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Island Hopping and Ocean Sailing in Cape Verde

A group of nine islands off West Africa and a great winter alternative to the Caribbean. Island Hopping amongst the windward and leeward island groups with a chance to explore at least 6 islands. Starting on the 17th February, 2019 this 10 day voyage will show you the very best of Cape Verde's interesting history and contrasting islands. 

Tropical Sun & breezy trade winds on a three masted schooner with elegant accommodation. Optional jeep safaris and great mountain walks. Oosterschelde has been exploring this sailing ground with charter guests for nearly a decade.

Embark
Sun, 17-02-2019 - 17:00
Sal, Cape Verde
Disembark
Thu, 28-02-2019 - 09:00
Sal, Cape Verde
Duration
11 Nights
Vessel
Oosterschelde
Voyage No.
OS170219

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 4-6 Berth Cabin pp. AVAILABILITY: Limited places. PRICE:
On Offer!
  1,650 EUR  1,485 EUR. BOOK NOW
TYPE: 2 Berth Cabin pp. AVAILABILITY: Limited places. PRICE:
On Offer!
  1,875 EUR  1,688 EUR. BOOK NOW
*Booking fees may apply

Oosterschelde - Cape Verde Voyage Description for 2018-2019 Season

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR...

Anyone who likes the idea of sailing amongst tropical sun, big swell and blue seas, cooling sea spray and flying fish, but wants to explore islands and a different culture too. The sailing winds are generally fantastic as this island group sits squarely in the NE trade wind belt and Oosterschelde has a lot of canvas.

The cabins and below deck spaces are elegant and spacious and this big steel ship sits pretty steady in the Cape verde anchorages so it suits guests who want to be comfortable.

A good choice for solo travellers, couples and keen walkers who want a unique travel experience first, and life at sea on a sailing ship as a bonus.  These voyages are popular, so there is generally plenty of keen guest crew and professional crew to pull on ropes if you fancy taking more relaxed approach to your holiday. Going aloft is not compulsory, but you do need enough agility to climb down a short boarding ladder into the ships inflatable dinghy, and landings on quays and beaches can be a bit bouncy if the swell is running. Nice and warm though. 

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Islands 100 miles apart, and closer day sails
  • Trade winds & sensational blue water sailing
  • Winter Sun and tropical 22-25 degrees C
  • island jeep safaris with shared costs
  • Mountain walks amongst lush crops
  • miles of sandy beaches, shipwrecks & turtles
  • Sea rich in wahoo, turtles & tuna
  • Traditional music & African Culture
  • No light pollution & few tourists
local boats in Cape Verde
local boats in Cape Verde

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

Oosterschelde is the expert vessel in these cruising grounds. In the early days she employed local Cape Verdean guides to sail with the ship and arrange tours on each island on arrival. The ships crew now have enough contacts of their own and have developed a great itinerary. It might not exactly be the same each 11 day voyage, but they do know how to create an active winter sun holiday that has just about everything from diving off the bowsprit to sharing a 'Catchpa Stew' with local families.

The Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) are a tropical island group are well south of the Canaries on about the same latitude as St Lucia in the Caribbean. They lie off the West African coast of Senegal and slap bang in the North East trade wind belt. Hot sun, a constant strong breeze (typically force 4-7) and a mix of islands - some of which are 100 miles apart and others only half a day distant, creates a world class cruising ground for those who prefer anchorages and islands to explore without hordes of tourists.

Going ashore to the island of Sal. Your landing is normally a beach
Your landing is normally a beach or a small quay. Photo by Arthur Smeets

The inhabited islands include Brava, Fogo, Santiago, Maio, Sal, Boa Vista, Sao Nicholau, Sao Antao and Sao Vincente in two distinct groups - windward and leeward islands. The Cape Verde islands are out in the ocean for real blue water cruising and are just about perfect for an island hopping holiday on a ocean tall ship like Oosterschelde.  Sal has hosted world kite surfing and Boa Vista is well known as a windsurfing blast spot. Cape Verde is a real mecca all year round for those who like it windy and sunny, with warm seas to swim in.


On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.

