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Hands On Sailing Experience - Belfast to Oban

A slightly more adventurous taster sailing experience with some real sea journeying. Sail this tough gaff ketch from Northern Ireland through St Georges Channel to the Scottish highlands and islands. The first part is out in what might be quite rough sea as there is no shelter from the Atlantic, but after the open sea comes potentially flatter water between the islands. Perhaps sail up through the Sound of Islay,  or round the outside. Possible stops in Islay, Colonsay or even Iona on the way to Oban.

Embark
Thu, 30-04-2020 - 14:00
Belfast
Disembark
Sun, 03-05-2020 - 10:00
Oban
Duration
3 Nights
Vessel
Maybe
Voyage No.
MA300420

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 16-25 year olds pp. AVAILABILITY: Available. PRICE: 270 GBP. BOOK NOW
TYPE: 26 years old & over pp. AVAILABILITY: Available. PRICE: 300 GBP. BOOK NOW

Maybe - Belfast to Oban

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR...

Those looking for a week long adventure visiting some wonderful places, this voyage journeys through some excellent sailing grounds with breathtaking scenery. If you are looking for a combination of pure sailing, island hopping and pretty anchorages then this is the voyage for you. 

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sail from Northern Ireland to SW Scotland
  • Explore the Firth of Clyde and the Western Isles of Scotland
  • Sailing in the sound of Jura and the Small Isles
  • Wonderful scenery
  • Excellent wildlife spotting potential
Working on the foredeck - gaff cutter Maybe

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

Western Scotland is a rich marine ecosystem which offers fantastic seafood and wildlife watching from the Sea Eagles on Mull to the dolphins and Minke Whales that cruise the deep sounds between the islands. Due to the prolific life under the surface and hundreds of miles of remote coastlines, the Western Isles, Inner and Outer Hebrides and mainland lochs are great places to spot seals, otters, minke and larger whales, basking sharks and dolphins.

The mountains provide inaccessible eyries for sea eagles, golden eagles, choughs, peregrine falcons and the cliffs are homes to many large breeding colonies of seabirds like gannets and puffins.

ISLAY, JURA AND MULL

As we head further north the landscape changes, with dramatic highland and island views dominating the seascape.  We will have the option to anchor in pretty bays on the islands and visits ashore to explore will be possible. With beautiful sunsets and long evenings, sitting on deck in the evening light anchored in a small bay, is something not to be missed.

Peaty whisky is distilled on islay and jura

OBAN

Your adventure ends in the Gateway to the Scottish Isles; the picturesque port town of Oban. With a blend of fascinating ancient ruins and vibrant Scottish culture, the town has become known as the Seafood Capital of Scotland. There will be time to explore the town before departing the boat and making your way home.

Maybe under sail
Maybe under sail

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

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs

 

 

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Latest port updates

For voyages on TS Maybe - please see the map below for the location of the ship. Make sure you have made a note of the boat phone number found in your confirmation in case of any problems on the day. 

Belfast

The official Belfast Visitor web site.

Belfast Harbour is Northern Ireland’s principal maritime gateway and logistics hub, serving the Northern Ireland economy and increasingly that of the Republic of Ireland. Around 60% of Northern Ireland’s seabourne trade and 20% of the entire island's is handled at the harbour, handling around 16 million tonnes of cargo per annum and receiving around 5,500 vessels each year.

Established in 1847, Belfast Harbour is Belfast’s port authority and operates the principal maritime gateway on the island of Ireland. The harbour estate covers an area of 2,000 acres representing 20% of Belfast City area and is also Northern Ireland’s logistics and distribution hub and home to major businesses including Microsoft, Harland & Wolff, Capita, CitiGroup and Bombardier.

How to get here

Nearest Airport: George Best Belfast City Airport (2.5km)

Nearest Rail Station: Titanic Quarter Train Station. (2km)

Nearest Bus Station: Europa Bus Centre (2km)

Belfast Cabs: +44 (0) 7446014761

FonaCAB (Belfast) Ltd: 028 0933 3333

Nearest Hotel: Premier Inn Belfast Titanic Quarter.

Getting to Belfast 

Plane
There are lots of flights to Belfast International and Belfast City – make sure you know which one you are using. 

Ferries
You can catch Ferries to Belfast from Liverpool and Stranrear See Ferry Savers

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’ http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/travel-insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

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.

Maybe

Maybe Sailing

Maybe is very much a sail training vessel and her style of sailing is very 'hand's on' but with a lot of patient instruction from the professional crew. Maybe's skipper and mates are not afraid to shape a great team from total novices or mixed experience crews. They will encourage you to get involved in every aspect of ship board life, from cooking to standing watch. British owned Maybe is a regular contender in the International Tall Ships Races and regattas and has sailed around the world several times.

Statistics

 

  • Length overall: 72 ft (24.00m)
  • Length on deck:

 

 

  • Year built: 1933
  • Vessel type/rig: Gaff Ketch 

 

  • Guest berths: 12
  • Crew berths: 4

 

Full Participation and mixed age crews

Gaff ketch 'Maybe' works predominantly around the UK on youth development voyages, but she also offers adult adventure trips too. Her style of sailing is very 'hands on' but with a lot of patient instruction as the professional crew are used to working with crew from 12 to 80. Her winter base is the Algarve in Portugal so she has some ocean style and delivery trips for experienced sailors at the start and finish of the season too.

On the bow sprit of Maybe

Tall Ships Races

International Tall Ships races have been happening for many summers. They defy cynicism, bring together young crews from nations that are hardly on speaking terms in the adult world, and give those participating the best thrill you can have in your school holidays.  Generally sail handling on a tall ship or sail training yacht is done slowly with lots of instruction and plenty of sea room from other vessels. In a tall ships race it is much more close quarters so things have to happen a lot faster and the vessels are sailed with dash rather than conservatism. You might get the odd bruise or blister but the sense of teamwork and pride in your ship seems to just happen during the thrill of the chase.  The parties in port are your well earned reward.

Maybe and Tecla in Tall Ship Parade of Sail
Maybe and Tecla in Tall Ship Parade of Sail

A Chance to Become Volunteer Crew

Maybe has a small professional crew and deliberately relies on volunteers as watch leaders or delivery crew. A Maybe voyage would be a good choice if you are thinking about a sailing career and you are really keen to progress your sailing skills. The skipper will be looking to recommend helpful hard working crew as possible volunteers who have good people skills and a sense of humour. There is usually a contribution towards meals if you sail as volunteer or delivery crew. You might even progress to a paid postion (Skipper, !st Mate, Engineer and Cook)

Her sister ship, belonging to the same NE sail training charity, is the three masted schooner Blue Clipper. This bigger vessel has month long crew placements to some really exciting destinations like the Arctic and the Caribbean so it is a great organisation to sail with to get your foot on the sailing career ladder.

companionship at the end of watch on a sailing holiday
Making friends on Maybe's bigger sister ship Blue Clipper

Sailing Style

 

Life On Board

Life on board really is about getting stuck in and involved in all aspects of sailing the ship. Beginners are welcome and the experienced crew will help to explain the different roles onboard which will quickly see you turn into a knowledgable traditional ship sailor! Please also note there is a non-smoking policy on board Maybe. 

Wild swimming in Scotland on Maybe
Wild swimming in Scotland on Maybe

 

Below decks on yacht Maybe

Below Decks

Tall Ship Maybe has the capacity for up to 18 crew members on each sailing voyage, which includes 2-4 permanent crew and 14 places for trainee crew members or 12 passengers. 

She has extensive comfortable accommodation below deck including five newly refurbished cabin, a large saloon/galley area fitted with all modern conveniences including TV, DVD Player, fully fitted kitchen with microwave, fridge, freezer, cooker, induction hob and slow cooker.  For the comfort of the crew, central heating has been installed to make even winter sailing a pleasure.

Maybe Accommodation Layout

Sailing vessel Maybe - Accommodation Layout
Sunset astern of Gaff Ketch Maybe

Gaff Ketch Maybe - Ship Specification

     
Year built 1929  
Sailing Rig gaff ketch  
length (overall ?) 72ft 24m
length on deck    
beam 19ft 6'' 6m
draft 10ft 6'' 3.2m
guest crew 14  
professional crew 4  
engine yes  
Maybe being launched after winter 2017-18 refit
Maybe being launched after winter 2017-18 refit

 

Current sailing grounds
Affordable 2 night sailing tasters from Belfast, Longer voyages to and from Cork, Dublin & Scotland

Kit List for Maybe

Maybe guests enjoying the sun!

Kit List for Maybe

Included

 

  • Sailing instruction 
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to include cooked breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments throughout the day.
  • Pillow


What's Not Included

 

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Towels and pillow case
  • Travel to and from the start and end port. 
  • Optional trips or tours taken ashore
  • Meals ashore
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Sleeping bag


 
What to bring


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

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Pillow Case
  • 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). Agnes 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.
  • 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
  • You are welcome to bring musical instruments
     
Off

Maybe - Reviews

Maybe sunsets

What did you enjoy the most?

The general atmosphere on board was excellent and the journey along the Caledonian canal was fantastic.

The worst bits? - don't think there was one.

Why do your sail?

Travel, meeting new and interesting people, experience and learning more about sailing.

George M Maybe June 2019

Sailing in Scotland

What was the best bit?

Sailing between Islay and Jura: sun shining, music playing and interesting winds rolling down from the hills.

