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The Big Ocean Voyage

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Sun 03-11-2024, 17:00Den Helder, The Netherlands Mon 02-12-2024, 10:00Sal, Cape Verde Morgenster 29 NightsOM031124

Holland to Cape Verde Ocean Voyage

Are you up for a big sailing adventure? Experience the raw, untamed spirit of the sea on our Holland to Cape Verde big ocean voyage. This journey is tailored for the dauntless – those with a seasoned hand or an eager spirit, ready to face the Atlantic’s robust swells. 

Expect the unexpected, from encounters with majestic whales and playful dolphins to the ever-changing moods of the ocean. Onboard, you’ll find a world both rugged and refined. As the days lengthen and winter’s chill drops away to become positively hot, leave life ashore behind for an adventure on the high seas. Feel the spray, work the sails, and become part of a story much larger than yourself.

Are you ready for this wild, unforgettable voyage? Join us and set sail towards adventure!

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

Voyage Highlights

  • Part one –
    • English Channel, Bay of Biscay to Setbul in Portugal
  • Part two
    • Blue Water Sailing to the Camry Islands
  • Part three
    • Hot sailing Canary Islands to Cape Verde.
  • Big Wave Sailing on an impressive Tall Ship
  • Civilised accommodation for life on an angle
  • square and gaff sails
  • proper big ships wheel
  • Full range of weather from Cool Europe to Tropical Cape Verde
  • Possible stops in North Spain and Cadiz area
  • Good dolphin spotting near continental shelf


Vessel type / Rig Brig
Guest Berths 24
Beam 19.6ft
Draft 8ft
Deck Length 125ft
Overall Length 151ft
Tonnage 159 tons
Year Built 1919
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

Tall Ship Sailing on Morgenster with Classic Sailing
Sailing as guest crew


Experienced or keen sailors who have a realistic attitude to the possibility of seasickness, until they get their sea legs, or are experienced enough to know they are not bothered by it. There will be rough seas this time of year so if you get a buzz from being on a powerful ocean going schooner in big Atlantic swell and can tough it out until the conditions get warmer then this is a classic tall ships adventure.

Those wanting to escape the dark days of winter and enjoy an outdoor life with waves and spray, sail handling action and camaraderie on deck, and a very comfortable, civilised ship below decks.  Its a raw, wild adventure with good possibilities for whales and dolphins on this route and the hundred and one daily variations that make life at sea unpredictable and full of wonder at the powers and beauty of nature.


  • Part one –
    • English Channel, Bay of Biscay to Setbul in Portugal
  • Part two
    • Blue Water Sailing to the Camry Islands
  • Part three
    • Canary Islands to Cape Verde.
  • Big Wave Sailing on an impressive Tall Ship
  • Civilised accommodation for life on an angle
  • square and gaff sails
  • proper big ships wheel
  • Full range of weather from Cool Europe to Tropical Cape Verde
  • Possible stops in North Spain and Cadiz area
  • Good dolphin spotting near continental shelf
Atlantic Ocean Voyage on Tall Ship Sailing Morgenster with Classic Sailing


On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.

Morgenster Den Helder to Cape Verde, Ocean Milebuilder.

Morgenster, like several European tall ships, will head South like a migrating bird in Autumn, heading for her favourite winter sailing ground. This impressive three masted schooner is sailing from her home port of Den Helder to the tropical islands of Cape Verde off Senegal which lie on the same Latitude as St Lucia in the Caribbean. 

dolphins under a sailing ship bows by Volker
dolphins under a sailing ship bows by Volker

Milebuilder Voyage – Get into the rhythm of passage-making

This 28 day voyage offers you the chance to experience the true life of a sailor on a proper ocean passage departing from a  cold, dark European port in winter but quickly reaching warmer seas off Portugal and then Africa and the Canary Islands. The ship will not make many port stops, during this trip. Therefore, this voyage is not meant for people who wish to go sightseeing or who know they suffer badly from seasickness.. You will be on board of a three masted topsail schooner for three and a half weeks.  You are sailing through some of the best seas for dolphins and whales in the Northern Hemisphere, especially around the edge of the continental shelf near Northern Spain, the fast tides near Gibraltar, and the pilot whale breeding grounds off Tenerife.