Tall ship holidays in Cape Verde on Oosterschelde
Photo by Arthur Smeets - Sensational blue water sailing in Cape Verde

Sal to Santiago & perhaps Fogo

Sal has amazing white beaches and turquoise seas and the cross shore winds on the beach at Santa Maria is becoming a mecca for kite surfers. If you are flying in early, then Santa Maria is the best place to stay and chill out on the beach and eat fresh fish in town. When it is time to start your voyage, Oosterschelde will be in the port of Palmeria, which is a very short taxi drive away from the airport or hotels in Santa Maria. This is not a touristy town and you meet the ships crew in the ships tender, down by the fisherman's quay.

The first sail usually starts with 110 miles downwind with a day and night passage to Tarrafal on Santiago to find your sea legs. Santiago in the leeward islands is a total contrast to flat Sal, with high mountains and cobbled mountain roads built in the past by slaves. Santiago is the most African island with mountains and green valleys. Oosterschelde crews typically spend the entire day on the island. With a taxi bus you can travel across the island to visit the colourful markets of the capital Praia and the oldest city of the Archipelago, Cidade Velha. Inland there are mango trees, banana plantations and old grog factories, where the sugar cane is still grinded by a grinding stone pulled on by a cow. From Santiago high roads you can see the classic volcanic form of Fogo - the highest summit in the Archipelago at 9281 feet. Crews have landed on Fogo but the anchorages are usually too exposed. 

Spontaneous parties often start on the beach here in Tarrafal, where everyone is dancing to the swinging Cape Verdean music.

Mountain villages on Santiago, Cape Verde
Mountain villages on Santiago, Cape Verde

Sao Vincente & Sao Antao

Sailing close hauled and 130 miles to make North westwards to Ilha da Sao Vincente gives plenty of sailing action for those who want to set lots of huge sails. For others the simple pleasure of reading a book in hot sun on deck, with a cooling breeze and the odd dollop of sea spray is enough activity. 

The upwind passage typically takes a day and night.

Mindelo is the largest harbour of the Cape Verde, and the town has restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. Some of the anchorages have strong currents and swell but Mindelo has a good beach for swimming. Live Cape Verdean traditional music at Club Nautico is worth an evening dinghy ride.

Across a 7 mile strait is Santo Antao. The greenest and maybe the most beautiful island of the archipelago. A perfect island to explore on foot with volcanic craters swirling in trade wind clouds, zig zagging paths between villages and terraced fields, often with spectacular views revealed.

There is no safe harbour so the ship normally stays in Mindelo and those who want to explore the island of Sao Antao catch the local ferry (and we strongly suggest you do as it is one of the highlights of the voyage). A taxi bus is arranged (this can be an open jeep with seats) to take you to the top of the crater, with an amazing walk down the Ribeira Grande valley full of crops and thatched houses, until you reach the coastal road and your lift back to the ferry.

incredible donkey path switch back from the crater rim on Sao Antao, Cape Verde
Incredible donkey path switch back from the crater rim on Sao Antao. Photo Arthur Smeets

Sao Nicolau

Sail past the uninhabited island of Santa Luzia, and if swell permits the ship may anchor and run a trip ashore. The waters around the island are rich in fish so it may be worth staying on board with a fishing line. Swimming is not recommended due to the large number of sharks, but watching these menacing beauties is a novel treat for wildlife lovers.

The destination on São Nicolau is also called Tarrafal. We anchor just before the harbour, or maybe even moor at the quay. Tarrafal is a peaceful fisherman’s village where we will be welcomed with open arms. There is barely any tourism and the majority of fisherman sail instead of motorized boats.

A jeep safari across the mountains to the wild windward coastline of Sao Nicolau is spectacular. Swim in the wildest natural infinity pool ever - if you dare - with waves crashing against the vertical cliffs below. There are the beautiful worn basalt formations and drive up to the last remainders of a primeval forest in the mountains.

Sao Nicolau West Coast - shipwrecks and trade winds
Sao Nicolau West Coast - shipwrecks and trade winds

Boa Vista - deserts and watersports

The last island is usually Boa Vista and back to an up and coming watersports destination- with its massive desert dunes, date palms, camels and white, white beaches. A great place to hire a windsurfer if you are into wave sailing or blasts. A short hop brings the ship back to Sal.

