Irene – Scillies from Newlyn

Sail to the Isles of Scilly on a historic sailing ship

Irene’s Sailing Programme involves a small number of Isles of Scilly Adventures so we expect them to fill up quickly. 

Join the crew of Irene for a five night voyage across to the Isles of Scilly and back. An elegant 1907 sailing ship that has been converted to adventure charter with a high crew to guest ratio, Irene makes a great summer treat. She has en suite cabins for 2 & Characterful Wooden Interior…and you can even book the owners suite as Leslie and Pat have gracefully handed over the running of the ship to their next generation and Irene’s full time professional captain and crew.

Irene prefers to sail to the Scillies from Newlyn, tucked in behind the yellow granite cliffs of West Penwith and Lands End. You still have 35 miles of sometimes challenging Atlantic to cross but Irene is one of the bigger vessels that Classic Sailing offers Scillies voyages on, so she can look after you on an offshore passage like this.

Irene in the Scillies - Broad Sound
Irene in the Scillies – Broad Sound

This stunning archipelago of islands provide the perfect get away for those who enjoy deserted beaches and stunning wildlife and scenery. There will be plenty of opportunity to flex the muscles with the sailing, to helm the ship or just to sit back and let the peace and quiet of a traditional sailing voyage carry you away. We keep the itinerary very loose on these voyages to allow you plenty of time to explore these islands at your own pace.

This archipelago of granite islands will take your breath away with their natural beauty and island hopping on an eye-catching boat will provide you with images you will always treasure. The offshore passage from Newlyn means the Scillies lie just a quick hop across the water, an adventure where you will have opportunity to haul up the sails, trim the jib and helm the ship. The thrill of spotting the Isles of Scilly when this fascinating archipelago first appears over the horizon never goes away, however many times you visit. Choosing and making your destination in the Scillies is greatly cherished because not only do you arrive in style under sail but you have been part of the journey, your effort and team work has made it possible. There are five inhabited islands and countless uninhabited ones to explore. Each island has its distinct characteristics. Scilly also boasts an incredible ancient history and archaeology, alongside sweeping sea views and rugged undeveloped coasts.

Irene of Bridgewater Scillies Voyages
Irene of Bridgewater Scillies Voyages

Setting Sail

Setting sail from Newlyn in Cornwall, you will make the 35 mile crossing to The Isles of Scilly in around seven hours, passing Land’s End and the famous Wolf Rock lighthouse.  Depending on wind direction, we will moor off the island or Tresco or St Mary’s.  The schedule once you are at the Scillies will be determined by you, If you’d like Irene will take you on a sail to visit a different island or can even do to a circuit of all of them so that you can genuinely say ’I’ve been round the Scillies’!  Alternatively, you can spend another day exploring one of the islands from the land. There’s no shortage of entertainment available. The final day will see us return to the mainland.  If the prevailing winds are in the normal direction, this will be a relaxing downwind sail giving a fabulous opportunity for wildlife spotting or catching up on some early spring sunshine if we’re lucky enough to get some.  We’ll arrive in Newlyn in late afternoon or early evening for a final meal on board. The following day, you will be provided with breakfast before leaving the ship around 10:00 and making your way home, or continuing with your holiday in fabulous Cornwall.

foredeck sail handling on Irene
Photo by Lara Caine. Foredeck sail handling on Irene

Where do we anchor?

Irene has a big ships windlass and a lot of chain so she can anchor in places where other smaller boats cannot, including many spots in St Mary’s Sound where the gig rowing takes place. She only has a underwater draft of 2.5m so she can also get into many of the yacht anchorages. The Cove on St Agnes with its disappearing sandy causeway; Old Grimsby or St Helen’s Pool under the sweep of Round Island lighthouse; the fjord like passage between Tresco and Bryher; The bustle of Hugh Town harbour; or chill out amongst the uninhabited Eastern Isles with only seals and Peregrine Falcons for company. The white glittering sands are reminiscent of the Seychelles, the turquoise waters are crystal clear, but the water temperature is refreshingly British! It is a paradise for divers so if you are into snorkelling please feel free to bring masks and wetsuits. Exploring ashore is a key part of the holiday with tropical Tresco Abbey Gardens to visit, or you can wander lonely as a cloud over purple heathland or beach comb amongst the oystercatchers.


Watching the Pilot Gig Championships from Irene
Watching the Pilot Gig Championships from Irene

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