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Voyage through the Inner Hebrides and strike out across the North Channel

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Single Berth Communal Space



Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Tue 29-08-2023, 10:00Oban, Scotland Sat 02-09-2023, 12:00Belfast, Northern Ireland Leader 4 NightsLD290823

Join historic Brixham Trawler Leader as she explores the Inner Hebrides from Oban, sailing South to Belfast. This promises to be a varied and exciting voyage, meandering through the islands of Mull, Kerrera, Jura and Islay before a deep-sea dash across the North Channel to the picturesque coast of County Antrim and Belfast Lough.

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Ideal Voyage for…

Experiencing life aboard with varied sailing

Golden late summer light and stunning sunsets

Those who want a holiday off the beaten tourist track

Environmentally conscience travellers – Oban and Belfast both have excellent transport links without the need for air travel


Explore quiet, sheltered waters as well as the wide open sea

Fantastic wildlife spotting opportunities

Stunning views – great for photographers

The opportunity for night-sailing

Two very different and equally explorable port towns: Oban and Belfast


Vessel type / Rig Gaff Ketch
Guest Berths 12
Beam 19ft
Draft 10.5ft
Deck Length 80ft
Overall Length 97ft
Tonnage 108 tons
Year Built 1892
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

oban area for sailing


Embarking in Oban and setting sail

Oban’s transport links make travel planning really easy – if you have time, why not arrive a day early and explore Oban, known as the Seafood Capital of Scotland. There are castles to explore, museums and live music to immerse yourself into, café’s to relax in and an excellent distillery, should you want to pick up a bottle to share with your fellow seafarers (at the discretion of the the skipper, of course)!  

Heading out of Oban you’ll likely head up into the sound of Mull, or sail between Kerrera and the mainland. Either way, if the wild, rugged landscape, as seen from the deck of a historic sailing vessel isn’t enough to fill you with awe, there is a plethora of wildlife and landmarks to look out for too.  You may see Golden and White-tailed Eagles soaring above you, otters and sea-birds aplenty.

Jura, Islay and the Mull of Kintyre

This is a short break, with only 4 nights aboard, so there are some miles to be made as you sail South. You will spend some time night sailing, standing watch with the professional crew (a truly atmospheric experience). Sunsets and sunrises over the Hebridean islands are like nothing you’ve ever seen.

En route you will pass the stunning islands of Jura and Islay, and the long coast of the Mull of Kintyre, which shelters the Firth of Clyde from the Atlantic. Depending on progress, you may enjoy a stop-over at the infamous whisky harbour of Port Ellen on Islay, or a swim from the anchor to one of the Isle of Gigha’s lovely beaches.

Islyy in Scotland

The North Channel to Belfast

As you say goodbye to the Hebridean shores, you strike out into the North Channel, the northernmost stretch of the Irish Sea. From here it’s a course just East of South to reach Belfast, coasting along the beautiful Antrim coast. There are some spectacular anchorages along this. coast, if conditions allow.

When you spy the squat tower of Blackhead Lighthouse it’s time to bring Leader round to Starboard and head into Belfast Lough.

This stretch of sheltered water is a designated Special Protection Area, supporting redshanks, shelducks, oystercatchers, sandpipers, godwits, dunlin and curlews to name but a few.

Disembarkation is at midday, and we’d highly recommend allowing yourself the afternoon to explore this fantastic city. As well as the famous highlights such as the Titanic Museum, HMS Caroline and the Game of Thrones Studios, the city also boasts a lively independent art and culture scene. It’s well worth taking a wander through the streets of the Eastside, for instance (keep an eye out for the Banana Block and CS Lewis Square).

Brixham Trawler Leader

Leader is an 1892 Brixham Trawler, one of the oldest National Historic Ships still operating in the UK. The crew on Leader are passionate about teaching and sharing their love for maritime heritage with anyone who joins them on board. You can expect to learn a lot, while enjoying fantastic sailing in great company.

Having had a long career sailing on the South Coast of England, and with a huge following of fans who’ve previously sailed aboard, it’s lovely to see Leader settling in to her new home to continue this brilliant work.


Mostly flat seas between the islands with some more exposed stretches once out into open ocean. Expect a real mixture of conditions, as things can change quickly, but the crew are incredibly knowledgeable and familiar with all the sheltered anchorages and hiding places around the islands. The itinerary is kept loose to make the most of the conditions at the time, and the focus is on enjoyment, rather than ticking off any particular destinations. 


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 01326 53 1234 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.

Start & End Port

Oban, Scotland

For joining your vessel in Oban, the North Pier in the map shown below will be the best place to meet the crew. Your vessel will either be tied up alongside the wall, or out at anchor. Make sure you take a note of the ship’s number found in your confirmation in case of any problems on the day.

Oban: Gateway to the Highlands and Isles


Situated on the west coast of Scotland, Oban is a vibrant seaside town known as the “Gateway to the Highlands and Isles.” With its stunning landscapes, rich history, and renowned seafood, Oban offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage that attracts visitors from all over the world.


