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Coastal Tall Ship Voyage – Biscay Coast & English Channel in Early Summer

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4 Berth Cabin Per Person



2 Berth Cabin pp



Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Mon 30-05-2022, 17:00Pasaia, Northern Spain Sat 11-06-2022, 09:00Rotterdam, the Netherlands Oosterschelde 12 NightsOS30052022

Explore the edge of Europe by tall ship on this 12 day adventure holiday. Learn to sail a schooner that also has square sails. Oosterschelde is a comfortable ship with an elegant saloon and only 24 guest crew. She has lofty masts to climb, a piano to play and great food. Sail from near Bilbao in Northern Spain to her home port of Rotterdam.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


An excellent challenge for intermediate or experienced sailors alike. An ambitious beginner that thinks they could adapt to the life of a sailor could quickly tackle the voyages on Oosterschelde. She is a big 300 ton sailing ship that can cope well in strong winds and offers a powerful sailing experience and comfortable living spaces below decks.


  • Powerful ocean going schooner with square sails too
  • excellent below decks accommodation
  • Interesting sailing along the French Atlantic Coast and the English Channel
  • Finish your voyage in Oosterschelde’s home port and berth in the ancient part of Rotterdam.


Vessel type / Rig Three Masted Schooner
Guest Berths 24
Beam 25ft
Draft 9.8ft
Deck Length 131ft
Overall Length 164ft
Tonnage 400 tons
Year Built 1917/1992
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

"Oosterschelde under sail"


An excellent challenge for intermediate or experienced sailors alike. An ambitious beginner that thinks they could adapt to the life of a sailor could quickly tackle the voyages on Oosterschelde. She is a big 300 ton sailing ship that can cope well in strong winds and offers a powerful sailing experience and comfortable living spaces below decks.

Whilst the route is mostly short coastal passages, you may experience some quite challenging sailing in the exposed Atlantic coast part. Here headlands have to be rounded and in boisterous weather the ship might have to sail well off the shore. There will be a mix of some overnight watches and some day coastal hops in the. Oosterschelde has three big gaff sails which are all involving to gybe or tack, as well as square sails. The ship already has a lot of fans around the world after two circumnavigations, so crews are multi national and the working language is English. 

"Oosterschelde on the bow sprit"
“Oosterschelde on the bow sprit”


The Basque city of Pasaia has several faces. It is a large industrial port, but at the same time a sleepy fishermen’s village with medieval houses along the waterfront. It actually consists of several villages opposite each other on the banks of the river Oiartzun. The OOSTERSCHELDE was invited to attend the maritime festival in the city of Pasaia and is now preparing for the trip back to her homeport Rotterdam.


Pasaia lies deep in the Bay of Biscay close to the border of France. Although Biscay has a bad name, the weather is often good here. The neighbouring French town of Biarritz was not without reason the seaside resort for European nobility in the 19th century. Along the French coast we sail north. Based on the forecast, the captain decides if it is better to make some miles or to visit a beautiful island or village. There are many possibilities along the rugged coast of Brittany


On the northside of Biscay, the ocean changes into the continental shelf. From 5000 meters of depth we will go to 200 meters and the deep blue colour of the ocean changes to the greyer/green of the coastal waters. From the English Channel onwards it will be easier to plan the rest of our sailing trip. There are many places where we could make a stopover on either the French or British coast. We will likely visit Alderney. It is right on our route and has a sheltered bay where we can anchor.


Via Dover Strait  we will enter the North Sea. We will leave the white cliffs on both sides behind and we pass by sandy beaches and sand banks. Around us we will see many other ships. Almost all cargo from China and other parts of the world that are shipped to Europa will go to Antwerp, Rotterdam or Hamburg and all those vessels pass us by. Add the tugs, fishing vessels, ferries and workboats and you will know there will be lots to see along the way. The Belgian city of Oostende could be great stop as well. At the end of the voyage we will sail up the New Waterway to our homeport Rotterdam, where we started our sailing trip over 7 months ago.



Sailing on Oosterschelde with Classic Sailing


Sailing from  the Azores to Europe is well over 1000 nautical miles and covers some of the best places in the world to see dolphins and whales. The voyage starts off as a true blue water passage with ocean swells and a nice climate and chance to gain a tan.  The ship may stop somewhere like Cadiz or Lisbon or anchor in one of the deep rias off the North Portuguese coast but it all depends on the winds.


Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.


We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.


Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.


Start & End Port

Pasaia, Northern Spain


Rotterdam, the Netherlands


Rotterdam – With Oosterschelde


There are a few places in Rotterdam where you could potentially be meeting your vessel. Make sure you have made a note of the ship’s phone number found in your final confirmation email in case of any problems on the day.

Rotterdam is easy to get by high speed train.



Kit List

Oosterschelde Kit List



  • Sailing Instruction
  • Safety Equipment (life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to including refreshments throughout the day
  • Duvet, pillow and sheets
  • Hand towels

What is not Included

  • Waterproof jackets and trousers
  • Alcoholic drinks but there is a bar on board

What to Bring

Suitcases take up a lot of room in a cabin, so it is better to uses soft bags in a ship. A small rucksack for going ashore is useful.

