Why Our Vessels are the Experts for Sailing in Scotland

Sailing in Scotland – Our Credentials 

Classic Sailing typically has 6 traditionally rigged sailing ships exploring the whole range of Scottish sailing waters every sailing season. Exploring ashore is part of our ethos, so our skippers can be your expert guide to both the scenery and wildlife whilst you are sailing AND and help you explore on foot in the remote shorelines and mountains of the Highlands and Islands.

We offer sailing holiday voyages for solo travellers, couples, international visitors and younger sailors. The sailing areas they cover range from the Clyde in the South, the whole Inner and Outer Hebrides and as far as St Kilda in the West. Northwards we have tall ships regularly sailing as far as Muckle Flugga on Shetland, and often setting forth towards Iceland, Norway or the Arctic from here.

Destination Scotland – See  All Our Voyages  


Eda Frandsen sailing downwind in the Hebrides
Eda Frandsen sailing downwind in the Hebrides

Who Will be my Guide in Wilderness Scotland?

Skipper Debbie Purser has written this article to explain why our wooden boats and tall ships are proven expedition vessels and provide the perfect way to explore the deep waters of Scotland, meet the locals and sneak up on the wildlife. 

She also explains why our skippers are the best expert guides you can have for the Hebrides and the more remote wilderness areas of the Highlands of Scotland, even if some are ‘pasty eating sassanachs‘ from Cornwall. 

Getting down to a puffin's eye view with Eda Crew Mel and James
Getting down to a puffin's eye view with Eda Crew Mel and James

A Boat as my Scottish Bothy – but which one?

“Sailing in the Western Isles of Scotland is one of the best ways of exploring these remote islands. You do not have to worry about accommodation, it’s close to nature but cosier than camping !” Briony, Eda Frandsen

There are excellent charter skippers and mountain guides that are permanently based in Scotland, but those that own their own vessels typically run voyages on modern yachts which are easier to maintain in the harsh Scottish winters. 

The vessels we work with are historic ships or authentic wooden replicas. Most have been exploring Scotland for decades but it is rare to find a hard working historic charter boat based in Scotland all year round. The are absolutely brilliant floating homes for your summer sailing expeditions and are built for rough weather, but they require a huge commitment to winter maintenance.Their crews love Scotland and its in their blood, but  after September they head back South for milder sailing grounds in  early Spring and late Autumn to maximise their season.

We profile six excellent expert Scottish sailing holiday providers and the human guides on board to help you explore in Scotland and her island shores. They all have . great stories to tell of adventures afloat and ashore in the wilds of Scotland.

Tecla heading for St Kilda
Tecla heading for St Kilda

Eda Frandsen – Exploring Scotland since 1992

As the vessel that is nearly always full with happy repeat customers – we start by exploring the magic that is Eda Frandsen.

If a vessel could be a Scottish wilderness expert then this 56 ft wooden gaff cutter would be one of the leading contenders.

Eda Frandsen might have been built in Denmark in 1938, but the Highland spirit is in her timbers. Brought over from Denmark to the remote hamlet of Doune by the Robinson Family in 1992 she was virtually rebuilt on the beach and ready to be launched when a fire almost completely destroyed all their blood sweat  and toil. Rebuilt for the second time by volunteers she rose again like a phoenix from the ashes to become a well loved charter vessel exploring the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

Eda is truely part of the landscape in NW Scotland but in 2012 the Robinson’s sold her to James Mackenzie, who has given Eda another lease of life and carved his own niche as an incredibly popular sailing holiday provider. The human crew are really your expert guides ….as even a wooden ship can’t talk: We would love to know how many anchorages Eda has been to over the decades. The answer is a secret only the ship’s timbers and trusty windlass will ever know….but if you want to know about the crew – read on 

Eda Frandsen – Scotland Voyages 2019 and 2020


eda Frandsen in Scotland
eda Frandsen in Scotland

Wild Food foragers and forever exploring ashore

Eda Frandsen skipper and owner is James MacKenzie, so he can wear a kilt, but he grew up in the Lake District. The highlands have been a bit of a draw for him though, over many years. His partner is the very talented chef Chloe Gillatt who comes from the Isles of Scilly (definately a pasty eating Sassanach). Mate Jasper Troje Tuck makes up the team and he’s not Scottish either…They carry lobster creel and fishing rods and are rather good at supplementing supper. Chloe makes a real effort to connect with local Scottish food suppliers and fishermen and turn their fresh food into memorable meals on board.

Read more about your Scotland crew as guides and Eda Frandsen accommodation and photo gallery on our vessel pages for Eda.

or grab a cancellation place (last one) on a 3 day voyage in the Knoydart Peninsula area (Mallaig – Mallaig) 18-21st June 2019

wild food foraging on Eda Frandsen
wild food foraging on Eda Frandsen

1892 Sailing Trawler Leader – Scottish Credentials 

You will see several of our medium sized vessels described as good expedition ships. What we mean is they are self sufficient for at least a weeks adventuring without going near a marina or shop. They have big anchors and lots of chain for Scottish lochs carved out by glaciers to great depths and also useful in deep waters off islands like Staffa, Shiant Isles or any remote Hebridean island where the offshore anchorage might be tenuous for smaller yachts.

Leader is an original deep sea trawler with a powerful sailing rig and great stability if you find yourself in wild weather in the Minches or in the Atlantic, beyond the protection of the Outer Hebrides island chain. Her wide beam means loads of deck space to store a big inflatable tender, and a spacious interior.

Leader is a deep sea trawler with a lot of sail area
Leader is a deep sea trawler with a lot of sail area

Leader has had a fascinating life since her launch in 1892. She fished in UK waters until 1907, when she was sold to new owners in Scandinavia. She remained there as a working vessel until the 1960’s, when she became a sail training vessel under the flag of the Swedish Cruising Club.

In 1985, she was taken to the West coast of Scotland, where she was used for sailing charter holidays by Don Hind. She carved a niche under the name Lorne Leader, offering sailing with other themes like music, wildlife, art and hill walking.

In 1996 Leader was brought home to to Brixham to become the flagship of a Devon based charity offering charter and youth group sailing. Earning a living in charter waters stretching from Deon to Brittany and North to Scotland and Norway, she has earnt her keep, and undergone several restorations over the years. New decks, and deck beams, re planking and new masts and sails ….all helping keeping Leader in her prime 

It you want to explore wilderness areas with a small carbon footprint sailing ships like Leader are ideal. Leader visits the Highlands of Scotland most years and has made many trips to the Western Fjords of Norway. She often sails with a walking guide, musician or popular wildlife experts like Kenny Taylor.

Read more about Leader -and skipper Emma    


Leader Scotland Voyages

Take a sailing ship to remote beaches in the Hebrides
Take a sailing ship to remote beaches in the Hebrides

Irene – Elegant 1907 trading ketch with Sea Kayaks & Guides

Irene once provided rugged luxury to the stars with clients like Mick Jagger, but today she takes the rest of us on adventures, anywhere with beautiful scenery and wildlife. Scotland is one of her favourite sailing grounds and features every year. Like Leader she has big, broad wooden decks. Not only does she carry a big inflatable ships boat, she also has some Scottish voyages with sea kayaks on board.

If you love comfortable 2 person ensuite cabins and an interior oozing wooden character then Irene is a great choice for Scotland summer sailing holidays.

Her voyages offer a unique opportunity to explore the breath-taking beautiful area of the Small Isles; Muck, Eigg, Rhum and Canna. Under instruction of the onboard sea kayaking and walking guide, not to mention your expert skipper, these voyages combine traditional sailing on a beautiful West Country trading ketch, whilst offering the opportunity to get closer to the finer details of your environment by kayak and by foot. Suitable for those of all ages, all sailing, kayaking and walking abilities too.  

Her season in Scotland is full in 2019, apart from a Celtic journey sailing South from Oban to Swansea on 21st June, but we eagerly await her 2020 season out soon.

Irene Voyages in Scotland 

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Ashore with the puffins and sea eagles in the Shiant Islands
Ashore with the puffins and sea eagles in the Shiant Islands

Tecla – Nearly Always first to St Kilda

This Dutch tall ship is another one of our fleet, drawn to wilderness locations, mountain scenery and connecting with self sufficient local communities. She always has an energetic crew, keen to encourage you to climb mountain summits or search for otters along the shoreline. They have now been using Ullapool as their base for Scottish sailing expeditions for at least 5 years and are part of the scenery now in Loch Broom and out in the St Kilda archipelago. Less well known is the skipper Gijs love for the Orkney Isles and Shetland, and Tecla try to spend as much time here as they can on their way upto Iceland and Greenland each summer.

If you want to sail with them in 2020, now is the time to book as they are about to attempt the NW Passage from West Greenland to Alaska this summer. After that, they will be a lot more famous and the 12 berths on each 2020 voyage in Scotland, Orkney, Fair Isle, Shetland and Faroes are likely to be over subscribed.


See Tecla 2019-2020 Scottish Sailing Programme 


Tecla World Voyage 2019-20

Tecla sunset landing on Mousa in Shetland
Tecla sunset landing on Mousa in Shetland

Maybe & Blue Clipper – ‘Young Pretenders’

Happily breeding the next generation of intrepid explorers, the gaff ketch Maybe and three masted schooner Blue Clipper run a lot of apprentice schemes for young career sailors and mix youth sail training work with adult adventure charter each year. Both vessels roam far and wide and Blue Clipper has experienced ocean sailors as your skipper and guide. 

Maybe is sailing accross the middle of Scotland with a voyage from Oban to Aberdeen, via the Caledonian Canal. A unique way of seeing Ben Nevis, Loch Ness and sailing the East Coast from Moray Firth to Aberdeen.

Both ships have places in Scotland still available in 2019.

bowsprit heaven for Maybe
bowsprit heaven for Maybe

Lord Nelson – Accessible Sailing in Wild Places like Scotland & Orkney

Several of Lord Nelson ships crew either live in Scotland or have worked up her on boats for years. You never quite know who might be your guide on board Whilst sailing on Lord Nelson I have met crofting experts, sheep farmers from Skye, First Mates that once worked with youngsters from Gourdonstoun School and at least 2 of their tall ship Captain’s that lived their shore lives in Scotland. Who ever is on board your trip, they are definitely the experts in helping disabled crew go places that even they didn’t think they could reach. The ship is built so that able bodied and disabled crew can sail this square rigger as equals. Wheel chair users aloft, blind sailors on mountaintops, profoundly deaf crew communing with dolphins….the crew work hard to make the magic keep happening.

The ‘Nellie is sailing up the West Coast, and around Cape Wrath in June 2019 and sailing back from Iceland, using Shetland and Orkney as stepping stones on the way to Edinburgh in September.

Tall Ship Lord Nelson in Scotland 


Whale and dolphin watching from the fo'castle of a tall ship
Whale and dolphin watching from the fo'castle of a tall ship





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