Kite surfing instructor in Cape Verde
Kite surfing instructor in Cape Verde

WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

The North East trades can blow from force 4 to near gale, but for a ship like Oosterschelde this is perfect sailing. The skies are normally blue and cloudless but at sea level you can get sahara dust obscuring views of the next island shore.  Seas can be oceanic as you are sailing in the Atlantic many hundreds of miles from the continental shelf, which is great for whales and dolphins, but you can get some impressive swells.  In the lee of islands it can be calmer. January is the 'coldest' month but still a lovely 21-23 degrees centigrade. Unlike the Caribbean, Cape Verde is generally a dry heat with very few tropical downpours. Some islands have not seen rain in years.

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.

Aloft at 11 knots on oosterschelde in Cape Verde
Aloft at 11 knots in Cape Verde. Photo by Debbie Purser

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.

Adam, Debbie and Becky in the Classic sailing Office have all sailed on Oosterschelde in Cape Verde so do ring us with your questions on 0044 (0)1872 580022

AGILITY & FITNESS

Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. Medical facilities ashore are what you would expect for a poor African nation, so if you have a serious medical condition this primitive cruising ground might not be your best choice.

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, hand towels and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks & canned soft drinks from the ships bar
  • Beach Towels
  • Waterproofs

 

a winter escape for all ages. oosterschelde in Cape Verde. Photo by Arthur Smeets
a winter escape for all ages. Photo by Arthur Smeets

 

Sal, Cape Verde

Latest port updates

For joining Oosterschelde and Blue Clipper, and usually any ship on the island of Sal see the above map for the port of Palmeira. It is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport (€15 approx). If you are staying over on the island before joining your ship, please see advice below on where is best to stay. 

Voyages start and end from Palmeira which is a bay and small fishing port on the west of the island, nearer the airport. The large concrete commercial breakwater is cordoned off.  Wait under the shady tree near the bar where the local fishermen unload their catch on a little stone jetty.  The ships dinghy will come in to collect you at joining time.

 

How to get here

Air & transfers

Fly either with Thompsons from either Gatwick, Birmingham or Manchester. 14 day charter flights are the cheapest if you can get dates that fit your voyage. You will need a few days on Sal to use these. Thomas Cook also offers flight routes. 

Or with Portuguese airline TAP which has daily flights from the UK or other European Countries but often go via Lisbon with long stop-overs and arrive late at night.

Vaccinations

None are required for Cape Verde. The winds and dry climate mean there are less mosquitos than the Caribbean in the evenings. 

VISA

Since the 1st January 2019 EU passport holders staying not longer than 30 days will not need a visa. 

Please check with your own consulate or embassy for other nationalities. 

Everybody entering the country will need to pay a tourist tax of €30

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

If you are arriving a few days early then the majority of accommodation, beach bars, restaurants and shops are in Santa Maria, it is about a 30 minute taxi ride to Santa Maria from Palmeira and about a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport. 

If you want to stay near to the port, then the "Yacht Club Sal" has been personally recommended to us by previous Classic Sailing guests. David and Nelly who run the hotel, do not have a website, but you can see the details on their:

Facebook Page here. 

They are also featured on booking.com. 

Call them directly on Whatsapp or Viber: 002389952625. 

Email: Info@pagida.info. 

Santa Maria

There is an old town and a local population, living in low rise housing, but it has been rather consumed by beach side development and apartments. The town does resemble a building site, but the 3 mile beach still offers a perfect place to unwind before your voyage.  The sea is a stunning turquoise with local fishing boats still bringing in a daily catch of wahoo and tuna.  There are several fish restaurants on the beach or in the local squares and a couple of harder to find restuarants with quality menus. Many of the hotels are run by Italians or Portuguese and some have small restaurants too. You can buy snacks from small local shops or street vendors.

You can have windsurfing or kite surfing lessons - the conditions are excellent if you are not a beginner - but it is not cheap.

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)

Currency

The currency is the Cape Verdean Escudo or CV Esc which can only be obtained in the islands. You can take Sterling or Euros to exchange. The fixed exchange rate is 110 CV Esc to €1. Euros are widely accepted throughout the islands but be careful as credit cards are not.