  • Oosterschelde does not supply waterproof jackets and salopette type trousers. Please bring your own waterproof clothing.
  • A mix of warm and wind proof clothing.
  • Lots of thin layers is better than one thick layer in cold destinations.
  • In tropical countries - long sleeves and long trousers to protect you from the sun 
  • Footwear on board needs a good grip and soft soles- the decks are wood or steel.
  • Ashore stout, waterproof walking boots are best if you are in remote places.
  • Oosterschelde has European 2 pin sockets 240 V
  • Cameras, chargers and video recorders
  • Binoculars are handy for bird watching etc.
  • Suntan lotion, hats, sunglasses
  • Dont forget any regular medication, persciption glasses and spare
  • Euros for bar bill
  • Passport, travel insurance, tickets etc
  •  To get ashore is usually by dinghy so be prepared to get wet feet. Rubber boots or quick drying sandals - depending on the location.


Cape Verde & Caribbean Crew

Together with my husband Bert we were on the trip around the Cape Verde on the Oosterschelde and had a great time. The crew was fantastic and very friendly. They showed us what has to be done to sail a beautiful ship like this. Made some new friends among the passengers and it was a trip I will not forget for a long while. And who knows when we will meet again. Thanks" Jenny H E.  from NL Mar 2018

I've just completed my fourth voyage in four years and it was like a big family holiday! Familiar faces welcomed us aboard, we met up with guests and friends from previous voyages and the islands that we visited in the French West Indies were beautiful. The best part of the voyage was our last sailing day when the "lunatics took over the asylum". Maarten let the guest crew sail the Oosterschelde from St Lucia to Martinique (while keeping an eye on us to make sure that neither we or the ship were in danger) It was hard work but safe to say that I learned a lot more on that day, having to think about what I was doing, rather than just being told what to do. We are just about to book our next voyage" Richard D. British Columbia

What was the best bit?
Variety of sailing and the islands visited.

What was the worst bit?
One rough passage.

Why do you sail?
We enjoy the technicalities of sailing a large vessel and the passage planning involved. We generally enjoy off-shore sailing.

Any other comments
The skipper and crew were very friendly, helpful and informative. Accommodation and food was very good.- Phillip B - Cape Verde 

Ocean Passages

What was the best bit?
A genuine feel for a bit of a longer ocean voyage with great people.

What was the worst bit?
Somewhat cramped cabins if sharing

Why do you sail? 
Comraderie; understanding historical sailing voyages; seeing interesting parts of the world" Robbin C: Ocean Crossings

Credit to Robbin Conner - Oosterschelde Ocean Crossing from Cape Verde to Rotterdam
Credit to Robbin Conner - Oosterschelde Ocean Crossing from Cape Verde to Rotterdam

Canada Tall Ships Race Participants

So happy to have sailed from Miramichi to Quebec! So good to be on this beautiful grand old lady with only nice and funny people. Miss you all! And for this moment especially Richards' breakfast. Thank you so much Jenny Edward Richard Jan-Willem Jurriaan and Maarten, and all the other guests for this wonderful and amazing time. Love and hugs xxx Ernst and Ellen V.

The dream come true! What a georgous trip I had between Québec and Halifax! A part of me will be onboard forever... Il will be back to you, most beautiful ship of the world! I will be back, Oosterschelde!  What a crew! What a captain! Marteen, I could write a novel with you as the major character! You are an amazing guy, a good, a great man! Your team is fantastic! I am now back ashore but... "I must go down to sea again... "

" C'est pas l'homme qui prend la mer
C'est la mer qui prend l'homme " 

Pierre-Luc. Canada

Now is the hour that I must say goodbye, soon you'll be sailing far across the sea. We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when. Maybe in the south pacific or around Cape Horn. Captain Arian, I would sail anywhere in the world with you, your crew and Oosterschelde. Warren C. New Zealand

The Word from European Voyages

Just sailed on the Oosterschelde across the North Sea to the Netherlands! Great taste of sailing would recommend to anyone who is thinking of dipping their toe in. Loved every second of it, hauling ropes out in the elements (mainly with the Sun on my back) rolling around in the middle of the North Sea on the deck of an authentic lovely Dutch schooner brilliant! A life changing experience of the open sea, next stop RYA competent crew! Many thanks to Adam and Classic Sailing for all the arrangements at such short notice and thanks too to all the crew for looking after me and feeding me so well. Be warned though life ashore afterwards can seem very hum-drum." Rex aka Steve W

I  want to thank the crew for the three magnificent days passed on board, between "Golfe du Morbihan" and "Le Havre". I sailed on numerous occasions on about ten different ships, and this sailing on Oosterschelde is the best experience I ever had. I was impressed by the good performances of the ship, and by the way the crew adjusts sails permanently so that the ship always gives the best ; it was an immense pleasure to participate of my best in all these operations. I regret that our different languages did not allow us to communicate more, because all the crew members were really very nice and very thoughtful with us. I have now only an envy: to embark again on Oosterschelde, to be on the deck to participate in the laborers of sails, to climb on the mast to help the crew, and to share again these excellent moments given by sailing on Oosterschelde !!! " Excuse my bad English, Gilbert P. Vernon, France

Vessel Gallery

Three Masted Topsail Schooner Oosterschelde in action and images. Photos from Classic Sailing customers, ships crew and professional photographers. We hope it gives a flavour of her sailing, life on board, the people that come, her beautiful sailing grounds and what it is like to live below decks.

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