Explore, learn, build miles, have a holiday
These mile building sailing holidays are intended to be just that. A holiday during which you will sail a good distance and visit some interesting places. These voyages are aimed at novices and experienced sailors alike.
Many crew - male and female - join us as solo travellers, though we do regularly welcome couples, families and groups of friends.
Build miles; practice what you already know; improve your navigation; increase your experience; or just kick back, enjoy the scenery and watch the world go by or catch up on some reading as we explore.
If you have just done Competent Crew then one of these trips would be great to do before going on to do Day Skipper. It will cement what you have learnt, give you some good miles and experience, and be a lot of fun. You will go in and out of a number of different ports.
If you have just done Day Skipper then one of these trips would be great to do before going on to Coastal Skipper. Again, it will consolidate what you will have learnt so far and give you more experience.
They are also perfect for anyone wanting to build miles, knowledge and experience before doing the Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore exam.
There will likely be the opportunity to skipper a passage of 60nm or more (with guidance from the instructor if needed). To take a Yachtmaster exam you need a couple of skippered passages that are 60nm or more.
You will very likely get a number of night hours on these trips.
We will aim to sail to a different harbour, town or pretty anchorage each day. However, there may well be days when the weather or you, the crew, decide that you'd quite like to stay put for a day and explore ashore.
We offer a number of mile building sailing holidays throughout the year. Some that start and finish from our base in Shamrock Quay. Others that might be part of a big trip broken down into a number of legs.
Below are a number of options. The destinations on each voyage are not fixed in stone.
Most of the trips will be on our 38 to 42ft yachts.
Some will be on our traditional classic yacht Golden Vanity.
Others may be on a Challenger 72.
These trips generally start and finish in Shamrock Quay, Southampton. The intention will be to go west along the UK coast to the attractive seaside town of Weymouth or the fishing port Brixham (home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the UK) or pretty Dartmouth.
The boat will then head across the shipping lanes and the Channel to France and/or the Channel Islands.
In France you may go into Paimpol with it's beautiful beaches or the walled town of St Malo on the Brittany Coast. Both steeped in maritime history and both guaranteed to provide a good bowl of moules mariniere!. There are big tidal ranges around these parts, so as ever navigation will be key.
You may go to Jersey, Guernsey or Alderney in the Channel Islands. Again there is lots of tide round these parts so passage planning plays a vital role.
You will then sail back across the Channel to Shamrock Quay via perhaps Weymouth, Portland, Yarmouth or Portsmouth. Of course the weather and wind may dictate that you head across the Channel on the first part of the trip. The itinerary is not fixed in advance.
Explore some lovely Devonshire and Cornish villages. Some of these trips start in Southampton. Others involve joining the boat at a port down there.
Sail into places like the fishing port of Brixham or Dartmouth, the entrance to which is guarded by a castle and the pretty town is overlooked by the Britannia Royal Naval College.
After a night in Dartmouth and a good look around you might head off for Salcombe which is a short sail across Start Bay. Salcombe is another delightful seaside town with lots of character and surrounded by rolling hills and fields, a character of the West Country.
West of Salcombe is the beautiful and peaceful River Yealm and then further on the bustling naval port of Plymouth. You may pull into either of these before heading on to Fowey. Set in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this vibrant town is stepped in maritime history. There are medieval buildings standing next to Georgian buildings.
Beyond Fowey is Falmouth. As you enter the Fal Estuary there is a castle to the left on Pendennis Point and a castle to the right in St Mawes. There are creeks and villages dotted here and there, lots of other sailing boats, galleries, and the National Maritime Museum.
A little further west of Falmouth is the sleepy Helford River. The Helford River is surrounded by ancient oak forests and hidden creeks. It is beautiful and unspoilt.
A great thing about sailing in the West Country is that places to visit are conveniently spaced out and within a day or half a day’s sail of the next port. If starting/finishing in Southampton you may visit Yarmouth or Poole or Weymouth enroute.
Starting and finishing in Southampton these voyages go west out past the Needles at the end of the Isle of Wight and visit places like Poole - the world's second largest natural harbour; Lulworth Cove - famous for its unique geology and landforms; and the fun seaside town of Weymouth. You may also go into Portland tucked in behind Chesil Beach which is 18 miles long.
Enroute, you may well stop off somewhere in the Solent like Yarmouth or Lymington.
Sail out from Falmouth to the magical islands that make up the Isles of Scilly. The Isles of Scilly are about 120nm from Falmouth. They lie in the gulf stream and the archipelago is rich in marine wildlife and interesting flora.
There are lots of pristine beaches to anchor off, many interesting walks to be had ashore and for the botanist lots of plants to see. Enroute is the extremely pretty Helford River which is well worth a stopover.
For more details on these voyages have a look here: Sail to the Isles of Scilly
New or old – choose from a modern cruising yachts such as Jeanneau, Beneteau and Bavaria, or opt for an old gaff rigged classic yacht that was built in 1908 in .... the West Country.
The modern yachts - Jeanneau, Beneteau and Bavaria - are all spacious cruising yachts with the accommodation arranged into double cabins and single berths in the saloon.
The classic yacht is called Golden Vanity. It will say in the list of dates below if a voyage is on Golden Vanity. Whilst she is well over 100 years old she has all mod cons like hot water and heating however unlike her modern counterparts there are no winches on board so hoisting and lowering the sails involves traditional seamanship techniques. Her decks are very spacious and down below cavernous. The accommodation is more bunk style and perhaps ‘cosier’ than her modern counterparts. You will be sharing with others. You can read more about Golden Vanity, her history, how she is made and what other sailing you can do on her here.
These mile building sailing holidays are cruises and not formal RYA courses but you can learn as much or as little as you want. They are about building experience and confidence and having fun.
The skippers are instructors. They are friendly and experienced and will find it difficult not to teach or coach to anyone that shows the slightest bit of interest.
There will be opportunity to skipper (with guidance if needed from the skipper) 60nm passages which will be of interest to anyone with a plan to become a Yachtmaster.
The itineraries are obviously weather dependent.
You will be expected to get involved in all aspects of sailing the boat including the cooking. There will be plenty of time to watch the world drift by and to explore ashore.
You might sail through the night one night. Most nights you will be either alongside in a marina, on a buoy or at anchor.
We provide food that is healthy and nutritious, including salads, vegetables, white and wholemeal bread, chicken, lean minced beef, salmon, muesli and cereal. In fact, just the kind of food that you might buy yourself. For snacks there is plenty of fruit, but also a supply of chocolate and biscuits.
If you have any special dietary requirements, be it vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free, or allergies, we can normally accommodate these. Just let us know when you fill out your booking form.
On the modern boats you will get your own sleeping space. You would share a cabin if you come with a partner.
On our classic boat Golden Vanity you would be sharing spaces with others and there is little degree of segregation.
All the boats have hot water and heating. Not all have showers but most nights you will be able to use the showers ashore in a marina or local yacht club.
Prices vary depending on dates and in some cases where the voyage is.
All food on board is included, apart from 1 evening meal if on a 5 day trip and 2 evening meals if on a 7 day trip as we think you might like to sample the local cuisine.
Also included is fuel, gas, all safety equipment, instructor and accommodation on board.
The only additional costs are mooring fees. It depends on where you end up at night. Anchorages are free, buoys are usually very cheap and marinas cost. If you budgeted on between £50/£80 for the trip you should be fine.
We are fully insured but we would strongly advise that you get your own travel insurance from a company such as TopSail Insurance that specialise in maritime travel insurance.
Voyages can be seen below.