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Travel Advice for Eco Sailing Holidays

drink in the sunset over the eastern rocks

Classic Sailing’s Part.

World Class low carbon travel.

We have always known that all our sailing holidays are a very eco-friendly way to travel. In fact the time you spend sailing you are creating less carbon than when you are ashore. Wind powered transport has been at the heart of Classic Sailings Eco-Policy since 1999.

The real travel eco-heroes.

In a book just published ‘Sustainable Travel’ by Holly Tuppen she describes sailing as the real travel eco-heroes.

Look at the table and you will see the second lowest carbon footprint is for Foot Passengers on a ferry. I assume they mean a fossil fuel powered ferry. 19grams per Kilometre.

I think it likely that our wind powered sailing holidays will produce a similar amount of carbon per kilometer when you take into account, generators for navigation and safety equipment, cooking, manoeuvring into and out of harbour. Definitely the best way to travel.

Carbon Footprint comparisons UK 2018

Short Voyages

If you’re joining a short voyage it is hoped that you won’t have travelled by plane to get to your voyage.
If you travel by train or coach your carbon balance of travel and sailing holiday will be similar overall to your normal level of carbon usage at home for the same amount of time.


Longer voyages

If you’re joining a long voyage it is likely that you will have travelled by plane to get to your voyage. (Full marks to you if you have used ground level public transport.)

You are spending more time at sea and so there could be a balance between your overall travel and sailing carbon emissions compared to a similar time ashore.

Top Tips on making travel more eco-friendly

The idea is to take these tips into account when sailing and visiting new anchorages, harbours, ports, villages and towns. The tips are from the book ‘Sustainable Travel’ by Holly Tuppen.

1 Communities

When we arrive in a new port it is important to understand the effect we have on that community, the smaller the community the more important our visit is.

1 We need to respect local customs.

2 Join in any activity that helps the community where practical

3 Provide encouragement and support for local initiatives.

Tall Ship Community

Tall ships have their own community of traditional and professional sailors, riggers, shipwrights, sailmakers and trainers, by sailing you help support this community even if it is scattered across the globe.

Fisherman - Scotts Head

2 Culture

Traveling in its best form gives us the chance to learn about different cultures and their way of life. 

  • 1 Study the society you are visiting to get a feel for its past, present and future.
  • 2 Visit cultural places and support them with entry fees or gift and souvenir purchases.
  • 3 Look at the vernacular architecture, what does it tell you about, purpose, materials and skills.
The Village Street on Hirta the main island of St Kilda - Classic Sailing

3 Conservation

1 Our experiences ashore should be eco-friendly and fit for the location.

2 Make sure footprints are all you leave on beaches.

3 Engage in any volunteer conservation work or research.

4 At sea some voyages carry out marine conservation studies.

4 Commerce

Our holiday spending money is better spent on local guides, crafts, clothing, foods and entertainment rather than Mac Donald’s this and KFC that.

live music in the streets and waterfronts

5 See if you can Fly Better

Flights – the Elephant in the room!

  • Emissions are worse on take off and landing
    • Seek alternatives to short flights
    • Fly direct rather than shorter hops
  • Jet engines emit water vapour that can cause contrails, these contrails can multiply the net warming of your flight by 2.7 times.
    • Day time flights are 50% less likely to cause contrails.
  • Stick to economy as your seating takes up less space than luxury or business class.
  • Choose airlines with a real commitment to reducing carbon emissions
  • Select flights with newer planes if possible as these are slightly better.
  • Analysis on airlines and airplanes is available at Atmosfair and can help your decision making.

6 Carbon Offsetting – Caution

This is a quick fix that may not be all it seems.

In the first instance follow the points above and only look to carbon offsetting as a last resort. 

There are a variety of schemes with differing worthiness and standards of accreditation. 

Carbon offsetting for flights

Thank you for reading how to be an eco-friendly sailing hero.

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