Canary Islands to Cape Verde

Cape Verde is 700 miles further South, on the latitude as St Lucia in the Caribbean, so if you are looking for a good bit of sun, blue seas and sailing in shorts and t shirt, then this is a perfect break for those who already know they love sailing.  The Canaries are on the edge of the NE trade winds but Cape Verde islands sit slap bang in the middle so the sailing should be exciting too.  

Milebuilder for the Career Sailor

The voyage from Rotterdam to Canaries  is about 1800 miles. If you are working your way towards the 2500 qualifying miles needed for a RYA yachtmaster exam then this passage is a good way of getting to that target quickly and with considerably more comfort than a large yacht. If this is your aim, remember it will give you open ocean experience but not much coastal navigation or pilotage, but if you combine it with other shorter voyages it is a good string to your bow. 

A mile maker voyage is principally to get a ship from A to B.

Morgenster is quite a fast ship so it is possible you may reach Canaries a day or so early, but car hire is easy in the Canaries and some great mountain roads and villages to the north of the island to explore, or just soak up the sun on the beach.

Tall Ship Sailing on Morgenster with Classic Sailing
Free as a bird. Why we go sailing

Down Channel to the Atlantic Ocean

The first part of the voyage is potentially cold and challenging as you head for the Dover Straits and down Channel to the Western Approaches and out into the Atlantic.  Cornwall or Brittany are probably your last chance for a port stop as no ship wants to hug the coast in the Bay of Biscay.  Next landfall will likely be the mountains of Northern Spain or the Spanish and Portguese rias.  A favourite stop here is Vigo.

Blue Water Sailing via Canaries

The voyage down the Portuguese coast to Cape St Vincente may still be quite cool but after the Straits of Gibraltar the winds and current should be favourable and the climate gets warmer and warmer. Morgenster will make a stop in the Canaries and then it is a further 850 miles to Cape Verde.

If you plan to stay on in Cape Verde, see our Cape Verde voyages for ideas on what you could do if you stayed on for the next voyage or travelled independently through the islands. (Cape Verde visas required)

Crew ashore walking in the Canaries mountains in Tenerife
Crew ashore walking in the Canaries mountains in Tenerife


Watch Keeping & Working Aloft

During the voyage you will be spilt up into watches, the normal duty rota is four hours on duty and eight off but this may vary with circumstances and crew abilities. This is a deep sea voyage and you will get into the rhythm of an Ocean Passage with time to unwind and enjoy the sheer beauty of the Atlantic. If you like to keep busy then there is always ships maintenance to help with.

Morgenster has square sails so the brave can help the crew aloft to stow sails, but it is never compulsory.

Atlantic Ocean Voyage on Tall Ship Sailing Morgenster with Classic Sailing

Ocean Seabirds & Cetaceans

There are islands off Vigo, several of which are bird reserves and rather beautiful anchorages. The rugged surf swept coastline and drowned river valleys (rias) are a haven for sea birds which wheel about in vast numbers and chase the local fishing boats down the Portuguese coast.

In addition to bird life it is more than likely that you will see dolphins and whales as they too travel the coast of Western Europe and can often be seen in vast schools where the Continental shelf comes close to the tip of Northern Spain. The next hotspot for cetaceans is amongst the Canaries where again the seabed rises from great depths around each volcanic island. Nearer to Cape Verde the ship may be followed by bonito and tuna, and you may spot turtles in the lee of islands where the sea is calmer.


Trade Wind Sailing with Exploration Ashore ?

If you would like some good trade wind sailing on the ocean but would prefer a bit more exploring ashore – why not look at our 11 day Cape Verde based voyages. 


