Voyage Reports

Sailing in Scilly – What to do on Tresco

Sailing Holidays to Tresco

All Isles of Scilly anchorages are weather and swell dependent, but the Island of Tresco has moorings and anchorages on both sides of the island, so Classic Sailing vessels are usually able to visit Tresco and stay one or two days in a range of wind conditions. Classic Sailing run 6-7 day island hopping holidays on historic sailing ships and traditionally rigged boats to this amazing archipelago of islands from May to September.

Tresco Accommodation – Afloat

If time share cottages are not your thing then there are other ways to spend a few days exploring Tresco and nearby Bryher. Relaxing on one of our wooden sailing ships in New Grimsby Sound as the sun sets, will give you a better all round view than any waterfront property ashore. On all our Isles of Scilly sailing holidays you live on a sailing ship. Our vessels are both your transport to the Isles of Scilly, your holiday home and your floating restaurant….but there is no set itinerary as sailing boats are very dependent on the weather and sea state.

Scilly for Solo Travellers

These holidays are ideal for solo travellers as well as adventurous families and the majority of our customers book as individuals.

Anchorages, landings and things to do

New Grimsby Sound

A long, sheltered fjord between the Islands of Bryher and Tresco, which is about the best storm haven for boats that Scilly has to offer. Its not great in a North Westerly but has perfect shelter from the prevailling SW winds. The mooring bouys are big and there is still deep water to anchor in too. Landings can be tricky – by Cromwell’s Castle or the busy quay at New Town. The Northern entrance is deep and even our biggest ships can sail in under Shipman Head. The southern route is across Tresco Flats and is a fun bit of navigation at high tide.

Sail to the Isles of Scilly
Gig boat girls rowing in New Grimsby Sound, Isles of Scilly
Gig boat girls rowing in New Grimsby Sound. Photo by Debbie Purser

Old Grimsby Sound

On the East side of Tresco this natural harbour has great views of St Martins and the Eastern Rocks. The Eastern shoreline has more sand flats so is great for wading birds and beachcombers.

Landings are on the sandy beach near the new Ruin Cottage Cafe, with a myriad of paths crossing and circumnavigating the island.

Tallulah creaming past St Anthony lighthouse


Things for Sailors to do on Tresco

Buy Art or Paint Your Own

Traditionally rigged boats with lots of deck space give you plenty of room to draw or paint and create great foreground or frames for your sketches. Ashore at New Town is the tempting Tresco Gallery. 

Sketching and painting on a pilot cutter in the Scillies
Sketching and painting on a pilot cutter in the Scillies

Visit the Valhalla Ships Figurehead Museum

Every tourist site says visit the Tresco Abbey Gardens, which are stunning, but as sailors we love the collection of figureheads.  They have all come from shipwrecks around the island reefs and even from ships dragging anchor in St Mary’s Pool. Sobering and sad.

Find Tinkers Hole Cave

If you like dark cool places and wading through subterranean lakes upto your boobs in water then bring a swim suit, torch or candles.

Eat Fine Food at the New Inn

A sheltered oasis of temptation in the centre of the island, The New Inn has just about any food you can fantasise about from Lobster to tapas….Almost as good as the cooking on our boats !!

Rags to Riches at Ruin Cottage Cafe

Once home to a destitute family of 12, and now a trendy cafe that has been awarded GOLD standard from Conde Nast Traveller.

Nice view though and why not people watch whilst you wait for the dinghy to get back on board.

Walk accross the seabed to Bryher

At low spring tides you can study the chart and work out the best route accross the seabed to walk to another island. You might have to come straight back, but enjoy the starfish and look for cockles and crabs for supper. 

Get your Tresco Marathon training in

The terrain is quite varied, but there are lots of paths to run along.  All you have to do is shun the chance for a beer with the other crew and go off in your running shoes. There is a tresco marathon so the locals won’t think you are wierd.

Sea Fishing Off Men A Vaur

Sailing out the Northern end of Tresco is always a bit of an adventure, with strong tides, overfalls and spectacular scenery. As always, just when the skipper wants you on your toes, pulling ropes, you will find the best fishing. Reel them in – Gybe Oh.

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