Sailing in the West Country means sailing to a back drop of rolling hills, prominent headlands and pretty seaside towns set beside rivers bustling with activity from all sorts of water craft.
These voyages are aimed at novices and experienced sailors alike.
The West Country offers some of the best cruising in the world in our opinion. Build miles, practice what you already know, improve your navigation, increase your experience, or just kick back and watch the world go by as we explore some lovely Devonshire and Cornish villages. We have several 5 and 7-day voyages available and on a variety of boats.
Sail into places like 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 bustling naval port of Plymouth. You may pull into Plymouth before heading on to Fowey. Set in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty this vibrant town is stepped in maritime history. There are mediaeval 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.
Voyages start and finish in Southampton, Brixham or Plymouth.
Your choice may depend on where you are coming from and whether you wish to do a mile sbuilding passage at the start/end of your trip.
If you opt to start in Southampton you will have a good 100nm mile building passage to Dartmouth and back.
If you start in Brixham or Plymouth then you will already be in the West Country.
New or old – choose from modern cruising yachts such as Jeanneau, Beneteau and Bavaria, or opt for an old gaff rigged wooden Brixham Mumble Bee sailing trawler that was built in 1908.
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. They are capable of taking 8 and on some boats 10 crew but there would only ever be a maximum of 4 plus the instructor on board.
The Brixham Mumble Bee is called Golden Vanity. 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. She can take 12 but there would only be a maximum of 5 plus skipper and mate. You can read more about Golden Vanity, her history, how she is made and what other sailing you can do on her here:
These trips are cruises and not formal courses, but you can learn as much or as little as you want.
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 is also the opportunity to skipper (with guidance if needed from the skipper) the odd 60+nm passage which will be of interest to anyone with a plan to become a Yachtmaster.
The itineraries are obviously weather dependent. Certain conditions may make it more favourable for a trip across the Channel to explore France and the Channel Islands. You should bring your passport just in case.
You will be expecting 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 in a marina, alongside and buoy or at anchor.
Except for supper on the evening you join the boat, we cater on board for all meals. 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 the Mumble Bee 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 of a marina or local yacht club.
The prices vary depending on dates. They include all food on board, 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 ‘hidden’ 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 £40/£50 for the trip you should be fine.
We are fully insured but we would advise that you get your own travel insurance from a company such as TopSail Insurance to cover against things like you having to cancel.
Some voyages can be seen below. Click on this link to see the full list: