Ocean Passages

Classic Sailing – Our Top Ten Ocean Voyages

Our Favourite Ocean Voyage

Classic Sailing have over 55 ocean voyages a year. They range from blue water passages as short as 8 days, or ocean crossings that take several months. You can cross between continents by tall ship as part of a GAP year or career break travel plans, or get a taste for blue horizons and day and night sailing on a combined voyage with 100 mile+ sea passages and island hopping. The beauty of sailing through the day and night on a reasonably large sailing ship is you can notch up thousands of miles without too much effort, so it is great for mile building too. You also gain a wealth of experience if you fully immerse yourself in sailing, watch keeping and navigating duties. It’s easy to take time to learn as much as you can from the professional crew. 

Ocean Wandering Tall Ships

The following Classic Sailing vessels currently have ocean voyages from 10 to 100 days

Tenacious 65m Barque

131ft Schooner Oosterschelde

128ft Brig Morgenster

90ft Gaff Ketch Tecla

Eye of the Wind




All current ocean voyages – from mini blue water passages to full ocean crossings

Classic Sailing Favourites – Our Top Ten Ocean Voyages

SEA TIME: Sign on as ‘Tall Ships Crew’

These ships are all sail training vessels so you are signed on as ships crew. This means you can log the miles as sea time for various marine qualifications from qualifying miles towards your RYA Yachtmaster offshore or sea time for Superyacht or merchant navy.

Our professional crews have wide interests and many ocean mile under their belt so you may be able to learn aspects of astro navigation with a sextant, oceanography, meteorology and marine wildlife. Some vessels and some voyages are better for lectures and one to one teaching of certain skills than others, so talk to us if you have a particular interest and we’ll help you find the best ocean passage. Living at an angle becomes quite normal after a while. It’s not as frugal as Nelson’s day. Watermakers and large freezers save the day.

Distance in Nautical Miles

Here are some of our longest voyage legs. To help those interested in mile building we have  added a rough estimate of the nautical miles you might cover in the voyage if you went in a straight line. If you have more time you can spend months on ships like Barque Europa following a trade wind circuit like the sailing cargo windjammers of the 19th Century and early 20th Century. 

1.  Mini Ocean Taster in Blue Seas

If you want a taste of ocean sailing and a tan, then we have several 8-14 day blue water passages. In the Autumn we have vessels heading South from Europe to their winter season sailing grounds like Canaries and or tropical Cape Verde.  You don’t have to do the green bit in the English Channel.  With cheap flights you can usually join in Spain, Portugal or the Canaries and skip straight to reliable sunshine, blue seas and flying fish.

Oosterschelde – 8 Nights – Tenerife to Sal, Cape Verde


Morgenster – 8 Nights – Lisbon to Tenerife 


Sunset ocean sailing on Blue Clipper from the Canaries to the Cape Verde Islands
Photo by Valery Vasilevskiy

2. Trade Wind Trans-Atlantic Crossing to the Caribbean

Traditionally ships from Europe sailed South down the edge of Europe to the coast of Africa ‘until the butter melted.’ Setting off from the Canaries or more ideally Cape Verde, they were at the right latitude to cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean in the NE trade winds. This perfect ‘broad reach’ offers a great way of eating up the miles day after day. The constant winds create an impressive long ocean swell, so look out for flying fish launching themselves into the air from crest to crest.

Blue Clipper – 35 Days – Portugal to Grenada in December

Blue Clipper
Blue Clipper

3. Combination Voyages – Ocean Sailing & Tropical Island Hopping

The Cape Verde Archipelago comprises of the leeward and Windward island groups with substantial 100 mile passages in between anchorages.  Oosterschelde makes Cape Verde her home every winter and has a great circuit around the nine islands. The ever present ocean swell, inky black nights with bright stars above are , schools of dolphins and game fish like wahoo and tuna to catch 

The Caribbean Leeward Isles (The Windy Indies) also sits within the NE trade winds where you can get Force 4-7 for exciting blasts in deep blue seas.  

Oosterschelde – 11 Days – Sal, Cape Verde Island Hopping


Blue Clipper – 13 Days – St Martin to Bermuda in March


4. Southern Ocean Albatrosses & Incredible Wildlife on South Georgia

If you want to combine hard core sailing in the Southern Ocean with an expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia then the annual Cape to Cape voyage should be on your bucket list. Much desired by professional and amateur sailors, bird watchers, wildlife lovers, photographers and tall ship enthusiasts from all over the world, this 52 day voyage fills up almost as soon as it is announced. 

