What is a Coastal Wandering Voyage?
We have recently coined the phrase ‘Coastal wandering voyage.’ If the description below sounds like you, then the type of voyages we are describing in this article might be just what you are looking for.
- Are you the sort of person who heads for the coast to chill out and decompress from a frenetic life?
- Do you want a break from tight itineraries and deadlines?
- Is the only ‘rush’ you want is when a good breeze pips up and everyone hurries to set more sail?
- Do you want to have time to wander lonely as a cloud along a shoreline, once the ship is safely anchored?
- Prefer not to beat to windward when there is a more inviting destination you could head for on a beam reach?
Exploring the Coast in Intimate Detail
Coastal wandering, in our view, applies to voyages that intend to explore a relatively small section of the coast in intimate detail. The skipper is not in a rush to get to an end port that is hundreds of miles away. Quite often the port where you join is where you will ultimately come back to. A bit like a circular walk, but with the sea you have more freedom in your route and are not constrained to a well trampled path.
Sometimes you can sail really close to the shore and peak into every secret cove. Other days the cliffs are a dangerous lee shore or the surf is rolling up the beaches and you have to stay further out to sea and sail between headlands. You might have to tack in to rivers which great physical effort and lots of hauling, or simply ghost all the way in easily with all the sails up.
Every Day is Different
The magic works particularly well in a location where the boat crew are local experts on what to see and do. It can be a short break in Suffolk or Cornwall or a week long ‘tour’ around favourite Scottish islands that are only a days sailing apart.
Sailing skippers rarely get bored with their favourite anchorages. The order in which you might visit them depends on the forecast for the next few days and perhaps your interests and expectations. For them every port approach, or route in to a bay to anchor, is different as it has so many variables. Low tide, high tide, brisk offshore winds and flat seas, light fading, summer gale, ocean swell, gannets diving, basking shark spotted, or perhaps a late evening approach in moonlight, there is always something new to experience.
Going ashore by ships dinghy can be to ancient stone steps, a sandy beach, a pontoon or onto rocks or up a ladder in a fishing port. Even finding the pub can be an adventure. None of the vessels we work with are fans of marinas but sometimes a shower ashore is a nice treat. Marinas, sailing clubs or even pubs can have showers when you are in more remote spots.
A Local Skipper as Your Guide
There is always a story to tell if you are a skipper in a familiar sailing ground. Typically the skipper and crew on Classic Sailing vessels are living on the boat for more than a season and are often the owners of the vessel. They are often well known locally and the font of much knowledge.
It really enhances your holiday to be shown around by a local skipper. Let them tell you about gossip from the shore, quizz them about oat building projects in the neighbourhood or local history, where to see what wildlife, what the fishing is like, boats passing by, what the commercial shipping is up to, the best place to pick samphire or mussels. You will be surprised at the range of topics boat crews can talk about.
No Fixed Itinerary – Go With the Wind
Without the pressure of having to make lots of sea miles every day, the skipper can chose sailing directions that give you the best variety of sailing and combination of stopping points. Fast sailing, comfortable sailing, gentle introductions or high wind blasts, the skipper can fit the route to match the guest crew needs and experience much more easily without a fixed itinerary (apart from the last day)