As you arrive in Oban, you’ll be greeted by the town’s iconic landmark, McCaig’s Tower, perched on a hilltop and offering panoramic views of the surrounding islands and mountains. Explore the charming streets lined with colourful buildings, browse the local shops for unique crafts and souvenirs, and indulge in the freshest seafood at one of the many excellent restaurants.


Oban is the perfect base for exploring the breathtaking Scottish Highlands. Take a scenic drive along the stunning coastal roads, visit the historic castles such as Dunollie Castle and Dunstaffnage Castle, or embark on a hiking adventure in Glen Coe, one of Scotland’s most dramatic and awe-inspiring glens.


Getting to Oban is convenient, with various transportation options available. From Scotland, you can travel by train on the West Highland Line, which offers a picturesque journey from Glasgow to Oban. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the stunning views of lochs, mountains, and charming villages along the way.


If you’re coming from southern England, you can reach Oban by car via the A82 and A85 roads. The drive takes you through breathtaking landscapes, including the enchanting Loch Lomond and the majestic Rannoch Moor.


For those preferring to fly, the nearest airports to Oban are Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a train to complete your journey to Oban.


By selecting sustainable travel options and actively participating in carbon offset initiatives, you can make a positive impact while journeying to your voyage, where an unforgettable adventure awaits you.

Belfast, Northern Ireland


Travel options.

Getting to Belfast from England is relatively easy, with several options available for travelers.

One of the most popular ways to reach Belfast is by air. There are many daily flights available from major airports in England such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool to Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport. These flights are operated by airlines such as British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, and Flybe, among others.

Another option is to travel by sea. There are regular ferry services from Liverpool and Cairnryan in Scotland to Belfast. These services are operated by companies such as Stena Line and P&O Ferries.

Finally, travelers can also opt to drive from England to Belfast. This can be done by taking a ferry from Liverpool to Belfast or by driving to Holyhead in Wales and taking a ferry to Dublin, followed by a drive to Belfast. The drive from Dublin to Belfast takes approximately 2 hours.

The official Belfast Visitor web site.

Belfast Harbour is Northern Ireland’s principal maritime gateway and logistics hub, serving the Northern Ireland economy and increasingly that of the Republic of Ireland. Around 60% of Northern Ireland’s seabourne trade and 20% of the entire island’s is handled at the harbour, handling around 16 million tonnes of cargo per annum and receiving around 5,500 vessels each year.

Established in 1847, Belfast Harbour is Belfast’s port authority and operates the principal maritime gateway on the island of Ireland. The harbour estate covers an area of 2,000 acres representing 20% of Belfast City area and is also Northern Ireland’s logistics and distribution hub and home to major businesses including Microsoft, Harland & Wolff, Capita, CitiGroup and Bombardier.

Kit List

What to pack for a sailing holiday on Leader

What is Included:

  • All meals and soft drinks aboard
  • All safety equipment, including lifejackets. Please don't bring your own lifejacket, as it may not comply with Leader's commercial safety standards.
  • Your bunk, a sheet, blanket and pillow (but you WILL NEED A SLEEPING BAG)

What is Not Included:

  • Travel to and from your voyage
  • Personal travel insurance (see our advice on Travel Insurance)
  • Alcohol- you can bring a moderate amount with you if you wish- consumption is always at the discretion of the Skipper, and is never permitted whilst the ship is underway.
  • Waterproofs - If this is your first voyage, good walking waterproofs will be fine. We only recommend buying sailing waterproofs if you are frequent sailors. If you don't have a waterproof jacket and / or trousers, do let us know. Leader has some sets that can be borrowed but only if arranged in advance.

What to Bring

  • Please, no valuable jewellery or other valuables, unless you have got specific travel insurance to cover it.
  • Waterproofs - see above.
  • A sleeping bag and towel.
  • Hats for sun and cold weather.
  • At least two sets of warm clothes - layers e.g. tracksuit bottoms, shirts, fleece jacket, wool jumpers, thick socks, and neck scarf. It can get cold at sea even in mid summer.
  • Swim suit and suntan lotion.
  • Flat shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes. Sailing boots or wellies are also helpful.
  • A small amount of cash for jaunts ashore.
  • All terrain type Sandals are great for dinghy trips ashore – but you do need shoes which protect your toes for sailing.
  • Camera, binoculars, sketchbook, a relaxing read, a musical instrument...
  • Any medication, spare spectacles. Seasickness tablets or pressure-point wrist bands (talk to your pharmacist)
  • Your own logbook if you'd like to keep track of your sea miles.
  • Tech chargers (USB sockets are available in all the bunks) and waterproof cases for any electronics. A rechargeable battery pack for your phone / camera can be really helpful, as the power supply on board is not 24 hours.

N.B. BOATS HAVE LIMITED STORAGE SPACE SO PLEASE LIMIT YOURSELF TO ONE SOFT BAG OR RUCKSACK. Please don't use a rigid suitcase or a bag with a rigid frame. Soft bags are much easier to fold up and stow.

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