will be plenty of opportunity to exlpore the isles of Islay and Jura, as well as some of the stunning scenery south of Oban. 

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Fantastic sailing grounds in the Hebrides
  • Whisky Tasting onboard
  • Join the Feis Ile Music and Malt's Festival
  • Explore the Whisky Isles under Sail
  • Wonderful Food Included by On board Chef
  • Spectacular Scenery and Wildlife
  • Comfortable and Spacious 2 Berth Cabins with Ensuite
  • Luxury Double Cabin Available
Irene Trading Ketch

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

This voyage will follow a slightly different itinerary to include the fabulous Feis Ile Whisky and Music Festival on Islay. A time when the island gets together to celebrate the history and culture around it’s most famous export – Scotch Whisky.  For the connoisseur of the amber nectar, this is one not to be missed. You will be spending your time in Port Ellen and off the distillery in Buichladdich. There will be some tastings of some very special malts onboard and plenty of time for a distillery tour or two! All of the Islay Distilleries lay on very special events, with live music in many of the pubs each evening too. This voyage price includes the tasting events and a distillery tour of Buichladdich.
 

Irene at Anchor

After a spot of breakfast, the next day sees you sailing down the remainder of the Sound of Jura and passing Gigha island before arriving at Port Ellen on Islay.  The wildlife can be elusive but if you keep your eyes peeled, whales dolphins, porpoises and even white-tailed sea eagles may be spotted. 

Port Ellen

The wonderful little town of Port Ellen is well worth exploring and if whisky is your thing, a visit to one of the local distilleries is a must.  With several to choose from, you'll be spoilt for choice.  Alternatively, remain on board and enjoy the hospitality of the crew.

For many guests, Port Ellen is their first acquaintance with the Isle of Islay.  The first view of Islay appears on the horizon when the Isle of Gigha is passed on the port side.  Then the first of the three southern whisky distilleries become visible on the east coast of Islay, this is Ardbeg. A few moments later Lagavulin appears on Islay's coast and Laphroaig is visible after the Isle of Texa has been passed.  As we enter the harbour, we'll make a turn to starboard and to the left the Oa peninsula rises from the sea with its impressive cliffs up to 200 metres near the American Monument and the Mull of Oa. This monument commemorates the shipwreck of the troopship 'Tuscania' and the 266 WW1 American servicemen who lost their lives when the ship was torpedoed in February, 1918. Also on the left the beautiful Port Ellen lighthouse appears. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1832 by Walter Frederick Campbell in loving memory of Lady Eleanor Campbell. 

The Isle of Jura is one of Scotland’s last true wildernesses with the people being outnumbered by the deer seventeen times over!  Craighouse itself is a small village with limited facilities.  This is part of its charm.  A relaxed pace, stunning scenery and an abundance of wildlife means a walk off the ship is a treat in its own right.  Sea otters and eagles have been seen in the harbour so make sure you keep your eyes peeled.

Whisky barrell

WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

Where you sail and which islands you visit will always depend on the wind and weather at the time. Whichever way the wind blows, you are sure to visit some fantastic island, experience superb sailing, expert sailing guidance and hospitality. 

HANDS ON HOLIDAYS

Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.

SAILING STYLE & LIFE ON BOARD

We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.

AGILITY & FITNESS

Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance
  • Waterproofs
  • Whisky Tasting

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Towels
  • Personal Travel Insurance

 

 

Oban, Scotland

Latest port updates

For joining your vessel in Oban, the North Pier in the map shown below will be the best place to meet the crew. Your vessel will either be tied up alongside the wall, or out at anchor. Make sure you take a note of the ship's number found in your confirmation in case of any problems on the day. 

How to get here

Getting to Oban

By Train
ScotRail has trains for Oban that also leave from Buchanan Street Station.

By Road:

Head up the A82 from Glasgow and keep going all the way past Loch Lomond. When you get to Tyndrum turn to port (left) onto the A85 for Oban. Find the North Quay and then further into Town and near Tesco you will find secure parking at Oban Car Hire which does have to be paid for. Please call 01631 566476 for opening times and charges.

Other Parking Options:

Since 2018 there is now no long stay Council Parking or free car parking. Please let us know if you find anywhere that might be suitable for sailors on an Oban to Oban voyage

There are private secure car parks for a fee.