Whilst there are plenty of zodiac safaris and beach landings and stunning anchorages there is also a lot of sailing: Over 5500 miles of Southern Ocean sailing with the albatrosses – mostly downwind in the infamous Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties and even sixties latitudes travelling in the right direction for square riggers like Europa to really ‘crack on’

Cape to Cape voyages are fully booked. 

Why not take on Cape Horn with a voyage from East Island to Falklands on Tecla?

5.  Hot Equator Crossing with Skysails and Stunsail’s

In the tropics, Bark Europa flies stunsails and skysails. These impressive ‘canvas wings’ increase her total sails to 30, but you have to keep a close eye out for squalls and be ready to hand them (drop) quickly. Balmy tropical nights, taking sun sights with sextants, lots of traditional ship maintenance you can help with if you wish, and camping mats if you want to sleep on deck under the stars. The ship has air conditioning below deck but you can also eat meals on deck.

If you have never crossed the Equator, then beware Neptune and his enthusiastic helpers. You will gain a sea name for entering Neptune’s Realm, but not without an initiation ceremony…so be careful what you do on the way to the across the ocean that might earn you a good sea name.

6. In the Wake of The Vikings – Trade Route to Iceland

Discover you inner Viking on Tecla, as she island hops to her summer sailing grounds in Iceland and Greenland. Banished Vikings settled in Iceland in the 9th Century. The safest sea routes to trade with nations further South was to hop via the Faroes, Fair Isles, Shetland, Orkney or the Outer Hebrides chain for Ireland.  Why is this a top ten ocean route? Because it involves some serious miles. The 597 nautical miles distance between Faroes and Iceland is similar to crossing the Drakes Passage to Antarctica….but hopefully not as rough!.

Bluenose Award – Polar Bears & The Devils Dance Floor

Is it a coincidence that notorious stretches of water are located between some of the most spectacular sailing destinations?  Between Northern Norway and Svalbard is a rough patch called ‘the Devils Dance Floor.’ The Gulf Stream meets the cold Arctic waters of the Barents Sea creating swells can reach 30 feet.This is likely to be an adrenalin charged voyage that starts in polar bear country (Svalbard) and crosses the Devils Dance Floor to the beautiful mountains of the Lofoten Islands. The whole ocean route is within the Arctic Circle so you can award yourself a bluenose. (bowsprit cap painted blue) 

No voyages scheduled yet, check back soon for further details. 

8. Ocean Tall Ships Races

In 2017 we had some really big ocean tall ships races from Europe to Canada and back. There are no Trans Atlantic Races in 2018 but they are offshore and will give you a similar thrill as you try every tactic in the book to beat your rivals – sailing day and night.  We like the look of racing from Dublin Waterfront Festival to Bordeaux Wine Festival. Morgenster is a fast ship so there could be a hell of a party if she wins!

9. Icebergs, Orcas and Narwals – High Latitude Oceans

Classic Sailing have a growing number of vessels operating in the Arctic. The two voyages with a sense of the epic are Tecla sailing from NW Iceland to Scorseby Sound in East Greenland and Blue Clipper setting off from Iceland for Spitsbergen via Jan Meyen Island.  The Greenland voyage aims to get into Scorseby Sound as soon as the sea ice breaks its grip on the coast, but the first trip of the year has to negotiate a lot of icebergs and sea ice slabs as they drift southwards with the Greenland current. Tecla’s Captain has negotiated ice in the Arctic and Antarctic and patience to find the gaps is key. Tecla crews saw narwals last year and orca.

The Blue Clipper route should be open water for much of the voyage but around Jan Meyen and Svalbard there may be icebergs, or glacier ice.  

Ask us for details if you are interested in these routes. 

10. Cape Horn

Tecla is sailing around Cape Horn in 2019 and there is still space. Ring us and we can tell you what might be in the pipeline. Europa Antarctic Voyages quite often approach Cape Horn or even anchor off this wild island and walk up to the lighthouse and little chapel for a reflective moment. 

Next Cape Horn rounding is on Tecla, from Easter Island around Cape Horn to the Falklands. 

Talk to the Experts

If you can’t find one that fits your dreams then ring us on 01326 53 1234 as we know what is in the pipeline for future voyages

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