What was the worst bit?

Getting up for my watch after the first wave of seasickness.

Why do you sail? 

This was my first trip. Wanted to experience the landscape from a different perspective and get to places I couldn’t easily reach otherwise.

Any other comments

The experience was very much enhanced by the attitudes and actions of the crew (including the volunteers), who combined technical and people skills with their love of sailing to create something more rewarding than I had anticipated.

By Lynne G. Guest crew on Maybe from Liverpool to Scotland
By Lynne G. Guest crew on Maybe from Liverpool to Scotland
Learnt so much!

I learned so much and it was a pleasure and rewarding experience achieving my RYA Competent Crew cert. I didn't want the trip to end, I would have happily sailed on and enjoyed the beautiful ship Maybe with her crew and my new friends! Thank you for a wonderful experience, I hope to put my new skills to use soon." 

Amazing!

I recently joined MAYBE on a delivery voyage from South Portugal to West Wales. I have had some amazing experiences in life but this topped it for me. Not only having an opportunity to sails a much bigger boat than I am used to but also dealing with much more challenging seas than I am used to. Thanks to the experienced knowledge the permanent crew we had the chance to sail MAYBE in 57 knots of wind and athough it was hairy at times the whole crew felt safe on the resiliant MAYBE.
This has been a life changer or affirminator, see you on the water." Sayed Almaghrabi, April 2017

The Bay of Biscay

Joseph D April 2019 Crossing the Bay of Biscay which is always a challenging voyage!

You enjoyed the most –

Dolphins chasing the bow at 6am

A small songbird resting on our boat just after we crossed Biscay

How the crew came together and supported each other through the rougher weather of our Biscay Crossing.

Least enjoyed –

Seeing all the beautiful cooked food and not being able to eat much because of the sea sickness

Why do you sail?

I sail because it’s completely different from any experience on land.

I can't fault those three guys

"I really enjoyed my sail on Maybe, Seb Ben and Phil were fantastic. A great combination of knowledge, skill, enthusiasm, ability to teach, fun and patience - I can't fault those three guys. 

Delivery Trip

TS Maybe delivery trip Portimao, Portugal to Cork, Ireland (in the end) was an amazing experience. Having always wanted to do longer sailing passages, experience ocean sailing and push myself with challenging experiences, this lived up to everything I expected. It was a shame we were plagued with non-stop N/NE winds that meant we couldn't sail without motor as much as I would have liked...but that's the nature of the trip. A massive thank you to all the rest of the crew who were great folk and hats off, praise & thanks to Skipper Seb, Helen, Jessie & Mo who guided us on the passage. An incredible voyage, a great memory and a taste for more of the same. And at times it was like Bake Off at sea!

Anthony S 14-03-19

Anthony S Voyage on Maybe Spring 2019
Loved it!

Hi everyone on Maybe! I loved my week sailing with you. Now that I'm home it all feels so special to have done this. The experience certainly changed my attitudes to so many things and I can see how the teamwork made everyone work beyond their usual comfort zones. We had so many laughs, I can hardly believe it was that much fun. Now I have to try to settle into 'normal' life but I can feel the pull of future voyages - Maybe? love to you all......Valerie S. 5 star facebook review 30 July 2018

Tall Ships Races

"Very nervous before the trip because I have not sailed before. Staff very experienced so made me feel safe and I could relax and enjoy a great experience. Highlights - millions of stars at night, dolphin pod, viewing land from another aspect, new and different experience. Thank you for a great trip 10/10." Jacqui Robinson, aged 53, Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta

Rekindling my love of sailing

"At the end of this trip I was asked if there had been anything negative about the experience, I can only think of one, that is, the trip is over, I am no longer sailing aboard Maybe, and yet I so desperately which that I were. Till next time. P.s Thanks for rekindling my love of sailing and the oceans." Will Clutton, Cornwall, 20.10.2014

Totally different experience

"Had a brilliant time on board Maybe for the 2nd time!!  You didn't scare me away the first time and I hope to be back on board in the furture!  You have introduced me to a totally different experience and alternative lifestyle living on a boat.  Thanks for all your hard work and patient teaching.  Keep up the brilliant work as it is truly life changing." Matthew Ireland.  Liverpool.  Apprentice Ship Cup

Trip of a lifetime

Had a great time upon the maybe boat, trip of a lifetime that I shall never forget! Big thanks to all the crew members and for looking after us so well and teaching us so much!! And all the trainees for making it such a memorable trip! Highly recommend to all." Rodney Moorehead, Northern Ireland, Tall Ships Races

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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 and Solo Occupancy

The majority of our sailors sail on their own. The boats will always ensure that solo sailors sharing the same cabin are the same sex. Sole occupancy is available on some vessels which will have an extra % charge which varies by vessel.

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