For larger vehicles like motor homes, the Visitor Centre suggests contacting the following companies for parking:

Stoddards Campsite - offers parking

Hazel Bank Motors (otherwise known as Oban Car Hire) - offers car parking  www.obancarhire.co.uk

McQueen's Self Storage - offers car parking

By Coach

CityLink offer connections from Glasgow Buchanan Street train and Bus Station and Glasgow Airport.

 

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Oban has been described as one of the most scenic travel destinations. The sheltered port of Oban (“little bay” in Gaelic) is surrounded by views of earth, sea and sky, which have enthralled artists, authors, composers, and poets for centuries.

Known as the gateway to Argyll and the Western Isles, Oban is the perfect origin for your own journey to discover the enchantment of the west coast of Scotland. Oban has always been known as the traveller’s rest. As a small town with a resident population of 8,500 this unofficial capital of the West Highlands often swells with large numbers of visitors.

Oban is renowned for its glorious gardens, its fabulous views, the ocean promenade, islands all around, ancient monuments and castles, and outdoor activities such as diving, hiking, fishing, bird-watching – even whale spotting - especially from pilot cutters and tall ships. Queen Victoria visited the town and gave it the royal seal of approval when she described it as "one of the finest spots we have seen".

Accommodation
There are lots of places to stay in Oban, The Official Oban Tourist Office has the best local directory.

Oban, Scotland

Latest port updates

For joining your vessel in Oban, the North Pier in the map shown below will be the best place to meet the crew. Your vessel will either be tied up alongside the wall, or out at anchor. Make sure you take a note of the ship's number found in your confirmation in case of any problems on the day. 

How to get here

Getting to Oban

By Train
ScotRail has trains for Oban that also leave from Buchanan Street Station.

By Road:

Head up the A82 from Glasgow and keep going all the way past Loch Lomond. When you get to Tyndrum turn to port (left) onto the A85 for Oban. Find the North Quay and then further into Town and near Tesco you will find secure parking at Oban Car Hire which does have to be paid for. Please call 01631 566476 for opening times and charges.

Other Parking Options:

Since 2018 there is now no long stay Council Parking or free car parking. Please let us know if you find anywhere that might be suitable for sailors on an Oban to Oban voyage

There are private secure car parks for a fee.

For larger vehicles like motor homes, the Visitor Centre suggests contacting the following companies for parking:

Stoddards Campsite - offers parking

Hazel Bank Motors (otherwise known as Oban Car Hire) - offers car parking  www.obancarhire.co.uk

McQueen's Self Storage - offers car parking

By Coach

CityLink offer connections from Glasgow Buchanan Street train and Bus Station and Glasgow Airport.

 

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Oban has been described as one of the most scenic travel destinations. The sheltered port of Oban (“little bay” in Gaelic) is surrounded by views of earth, sea and sky, which have enthralled artists, authors, composers, and poets for centuries.

Known as the gateway to Argyll and the Western Isles, Oban is the perfect origin for your own journey to discover the enchantment of the west coast of Scotland. Oban has always been known as the traveller’s rest. As a small town with a resident population of 8,500 this unofficial capital of the West Highlands often swells with large numbers of visitors.

Oban is renowned for its glorious gardens, its fabulous views, the ocean promenade, islands all around, ancient monuments and castles, and outdoor activities such as diving, hiking, fishing, bird-watching – even whale spotting - especially from pilot cutters and tall ships. Queen Victoria visited the town and gave it the royal seal of approval when she described it as "one of the finest spots we have seen".

Accommodation
There are lots of places to stay in Oban, The Official Oban Tourist Office has the best local directory.

Irene

If you want to sail a wooden beauty and an iconic example of Britain's rich maritime history then Irene of Bridgewater is the real thing. Built in 1907 to carry cargoes under sail, Irene is one of the last West Country trading ketches surviving and a fine seagoing ship. She has proved herself by crossing the Atlantic several times, featured in numerous movies, entertained the rich and famous in the Caribbean and spent decades as a popular charter vessel. In 2012 Irene carried fair trade cargoes to Brazil and her working role keeps evolving, giving her adventure holidays a modern twist with an excellent reputation for good hospitality.

AWARDS  Irene voted 'National Historic Ships Flagship of the Year in 2015' 

Statistics

 

  • Length overall: 124 ft 
  • Length on deck: 85 ft 

 

  • Year built: 1907
  • Vessel type/rig: Two masted ketch 

 

  • Guest berths: 10
  • Crew berths: 5

 

The Experts View: What Irene Does Best 

Irene of Bridgewater under full sail

Relaxed Exploration or Multi Activity Adventure

You can chose between an Irene voyage where you explore at a more relaxed pace , or a journey making passage or multi activity holiday where a higher level of teamwork and hands on sailing is required. Irene is a perfectly self sufficient expedition ship allowing you go from anchorage to anchorage in locations close to nature. There are even multi activity voyages with sailing and kayaking.

Romance of the Sea - Cabins Perfect for Couples

Classic Sailing provides a huge range of options for solo travellers which is very much part of our ethos.  Irene welcomes individual bookings but she also offers a great holiday option for couples.  The ships accommodation comprises of 5 twin/double cabins with a private en suite toilet and shower room.  Each cabin has a double bed as a lower berth and an upper bunk berth. We would never put 3 people in any cabin.This gives the flexibility to have two individuals of the same sex share a cabin with a bunk each, or provide some romantic privacy for a couple, with the upper berth not used.  If you want a really special treat, the owner's stateroom can be booked with even more room and a double bed.

double bed on Irene in the owners stateroom can be booked for a bit more
double bed on Irene in the owners stateroom can be booked for a bit more

 

Watching the World Gig Championships on Irene

 WHAT TO EXPECT

Style of Sailing

The high staff to guest ratio (5:10) simply allows you to get more out of your holiday but also a chance to just soak up the atmosphere and relax whilst the crew and the more eager guests keep Irene sailing.  There is now a distinction between two styles of Irene voyages to suit your preferred level of 'hands on' participation - 'Irene Exploration Voyages' for relaxed holidays where you can do as much or as little as you like or 'Irene Adventure Voyages' where more hands on sailing participation is expected and the themes tend to be a bit more physical like the chance to try other active sports like kayaking.

The exploration voyages are trips like West Country tours or Island hopping in the Scillies where there is generally no pressure to get involved in  all the sail handling unless you want to. The ships crew is more than capable of sailing Irene if you chose to relax and enjoy the scenery drifting past, but they will be thrilled to show you the ropes too.

The adventure voyages still offer Irene's amazing hospitality and food, but these voyages are on a mission to have fun and your hands on participation is expected.  Whether it is standing a night watch on an offshore passage up the Irish Sea or paddling a kayak around Muck or Eigg in the Inner Hebrides.  No experience is needed as the crew or activity instructor will teach you the skills you need.

Anchor windlass

Life on Board

Irene's owners explain their interior design ethos for below decks:

'We’re proud to have kept Irene as traditional as possible above decks.  We are also very pleased that we’ve made her old cargo hold below decks substantially more accommodating and most certainly not traditional!   Our four standard cabins all have a double berth with a single bunk above and enjoy a private en-suite toilet and shower room.   Despite the three bunks, we’ll never put more than two guests in a cabin – this may be either a couple sharing the double or two single travellers in the bunks.'

There is also a state room which was built for the owners. Read more about Irene's accommodation.

Irene has a tremendous reputation for the quality of her food.  We have a commercial standard galley and onboard chef to provide tasty, home cooked food to enjoy on deck and in our spacious saloon.  Breakfast, lunch and evening meal are provided along with refreshments and homemade cakes and snacks during the day.  A complimentary glass of wine is always included with dinner.

Irene under full sail

Accommodation on Irene

Tall ship Irene's saloon

Below Decks

Irene's owners explain their interior design ethos for below decks:

'We’re proud to have kept Irene as traditional as possible above decks. We are also very pleased that we’ve made her old cargo hold below decks substantially more accommodating and most certainly not traditional! Our four standard cabins all have a double berth with a single bunk above and enjoy a private en-suite toilet and shower room. Despite the three bunks, we’ll never put more than two guests in a cabin – this may be either a couple sharing the double or two single travellers in the bunks.' Leslie and Pat Morriss

Cabin with Double Lower Berth

double cabin on Irene

Book the Owners Stateroom

There is also a state room which was built for the owners. Owners Leslie and Pat are young at heart but not sailing on Irene as much as they used to, so the state room can usually be booked if you want a special treat. This is substantially larger than the standard cabins with a separate shower room, separate toilet and its own private companionway up to the deck. There is also a large heart shaped dining table in the cabin where you can enjoy a late night game of cards with friends after a day on the water and an interesting leather seat set into halfway up the hull which provides a fabulous place to enjoy your favourite book whilst Irene is heeled over to the wind.'

