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Explore the Azores on Santa Maria Manuela

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Master Cabin for Four (1 x double, 2 x singles)



Explore the Azores on Santa Maria Manuela. starting and finishing in the archipelago’s oldest town: Angra do Heroismo on Terceira. 

This is a fantastic mix of lazy sailing and excursions ashore, hiking, swimming in waterfall fed pools and off secluded beaches, whale watching, great food, great company and stunning landscapes.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


Exploring and island hopping amongst the Azorean archipelago, voted in 2016 by the National Geographic Traveler the most beautiful place in the world. 


  • Sail through the impressive Azorean archipelago
  • Gain a hands-on sailing experience aboard this historic sailing ship
  • Whale watching in São Jorge Channel
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage City of Angra do Heroísmo
  • Visit extinct volcanoes and swim in natural lava pools
  • Discover Azorean food and wine
  • Travel in comfort aboard the newly renovated Santa Maria Manuela

Santa Maria Manuela

Vessel type / Rig Gaff Schooner
Guest Berths 50
Beam 33ft
Draft 18ft
Deck Length 173ft
Overall Length 225ft
Tonnage 992 tons
Year Built 1937
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

Santa Maria Manuela in the Azores - Island hopping holiday
Santa Maria Manuela in the Azores – Island hopping holiday


NOTE: The islands we visit are subject to weather conditions. Shore excursions are not included in the price of the voyage.

Our journeys to the Azores have proved so popular that we plan to follow a similar itinerary as we hop through this impressive mid-Atlantic volcanic archipelago.

Distances are short offering a number of experiences from sailing to visits to the islands. During each journey the captain will decide on the best itinerary based on the weather and sea conditions in order to ensure all guests are comfortable and can get the most of these days.

We start and finish in Terceira. If the weather is good we hope to be able to visit some of the central islands including Graciosa, and the São Jorge Channel offers the chance to spot for whales.

Angra do Heroismo is the archipelago’s oldest town, on the island of Terceira. Exploring ashore could include a jeep safari to visit the extinct caldera of the Guilherme Moniz volcano and the highlights of this now verdant landscape  The old lava tubes of Algar de Carvo are now caves, now lush with ferns and vegetation at the entrances. plant life unique to the Azores grows here and there are also beatiful silicate stalctites. Gaze in wonder at endemic plant life, see beautiful silicate stalactites, and more.

There are nature trails all over the island, sandy beaches with crystal clear water at Praia da Vitoria, and even a wine museum.

After exploring the island, it’s time to set sail. There’s nothing the crew like more than to share their knowledge with guests, and they will encourage you to get actively involved with all aspects of the ship’s life. Volunteers to hoist and trim the sails are always welcome, and the feeling of helming a 67m sailing ship as she responds to your command of the wheel is a fantastic feeling!

Knot classes are a great way to learn new skills while sharing stories, and if the weather allows there’s the opportunity to go up the mast or relax in the bowsprit netting.

whale watching in the azores
whale watching in the azores

Whale Watching in the Azores

Underwater Azores is so unique and important for marine life that there are 11 offshore marine protected areas in the Azores Archipelago. As a crew member on sailing ship you are in a perfect place to look for whales and dolphins. The height of the decks of Maria Manuela above the sea far exceed the view point of local whale watching boats, and if you want to extend your shearch you can climb aloft and shout

There she blows”

You can see from the chart above that the seas are incredibly deep around the islands. Wherever you have sea mounts or islands in these latitudes and sea temperatures you will get a great upwelling of currents bringing nutrients and fish that attract whales and dolphins. Around the Azores you can potentially see the biggest range of cetacean species in the northern hemisphere.

24 species including:  Common dolphins, bottlenosed dolphins, risso, atlantic spotted dolphins are common June to September.  Striped dolphins, short finned pilot whales and false killer whales are occasionally sighted.

Baleen whales like the fin, blue and sei are regularly spotted between April and June, when passing by Faial and Pico islands migrating north. Minke, humpback and killer whales are rare sightings during spring. Beaked whales such as the Sowerby’s, the Cuvier’s, the Gervais’ and the northern bottlenose whale are thought to be common in Azorean waters, but are rarely sighted throughout the season

Santa Maria Manuela with Mount Pico behind
Santa Maria Manuela with Mount Pico behind

Mount Pico on Pico

A day’s sail away is Horta and the nearby Pico. Stopping for a refreshing gin and tonic at the infamous Peter’s Cafe Sport in Horta gives you the opportunity to ogle the statuesque volcanic mountain. The island of Pico with is classic 2351 metre high volcanic cone. This volcano is semi dormant and has steaming fumeroles to be wary of if on a trek to the summit. There is more to this island than the one summit and the rest of the island is dotted with isolated cones and craters. Pico was once an important wine growing area and you can still see the black stone walls that protected the vines. It is more famous now for its fruit and cheese, but you can still sample local wine.

SUP adventures in the Azores whilst living aboard 225 ft schooner
SUP adventures in the Azores whilst living aboard 225 ft schooner


Summer temperatures are very pleasant in the Azores. Hot but seldom excessively hot, the temperatures typically range from 19 degrees C in June  to 23 degrees in August, with occasional hot weeks at upto 30 degrees C.

You might get an occasional shower but rain is relatively rare in summer. Winds are typically from the West or South west. The wind strength and sea state depends on where the high pressure sits. If the Azores high is in place actually above the Azores island group the seas can be incredibly calm for an ocean setting. Sea breezes off the land create pleasant sailing without the waves you would expect in the middle of the Atlantic. As we know from recent years, nothing is guarenteed with world weather patterns now, so you could get stronger winds.