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.

Sal, Cape Verde

Latest port updates

For joining Oosterschelde and Blue Clipper, and usually any ship on the island of Sal see the above map for the port of Palmeira. It is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport (€15 approx). If you are staying over on the island before joining your ship, please see advice below on where is best to stay. 

Voyages start and end from Palmeira which is a bay and small fishing port on the west of the island, nearer the airport. The large concrete commercial breakwater is cordoned off.  Wait under the shady tree near the bar where the local fishermen unload their catch on a little stone jetty.  The ships dinghy will come in to collect you at joining time.

 

How to get here

Air & transfers

Fly either with Thompsons from either Gatwick, Birmingham or Manchester. 14 day charter flights are the cheapest if you can get dates that fit your voyage. You will need a few days on Sal to use these. Thomas Cook also offers flight routes. 

Or with Portuguese airline TAP which has daily flights from the UK or other European Countries but often go via Lisbon with long stop-overs and arrive late at night.

Vaccinations

None are required for Cape Verde. The winds and dry climate mean there are less mosquitos than the Caribbean in the evenings. 

VISA

Since the 1st January 2019 EU passport holders staying not longer than 30 days will not need a visa. 

Please check with your own consulate or embassy for other nationalities. 

Everybody entering the country will need to pay a tourist tax of €30

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

If you are arriving a few days early then the majority of accommodation, beach bars, restaurants and shops are in Santa Maria, it is about a 30 minute taxi ride to Santa Maria from Palmeira and about a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport. 

If you want to stay near to the port, then the "Yacht Club Sal" has been personally recommended to us by previous Classic Sailing guests. David and Nelly who run the hotel, do not have a website, but you can see the details on their:

Facebook Page here. 

They are also featured on booking.com. 

Call them directly on Whatsapp or Viber: 002389952625. 

Email: Info@pagida.info. 

Santa Maria

There is an old town and a local population, living in low rise housing, but it has been rather consumed by beach side development and apartments. The town does resemble a building site, but the 3 mile beach still offers a perfect place to unwind before your voyage.  The sea is a stunning turquoise with local fishing boats still bringing in a daily catch of wahoo and tuna.  There are several fish restaurants on the beach or in the local squares and a couple of harder to find restuarants with quality menus. Many of the hotels are run by Italians or Portuguese and some have small restaurants too. You can buy snacks from small local shops or street vendors.

You can have windsurfing or kite surfing lessons - the conditions are excellent if you are not a beginner - but it is not cheap.

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)

Currency

The currency is the Cape Verdean Escudo or CV Esc which can only be obtained in the islands. You can take Sterling or Euros to exchange. The fixed exchange rate is 110 CV Esc to €1. Euros are widely accepted throughout the islands but be careful as credit cards are not.

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.

Oosterschelde

Oosterschelde's sleek lines and huge sail area has sailed her charter crews around the world twice including a rounding of Cape Horn purely under sail in 2013, and as far afield as the Arctic, Australia and Antarctica. Be part of her guest crew as she continues to explore the very best cruising grounds with exciting schedules planned each year. It is not all hardcore sailing: Oosterschelde has the most spacious and elegant living space of all our fleet, and loves to explore warm places too like Cape Verde, the Caribbean, Brazil and Cuba. 

If you want an example of sail power, Oosterschelde is the real thing. A 'National Historic Monument' in the Netherlands, she is the only remaining working example of a large fleet of fast schooners that carried cargoes at the beginning of the last century.

Statistics
  • Length overall:164ft (50.00m)
  • Length on deck: 131.00ft (40.10m)
  • Year built:  1917/1992
  • Vessel type/rig: Three masted schooner 

 

  • Guest berths:24
  • Crew berths:   7

 

 

Oosterschelde off Cape Verde
Winter Sun. Oosterschelde off Cape Verde

What Oosterschelde Does Best

Seeks Out Perfect Sailing Grounds

For a while Oosterschelde was the Dutch sailors secret holiday favourite. The tall ship was known in her own country for her first Round the World Voyage in 1992 and sailing expeditions for wildlife and wilderness lovers in places like Spitsbergen. Classic Sailing has been working with this impressive tall ship for a decade now, and we are proud to have helped her reach a wider international audience.  Part of her success is her impeccable taste in sailing destinations.  Her small professional crew chose sailing programmes that stay close to their ethos for following the trade winds or historic routes, anchoring in wild places, appreciating nature and getting to know resilient island communities.