Professional Chef & Complimentary Wine

Irene has a tremendous reputation for the quality of her food. We have a commercial standard galley and onboard chef to provide tasty, home cooked food to enjoy on deck and in our spacious saloon. Breakfast, lunch and evening meal are provided along with refreshments and homemade cakes and snacks during the day. A complimentary glass of wine is always included with dinner.

professional galley on Irene
professional galley on Irene

 

Irene Vessel Specification
Irene Vessel Specification

Vessel Specification 

Year Built/Restored 1907
Home Port Charlestown in Cornwall, UK
Length Overall 124 feet
Length on deck 85 feet
Beam 21 feet
Draft 10’6
Guest Crew Overnight 10
Professional Crew 5
Max for day sails 15
Ships boats 1
240v from generators

Irene - Meet the Captain & Crew

Irene crew consists of skipper, mate, deckhand, chef, steward/host

Many of you may already know Ieuan Finniear (bearded left) he has been sailing Irene for many years now as both skipper, but previously as 1st mate. Originally from Mid-Wales, Ieuan spent most of his childhood in France so is also bi-lingual. 
Supporting him are experienced sailors David Sermon (standing up at the back) and Martha Priest (hiding by the staysail), both returning for another year as 1st mate along with Spanish born Alvaro Moratalla (sitting farthest back) coming back for his second season as deckhand.

Of course, there are some new faces too. Experienced seafarer, Jens Marklund (front and center) from Sweden joins Irene as relief skipper this year.

Daniel Haan (behind Ieuan) from Germany and fluent in five languages along with maritime wildlife expert, Vicky Inglis (next to Daniel) are also both looking forward to their first seasons as deckhand too!

Irene crew
Irene crew

Irene's Captain - Ieuan Finniear

Ieuan (pronounced Yian) moved up from mate to Captain on Irene in 2017 and has been with the company ever since. Multi-talented Ieuan hails originally from Mid-Wales but he spent most of his childhood in France, so is bi-lingual. A little known fact about him is that he can play the harp....but we can't fit it on Irene. 

Ieuan Finniear - Irene's Captain

 

 

Current sailing grounds

Irene Kit List

Irene Stern Name Board Sail and Main Sheet

Kit List for Irene

Included

  • Sailing instruction 
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets)
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • All meals including refreshments throughout the day.
  • Bed linen, duvet, pillows. 

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from the start and end port. 
  • Optional trips or tours taken ashore
  • Meals ashore (rarely taken)
  • Alcoholic Beverages, although wine with your evening meal is provided. 

What to bring

There is limited storage space on Irene so please pack all you belongings in a soft rucksack or bag.

  • Footwear: Shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes. (Sandals are great for beaches but you do need toe protection for sailing). Irene has solid wood decks so waterproof walking boots are fine at sea in moderate winds and dry conditions and great for voyages where you might do some rough terrain walking like Scillies or Scotland voyages.
  • Rubber Boots or second pair of shoes for wet weather or getting in/out of dinghies. 
  • Swim suit & beach towel
  • Suntan lotion & sunglasses
  • Sun hat / warm hat, scarves, gloves
  • Clothes that dry quickly like fleeces and thermals. Mix of warm, waterproof & windproof layers. Wool jumpers are warm, even when wet, but can take a while to dry. Merino wool type shirts are good for under layers if sailing in colder climates.
  • Small rucksack for going ashore
  • Travel insurance documents/any travel tickets
  • Passport for French Voyages, Ireland or any 6 day voyage like Scillies where Brittany might be an alternative option. On French voyages Reciprocal Free Health Care Card for Europe.
  • Personal medicines/ spectacles/ seasick tablets –check which brand if you suffer from asthma or are on regular medication.
  • Camera/binoculars etc
  • Modest quantity of alcohol for evening meals if desired
  • You are welcome to bring musical instruments
Off

Irene - Reviews

Even the anchor windlass needs teamwork on irene

 Captain and Crew were fantastic and made us all very comfortable with sailing and various processes. All were fun to be with and patient with us as first timers. In addition to the sailing, we had fantastic kayaking experiences with great seal watching. The trip offered an excellent balance of sailing and shore time, allowing us to explore the islands. - Sail Paddle and Walk Voyage 2019. 

