An ocean crossing can seem a daunting prospect, not least because of the time commitment. However many ships in the Classic Sailing fleet offer more manageable adventures which still scratch that deep-water itch. When you’re out of sight of land for a few days you can enjoy night-time sailing, stunning sunrises, standing watch, getting into that sweet rhythm where time starts to do strange things, and that victorious first sighting of land.
Mini ocean crossings, from continental mainlands to outlying islands, or between these islands, give you all of the above, and you needn’t be away from home for more than a fortnight.
All the trips below are 10 nights or fewer, and you’ll be amazed how much escapism you can squeeze into that time…
Gibraltar to the Canaries aboard Tenacious
Over 700 nautical miles of deep ocean sailing with 9 nights on board. Starting from the iconic headland of Gibraltar, you’ll sail West out of the Straits and, leaving Morocco to port, head out into the Atlantic for a week at sea, before arrival in the warm waters of the Canary Islands.
Tenacious is very well set up for sailors of all ages and abilities, and hands on participation, at whatever level you can manage, is highly encouraged. You’ll have the chance to climb the mast, head out onto the bowsprit to watch for dolphins, as well as steer this 65m barque through the waves.
Half of Europe’s astronomy telescopes are based on the summits of islands like La Palma because there is no significant light pollution, so you can be sure of phenomenal night skies as you approach your destination. If Tenacious has made good time you’ll have the chance to experience the islands before disembarking in Gran Canaria.
Atlantic Island Hopping on Santa Maria Manuela
Embark in Funchal, Madeira, for this heady 5-night mixture of island exploration and a 250 nautical mile ocean passage. This trip is a great deep-sea taster voyage, as you enjoy standing watch but also revelling in the comfort of Santa Maria Manuela, who’s crew pride themselves on their hospitality.
Your watch might experience the uninterrupted sunset and the first smattering of stars, or the ‘graveyard shift’ when the night sky really comes alive. If you’re on for dawn, you’ll also get to enjoy the smell of freshly baking bread and a hearty breakfast before you retire to your bunk or a snooze on deck.
Your adventure will take you through the Madeira and Desertas islands, before setting course for the hidden gem of La Gomera in the Canaries archipelago. Lush forests and black sand beaches await, and then onwards to Tenerife and your final stop of Santa Cruz.
New Years Adventure from the Canaries to Cape Verde aboard Oosterschelde
27th December 2022 to 4th January 2023
Beginning in Tenerife for your 8 night escape, the seas are already warm. As Oosterschelde approaches Cape Verde the brisk North East trade winds usually give you fast sailing in increasingly tropical temperatures. This will be a New Years like no other, as it will be spent at sea: just you, the crew, the ship and the waves.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate aboard, you might catch some wahoo or dorado for supper, climb the mast, strike up a tune on the ship’s piano, enjoy a drink from the onboard bar, or just revel in the sea air and good company of your fellow sailors. The days will go on for ever as you escape the drawn in winter evenings of the Northern Hemisphere.
Arriving into Sal, Cape Verde, you’ll feel refreshed and warmly wind-swept. What better way to see in 2023?
Sailing the Caribbean Sea aboard Morgenster
Another fantastic taster voyage on which to escape those winter blues, this 8 night trip on Morgenster includes glorious South American coastal sailing before a three day deep-ocean leg to Tobago and Grenada.
Day-sailing up the coast gives you a great opportunity to learn the ropes, and get into the swing of life on board before setting out to sea. You’ll also be able to explore ashore and get a few leg stretching walks in before being confined to the ship for a few days. Paramibo and Nieuw Nickerie offer great excursions, whether its wildlife or nightlife you’re after!
Following your mini-ocean passage, you’ll be welcomed to Tobago with the chance to snorkel on some of the most beautiful reefs in the Caribbean, as well as enjoying the relatively unspoilt setting of Robinson Crusoe. A final 10 hour day sail sees you to your final port of St George’s in Grenada.
Tortola to Bermuda on Eye of the Wind
25th February to 7th March 2023
10 days of ocean sailing in azure waters and warm airs. You will have many days out of sight of land and reliable sailing breezes to help Eye of the Wind along. Time to relax and feel yourself become a deep sea sailor, watch keeping, helming and team work with the sails.
Leaving Tortola and the Caribbean vibes of Road Town, there are a few islands of the BVIs to pass, but after that you are out in the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. The brief spell of sheltered water might be an opportune moment to try out the bowsprit netting or climb the rigging whilst everything is steady.
The Sargasso Sea, in the north Atlantic is the only sea to have no coastline and is named after the the free floating golden-brown seaweed known as Sargassum. The North Atlantic Drift current starts here. Due to the ocean current there is a vast amount of wildlife, so it might be hard work tearing yourself away for some sleep before your watch.
This will feel like a truly epic adventure, and after a week at sea the bustling and beautiful port town of St George’s in Bermuda will be a welcome sight. You may even treat yourself to a celebratory ‘dark and stormy’ rum cocktail before the sadly inevitable journey back home.