You don't have to go aloft but the view is great on Oosterschelde
You don't have to go aloft but the view is great on Oosterschelde. Photo Arthur Smeets

Impressive Sail Power

Oosterschelde is a three masted topsail schooner which means she has a mizzen, mainsail, and fore gaff - all with topsails above and many jibs on her huge bowsprit.  This means you can tack her upwind like a super yacht. On her foremast she also has three square sails so at tall ships races she can compete with the biggest Class A square riggers, and she can notch up the miles downwind too.

Her lofty rig carries an incredible 9,590 sq ft of sail (891 sq metres) but there are only 12 sails.  With a small professional crew, setting the huge gaff sails takes teamwork from the guest crew, but once they are up you have an 'ocean thoroughbred' to enjoy. 

Steering Oosterschelde in the Caribbean
Steering Oosterschelde in the Caribbean

Tasteful Interior from a Bygone Era

You enter the ships saloon down a wide companionway stairs to a real treat.  The vast old cargo hold in the heart of the ship has been tastefully converted into a dining area, bar and library with period furnishings from the era of ocean liners.  There is even a mezzanine deck from the saloon with leather sofas to relax on.

The cabins are separate so this stylish grand space is for the guest crew to relax and socialise.  There is even a piano and a wood burning stove.  There are skylights to deck here and in the cabins that can be opened in the tropics to allow natural ventilation.

Oosterschelde has a large galley and professional cook and you can buy drinks at the bar when off watch.

Schooner Oosterschelde has a spacious and elegant saloon with a bar and a piano


I  want to thank the crew for the three magnificent days passed on board, between "Golfe du Morbihan" and "Le Havre". I sailed on numerous occasions on about ten different ships, and this sailing on Oosterschelde is the best experience I ever had. I was impressed by the good performances of the ship, and by the way the crew adjusts sails permanently so that the ship always gives the best ; it was an immense pleasure to participate of my best in all these operations. I regret that our different languages did not allow us to communicate more, because all the crew members were really very nice and very thoughtful with us. I have now only an envy: to embark again on Oosterschelde, to be on the deck to participate in the laborers of sails, to climb on the mast to help the crew, and to share again these excellent moments given by sailing on Oosterschelde !!!" Gilbert Pépin Location: Vernon, France  

What to Expect on Oosterschelde

Photo by Arthur Smeets. Setting the main sail requires teams on two halliards
Photo by Arthur Smeets. Setting the main sail requires teams on two halliards

Oosterschelde Sailing Style

On board Oosterschelde, as on all of Classic Sailing holidays, you are not a passenger but part of the guest crew. You will be assigned a watch together with the professional crew to sail, steer and navigate the ship. No sailing experience is necessary. The crew will be happy to explain the functions of all the ropes.

On a fore and aft rigged schooner there is more sail trimming, tacking and gybing than you might find on a square rigger, so at times on watch you may be very busy. With two square sails there is still an excuse (if you need it) to go aloft.

11 knots in tropical Cape Verde trade winds
11 knots in tropical Cape Verde trade winds

Life on Board

Oosterschelde is very well known in Holland and a favourite of sea and nature lovers. Her ethos is one of active and direct exposure to the sea and sailing, the region being explored and its wildlife. Below decks the two and four cabins are fitted with a washbasin with hot and cold water. Showers are separate. The lounge is very stylish with a wood burning stove (for Spitsbergen trips etc) a piano and library. All cabins have forced ventilation and a window or hatch to open. In hot sailing areas like Cape Verde the ever present trade winds keep it a pleasant temperature below decks. She has a large galley and professional cook and you can buy drinks at the bar. On board euros are accepted but not credit cards.