Learning the ropes on tall ship Santa Maria Manuela
Learning the ropes on tall ship Santa Maria Manuela


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

Angra do Heroismo, Terceira, Azores

This is a  UNESCO-listed port, Angra do Heroísmo, the Azores’ oldest city, with its 16th-century fortress and Renaissance town. Serra de Santa Bárbara Algar do Carvão with its 90m-deep volcanic chimney, and the island’s small vineyards and lava-rock bathing pools in Biscoitos are popular tourist sites.

Kit List

Below is a recommended travel packing list for a sailing voyage.

See bottom of page for Diving Holiday Kit List


  • Sailing Instruction 
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to include cooked breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments throughout the day.
  • Bed linen, duvet, towels for cabin (but please bring your own beach towel)

What is Not Included

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Travel to and from the start and end port
  • Optional trips or tours taken ashore unless otherwise stated
  • Alcoholic Beverages , but you can purchase drinks from the bar (you can set up a tab and pay at the end). 

What to Bring

For any destination north of Cape Verde warm and waterproof clothing is very important, as it can get cold during sailing, especially at night, even in the summer. A waterproof and windproof jacket is recommended to help keep warm and dry. Waterproof rubber soled boots or shoes are also recommended to keep your feet dry and warm. It is a good idea to bring two pairs of shoes in case one gets wet as salt water soaked shoes take a while to dry.

Madeira, Portugal and the Azores in summer can get pretty hot and it is easy to get sunburn at sea as the air is clear. The Cape Verde are in a tropical climate so a good sun screen is essential.

Please remember that space on board is limited and pack accordingly. Pack comfortable and practical clothing for all weather circumstances, the key is layers!! It is recommended to pack in a soft bag that can be easily stored away as there is no room on board for suitcases. Electricity on board is European 2 pin sockets, please be sure to bring any adaptors you may need. 

Passports, Visas and Insurance

If you voyage is sailing in foreign waters, you will require a full passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the end of the voyage. You will be responsible for obtaining any necessary visas.

We have Third Party Liability Insurance and recommend all those sailing with us to take out relevant travel insurance to cover their voyage. 

Medical Conditions and Special Diets

Please inform us in advance of any medical conditions you have and medication which you might need to bring with you. If you have any special dietary requirements it is essential you inform us prior to your voyage. We will make every effort to cater for all diets with prior notice.

Personal Items

This is a list of the items we recommend you bring with you.

  • Warm hat and sun hat
  • gloves - either sailing gloves or gardening type gloves
  • Wet weather clothing – water proof and windproof jacket
  • Clothing – enough clothing for all weather circumstances (think layers!!)
  • Trainers or deck shoes
  • shorts and t shirts
  • nightwear (ear plugs ?)
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • swimwear (googles are useful)
  • Sun cream
  • Sunglasses
  • Sea sickness medication
  • Personal medication
  • Book
  • Small torch (head torches are good!)
  • Camera
  • Log book (if you have one)
  • Valid passport (voyages outside the UK)
  • Travel insurance


  • Musical instruments 
  • games or cards
  • book/kindle

You can buy Santa Maria Manuela caps on board.

Diving Holidays on Santa Maria Manuela - Kit List

Please note the ship will only be carrying scuba diving equipment on the specialist diving voyages. 

On a diving voyage - Bottles and weights are included in the voyage price.

If you need diving equipment other than bottles and weights it is €150 extra

Nitrox costs €5 euros a dive

Classic Sailing will expand on this kit list shortly.



Santa Maria Manuela is a new vessel to the Classic Sailing fleet. We first became aware of her at the Tall Ships Race Fleet visit in Torbay in 2016. She has new owners who are incredibly proud of the ships history and are developing many new roles for the ship with a major niche in adventure holidays and oceanographic expeditions that benefit the world's oceans.

First Hand Knowledge

Classic Sailing co-founder Adam Purser has recently sailed on board a dive expedition in Cape Verde. He spent quite a bit of time getting to know the ship, its style of operations and the characters in the crew. You can speak to him in Classic Sailing UK Office on 0044 (0)1872 580022

New friends on Adam's voyage
New friends on Adam's voyage

Customer Feedback

Here are a few customer comments from previous trips. We hope to have many more soon.

Terrific crew & ship and a lovely passage to the Azores. Crew & Guests very good and patient with someone who only spoke English. It would be difficult to find a better one. This is a terrifically well run vessel, or was on this trip. Excellent accommodation, well serviced by a professional crew. All very friendly, helpful and willing to give information throughout. Many opportunities to get involved in most aspects of the ships operation & involvement in the vessel's past history.The Island was beautiful and rather unexpected. Best wishes & Good Luck for the future.Very many thanks"
Keith H. 28-04-18

We had a terrific and adventurous time on board during the Sachsen Sail 2018 in the Bay of Biscay. Thank you to all Santa Maria Manuela crew members and maritime greetings from Leipzig, Germany. " Mario L. 25-09-18

Un voilier merveilleux avec un équipage très sympathique .Merci pour tout" Marie-francoise A. 05-09-18


Vessel Gallery

Other Voyages

Santa Maria Manuela

Explore the Azores Archipelago SM030823


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Sun 13-08-2023

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Santa Maria Manuela whale fluke tail



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Sun 27-08-2023

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Angra do Heroismo, Terceira, Azores

Santa maria Manuela Credit to H Boehm



Santa Maria Manuela

Explore the Azores Archipelago SM140823


Mon 14-08-2023

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Thu 24-08-2023

Angra do Heroismo, Terceira, Azores

Santa Maria Manuela whale fluke tail



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Santa Maria Manuela

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