The best bit - The sail back from the Scillies was spectacular.  We had a perfect wind to enable us to do a broad reach straight to the Cornish coast and reached 8 knots at times.  The sun was shining and we were also joined by a large pod of dolphins that swam along with us for several minutes - a very special experience!

The worst bit - The chosen anchorage on the first night was a bit exposed to the swell and made sleep a bit difficult at times.

Why do you sail?

I have always loved sailing but experience to date has all been on modern yachts of less than 40 feet.  This was a chance to try something different and get a taste of what it must have been like 100 years ago when Irene was a commercial cargo boat.  It was a fantastic experience and one I am keen to repeat.

In summary - The crew were very young (relative to the 'guests') but were all very professional when it came to the sailing and boat handling and they inspired confidence.  They were also happy to accommodate our requests and answer our many questions. 

Jonathan P Aug 18 Isles of Scilly

 

Hannah, the skipper, was a tribute to the world of sailing. She is clearly very competent and knowledgeable and instilled confidence whilst maintaining a relaxed and fun atmosphere. I therefore felt very safe and was able to relax and enjoy my first adventure at sea. I very much enjoyed the kayaking and Mike was also very knowledgable and accommodating. Lotte, the chef, was first class

What was the best bit?

The skipper knew his job thoroughly, as did the mate and they very ably supported by the crew. They went out of their way to ensure that everybody could get the most out of their holiday. The food was superlative. This was one of my best weeks’ holiday ever. John H, Whisky Wildlife and waves, June 2018

 

What was the worst bit?

Not long enough! Door in the head didn't fully open due to the size, would have been better to have consetina door.

Why do you sail?

Never sailed before so the mix of walk, kayak and sail was very attractive

Any other comments

6 days is too short to make the most if the environment" 

Julie H. Customer Feedback Photo
Julie H. Customer Feedback Photo

 

What was the best bit?
"Hauling up the mainsail for the first time and feeling her filling with wind."

What was the Worst Bit?
"There wasn't a worst bit. Trying to store the foresail in the evening while bouncing around on the netting, but I still enjoyed it."

Why do you sail?
"I used to sail when young, but only inland and I wanted to go out onto the sea after reading about it so often. I'm in my 70s now and want to make the most of my body while I still can. Father and grandfather were in the Royal Navy and it feels like I'm continuing the tradition" 

Any other comments?
"Although we caught what were probably the only 3 days good weather down in Falmouth in April and so had no wind, the skipper still gave us a good sailing experience. All the crew were great, full of good humour and experience even though they are young - well, under 30, which is young for me. The cook, Alex, was attentive to my dietary needs and his meals surpassed my expectations." 

Jackie W. Guest Feedback Photo
Jackie W. Guest Feedback Photo

 

I had the best trip of my life on Irene, from Oban to Newlyn. We arrived on Friday and have just been to have a last look at her before going home tomorrow . I'm totally in love. With a ship! Fabulous crew and food and sailing companions and pre-sail admin and everything. Fiona F ***** 5 stars

"What a week of amazing experiences – incredible crew (thank you!), sailing and food.  Topped off by seriously good whiskies! Heaven!  KA 3rd June 2017

 "Wonderful few days with such a welcoming and friendly crew.  Excellent food, weather and company.  Looking forward to seeing you all in Bristol next year.  Thanks for everything. " EH 11th May 2017

"A thousand thanks for the wonderful time and fantastic food.  Most of all, thanks to Irene for the pleasure of her company." CB 21st May 2017

Video Feedback below from Andrew E sailing from Dartmouth to Oban on Irene. 

Off

RESERVE YOUR PLACE FOR 7 DAYS WITHOUT FINANCIAL COMMITMENT

As long as the voyage is not about to start, Classic Sailing can reserve your place for 7 days without payment or financial commitment, whilst you talk to your boss, find a home to look after your dog, or check flight prices.

All Classic Sailing need from you is a completed booking form to start the process: We check availability, approve your booking form, and provisionally reserve a berth.  You place is confirmed and booking terms apply, only when you have paid the deposit. We strongly recommend you do not purchase flights or travel tickets until your voyage is fully confirmed.

Solo sailors

The boats will always ensure that solo sailors sharing the same cabin are the same sex. 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.

What others say about us

CURRENT AVERAGE   4.6 STARS
249 REVIEWS

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Why book with Classic Sailing?

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11, 051 customers introduced to

traditional boats and tall ships.

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