Oosterschelde is well used to running sailing expeditions to remote places like Spitsbergen, Antarctica, Indonesia with well educated guests interested in nature, walking, maritime history and local culture ashore. Whilst the ship does do social projects / sail training, for most the year the hospitality and style of sailing is geared towards adults on an adventure holiday. The landing places will be carefully selected to show you the best of each island and there will be some organised expeditions ashore.

The Captain or mate will hold a daily meeting to explain the plan for the day.  Whilst Oosterschelde is a Dutch ship, crews are multi national so English is the common language most things are explained in. 

Schooner Oosterschelde: Going ashore by zodiac in Cape Verde
Photo by Arthur Smeets. Trip ashore in Cape Verde

Accommodation on Oosterschelde

Photo by Arthur Smeets. The saloon on Oosterschelde is huge and even has a piano
Oosterschelde Ship Specification: Up the rigging on this impressive topsail schooner by Arthur Smeets

Below Decks on Oosterschelde

Oosterschelde is very spacious below decks.  There is a wide main companionway down to the main saloon, which is proably one of the most impressive ships interiors in the Classic Sailing Fleet. What was once the main cargo hold on this historic sailing ship, is a large open plan saloon, bar and library with an 'upstairs' lounge with leather sofa's and a DVD screen - hidden in a wooden cabinet.  The saloon has long polished oak tables so an evening meal has an atmosphere not that dissimilar to a Captain's Great Cabin.  There is a piano and a woode burning stove and books, magazines and wildlife guide in many languages.  Oosterschelde is fitted out for ocean travelling and comfortable extended expeditions well away from her home port of Rotterdam.

You can buy alcoholic drinks at the bar if you are not on watch.  Teas and coffee are free and available throughout the day.  There is a professional chef on board and meals on board are an important and much anticipated part of the voyage.  

Guests playing the piano in Oosterschelde's saloon
Guests playing the piano in Oosterschelde's saloon. Photo by Arthur Smeets

Heating and Ventilation

There is underfloor heating in parts of the ship, plus the warmth from the wood burning stove, which is useful in destinations like Antarctica or Spitsbergen. In hotter climates there is a ventilation system and each cabin has a skylight which can be opened in all but the roughest weather.

Cabins with washbasins

Oosterschelde can take 24 guest crew overnight and has 6-7 professional crew - Captain, Mate, Cook, Engineer, and 2-3 deckhands. She sometimes carries a wildlife or local guide.

If you ever want to hire the whole ship for a function or day sail she can take 120 persons which gives you an idea of the scale of this three masted sailing ship

The majority of the cabins are aft of the main saloon down a corridor which only leads to the cabins so is fairly quiet. There are showers and toilets in the corridor just outside the cabins. There are also two 2 person cabins either side of the main companionway stairs with showers and toilets just outside in the corridor.  Oosterschelde has 2 and 4 person cabins and all have a washbasin with hot and cold running waters inside each cabin.  The beds are all bunks and bed linen is all provided.  The crew quarters is in a separate area.

Two person cabin on Oosterschelde with a wash basin
Two person cabin on Oosterschelde with a wash basin

Equipment and Safety

The ship is equipped and certified for world wide charter operation under Dutch Law, which includes all safety equipment and crew qualifications and level of training.  Oosterschelde is fairly self sufficient with a water maker and big fresh water tanks plus 15 000 litres of diesel for engine, heating and 2 generators. Navigation and communications equipment is in the wheelhouse behind the beautiful ships wheel.  Oosterschelde has radar, two compass types, GPS, echo sounder, sextant, SSB radio (medium range, Inmarsat C fax terminal, 4 VHF sets.

Contact with Family and Friends

In case of emergency the ship can be reached directly on the iridium satellite phone (number supplied to guests booking.) but this is very expensive.  The ship is in regular contact with the ships office in Rotterdam by Inmarsat Sat C when out of normal phone range.

Oosterschelde Accommodation - Deck Layout
Oosterschelde Accommodation - Deck Layout

 

Oosterschelde Ship Specification: Up the rigging on this impressive topsail schooner by Arthur Smeets
Up the rigging on this impressive topsail schooner by Arthur Smeets

Oosterschelde - Full Ship Specification 

Three masted topsail schooner - sail area   891 sq m
Built (restored to sail) 1918 1988-1992
home port Rotterdam  
Length overall   50 m
Length on deck   40.12 m
draft   3 m
guest crew 24  
professional crew 5  
Engine    
     
     

EQUIPMENT AND SAFETY

The ‘Oosterschelde’ is equipped to sail the world’s seas. For this purpose the vessel holds all the safety certificates required by Dutch law. The qualified and experienced crew also contributes to ensuring safe passage. On board of the ‘Oosterschelde’ you will be part of the crew yourself. That is why attention will be paid to instructions and exercises of for instance safety procedures on board and your role in these, but there will also be attention for sailing instructions.

The ship is able to produce drinking water from seawater using a filter system. Preservable food is usually brought on board in the Netherlands. Vegetables, fruit, fish and meat will be bought locally. About 16.000 litres of diesel oil will also be bunkered for the generators and the main engine.

There are two rubber dinghies with outboard engines and a wooden sloop for transport to the shore.

In the interests of safety there are safety vests and life rafts, fire detection and fire extinction installations, a very extensive medicine cabinet, Epirb, radar transponder etc.

Oosterschelde hot on the heels of Europa in Australia. Photo Ruud Blokj
Oosterschelde hot on the heels of Europa in Australia. Photo Ruud Blokj

Navigation & Communications

For navigation and communication purposes the ‘Oosterschelde’ is equipped with a radar set, two compasses, satellite navigation system, an echo sounder, a sextant, an SSB radio, an Inmarsat-cfax terminal, iridium telefphones, marine telephones.

Captain and Crew Profiles on Oosterschelde

The crew generally consist of the captain, mate, engineer, boatswain, two ordinary seamen (AB’s) and a cook. The crew is qualified according to the STCW ’95 standards. This means that the captain and mate have a certificate of competency for ships of this size for a worldwide trading area, plus a special module for sailing ships. They must also have the certificates Marcom-A, Radar Observer, Radar Navigator, Medical care on board, Advanced fire fighting, etcetera. Before anyone can be appointed as an officer they need to be able to show that they have spend a considerable amount of time at sea as an AB. The regular deck crew has passed the course ‘safety at sea’, and every crew member has passed a complete medical check up which is necessary for sailing at sea. The regular crew is not only concerned with sailing the ship, but they also instruct the guest crew and help them get used to life on board. In addition, the crew is responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the ‘Oosterschelde’.

Captain Gerben Nab

Gerben has been involved in Oosterschelde from the beginning an sailed on two Round the World Voyages.  He splits his time between being Captain on board and director back in Rotterdam and keeps this busy historic ship running.  Gerben can often be found getting stuck into practical tasks like fashioning a new bowsprit or supervising dry docking and is well known throughout the Dutch traditional sailing community.

 

Captain Gerben Nab is also the Operations Director of Oosterschelde
Captain Gerben Nab is also the Operations Director of Oosterschelde

Captain Maarten de Jong

Maarten is a larger than life character that has worked his way up from mate to Captain on Oosterschelde. Maarten has sailed around the World on Oosterschelde and dealt with every sort of weather. He loves to teach crews about sailing, sail trim and loves to create quite a splash when jumping in the sea!

Oosterschelde Captain Maarten de Jong
Oosterschelde Captain Maarten de Jong. Photo by Becky Prizeman
Current sailing grounds

Oosterschelde - Kit List

lots of swell in Cape Verde

Oosterschelde Kit List

Included

 

  • Sailing Instruction
  • Safety Equipment (life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to including refreshments throughout the day
  • Duvet, pillow and sheets
  • Hand towels

What is not Included

  • Waterproof jackets and trousers
  • Alcoholic drinks but there is a bar on board

What to Bring

Suitcases take up a lot of room in a cabin, so it is better to uses soft bags in a ship. A small rucksack for going ashore is useful.

  • Oosterschelde does not supply waterproof jackets and salopette type trousers. Please bring your own waterproof clothing.
  • A mix of warm and wind proof clothing.
  • Lots of thin layers is better than one thick layer in cold destinations.
  • In tropical countries - long sleeves and long trousers to protect you from the sun 
  • Footwear on board needs a good grip and soft soles- the decks are wood or steel.
  • Ashore stout, waterproof walking boots are best if you are in remote places.
  • Oosterschelde has European 2 pin sockets 240 V
  • Cameras, chargers and video recorders
  • Binoculars are handy for bird watching etc.
  • Suntan lotion, hats, sunglasses
  • Dont forget any regular medication, persciption glasses and spare
  • Euros for bar bill
  • Passport, travel insurance, tickets etc
  •  To get ashore is usually by dinghy so be prepared to get wet feet. Rubber boots or quick drying sandals - depending on the location.

Oosterschelde Reviews

Hi from aloft on oosterschelde

Cape Verde & Caribbean Crew

Together with my husband Bert we were on the trip around the Cape Verde on the Oosterschelde and had a great time. The crew was fantastic and very friendly. They showed us what has to be done to sail a beautiful ship like this. Made some new friends among the passengers and it was a trip I will not forget for a long while. And who knows when we will meet again. Thanks" Jenny H E.  from NL Mar 2018

I've just completed my fourth voyage in four years and it was like a big family holiday! Familiar faces welcomed us aboard, we met up with guests and friends from previous voyages and the islands that we visited in the French West Indies were beautiful. The best part of the voyage was our last sailing day when the "lunatics took over the asylum". Maarten let the guest crew sail the Oosterschelde from St Lucia to Martinique (while keeping an eye on us to make sure that neither we or the ship were in danger) It was hard work but safe to say that I learned a lot more on that day, having to think about what I was doing, rather than just being told what to do. We are just about to book our next voyage" Richard D. British Columbia

 

Canada Tall Ships Race Participants

So happy to have sailed from Miramichi to Quebec! So good to be on this beautiful grand old lady with only nice and funny people. Miss you all! And for this moment especially Richards' breakfast. Thank you so much Jenny Edward Richard Jan-Willem Jurriaan and Maarten, and all the other guests for this wonderful and amazing time. Love and hugs xxx Ernst and Ellen V.

The dream come true! What a georgous trip I had between Québec and Halifax! A part of me will be onboard forever... Il will be back to you, most beautiful ship of the world! I will be back, Oosterschelde!  What a crew! What a captain! Marteen, I could write a novel with you as the major character! You are an amazing guy, a good, a great man! Your team is fantastic! I am now back ashore but... "I must go down to sea again... "

" C'est pas l'homme qui prend la mer
C'est la mer qui prend l'homme " 

Pierre-Luc. Canada

Now is the hour that I must say goodbye, soon you'll be sailing far across the sea. We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when. Maybe in the south pacific or around Cape Horn. Captain Arian, I would sail anywhere in the world with you, your crew and Oosterschelde. Warren C. New Zealand

The Word from European Voyages

Just sailed on the Oosterschelde across the North Sea to the Netherlands! Great taste of sailing would recommend to anyone who is thinking of dipping their toe in. Loved every second of it, hauling ropes out in the elements (mainly with the Sun on my back) rolling around in the middle of the North Sea on the deck of an authentic lovely Dutch schooner brilliant! A life changing experience of the open sea, next stop RYA competent crew! Many thanks to Adam and Classic Sailing for all the arrangements at such short notice and thanks too to all the crew for looking after me and feeding me so well. Be warned though life ashore afterwards can seem very hum-drum." Rex aka Steve W

I  want to thank the crew for the three magnificent days passed on board, between "Golfe du Morbihan" and "Le Havre". I sailed on numerous occasions on about ten different ships, and this sailing on Oosterschelde is the best experience I ever had. I was impressed by the good performances of the ship, and by the way the crew adjusts sails permanently so that the ship always gives the best ; it was an immense pleasure to participate of my best in all these operations. I regret that our different languages did not allow us to communicate more, because all the crew members were really very nice and very thoughtful with us. I have now only an envy: to embark again on Oosterschelde, to be on the deck to participate in the laborers of sails, to climb on the mast to help the crew, and to share again these excellent moments given by sailing on Oosterschelde !!! " Excuse my bad English, Gilbert P. Vernon, France
 

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. 

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