Morgenster – The Tall Ship Race Ship

Morgenster (Morning Star) has taken part in many International Tall Ships Races and is proven as a fast sailor. This sail training vessel is well known in Holland, where she is based, and is making a name for herself further afield as an adventure charter vessel.

Morgenster is a 48m tall ship, traditionally rigged as a brig, with square sails on her two masts. Join her as a member of her guest crew as she explores Europe and undertakes her regular Atlantic circuit via the Canaries, Cape Verde.

She has managed to excel in both thoughtful and educational sail training voyages for young people, and extremely hospitable adventure cruising for adults to locations like Cape Verde or the Canaries.

The style of sailing is laid back, but don’t under estimate the professionalism of the crew. The Netherlands has a big fleet of working sailing ships and the famous Enkhuizen Zeevaartschool (Nautical College) training future mariners in sail as well as modern ships, so the standard of volunteer and paid crew is always very high, with excellent English used as the working language.


Ocean sailing in the Westerlies belt often means gale – less winds – next gale as the depression systems hurtle across the Atlantic. If the jet stream moves North then you could escape lightly and have a balmy sail down towards Northern Spain, but be ready for both extremes. The day light hours, weather and temperatures improve as yo head southwards and you might be in shorts as you reach level with Portugal or North Africa.


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.


  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance


  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs
  • Personal travel insurance



Start & End Port

Den Helder, The Netherlands


Texel Island.

Den Helder, a historic naval town in Holland, offers a variety of exciting activities for a day of exploration. Before or after your voyage from the port, take the opportunity to discover Den Helder and its surrounding areas. Begin your day by visiting the renowned Maritime Museum, where you can delve into the rich maritime history of the region. Immerse yourself in captivating exhibits, interactive displays, and even step aboard a real naval vessel. The museum provides a fascinating insight into Den Helder’s seafaring heritage.

Afterward, venture to Texel, a picturesque island located just a short ferry ride away from Den Helder. Texel is known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and inviting beaches. Explore the island’s charming villages, rent a bicycle to pedal along scenic paths, or simply relax and unwind on the pristine shores. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Ecomare, a unique nature reserve and seal sanctuary. Here, you can learn about the local marine life, witness seal feedings, and observe rescued seals recuperating in their natural habitat.

To reach Den Helder from Southern England, you can start by taking the Eurostar train from London to Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, continue your journey by train to Den Helder. The train ride from Amsterdam to Den Helder typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, sit on the paper deck for a great view. Once in Den Helder, you can easily access the Maritime Museum and catch the ferry to Texel, which operates regularly throughout the day. You can hire bikes as you get off the ferry, Texel being flat is great cycling.

By selecting sustainable travel options, such as trains, and actively participating in carbon offset initiatives, you can make a positive impact while embarking on your voyage. Consider offsetting your carbon emissions through reputable organisations that support environmental projects. By doing so, you can enjoy your day in Den Helder and Texel knowing that you’ve contributed to a more sustainable future.

Take advantage of the opportunity to explore Den Helder and its surroundings before or after your voyage. Immerse yourself in maritime history at the Maritime Museum, discover the natural beauty of Texel island, and embrace sustainable travel choices along the way. An unforgettable adventure awaits you on this day trip, where you can make lasting memories while making a positive impact.

Sal, Cape Verde

For joining  any ship on the island of Sal see the above map for the port of Palmeira. It is about a 15-minute taxi ride from the airport (€15 approx). If you are staying over on the island before joining your ship, please see advice below on where is best to stay.

Voyages start and end from Palmeira which is a bay and small fishing port on the west of the island, nearer the airport. The large concrete commercial breakwater is cordoned off.

Wait under the shady tree near the bar, Chiosco, near the Chapel ‘Capela De Sad Jose’ where the local fishermen unload their catch on a little stone jetty. The ship’s dinghy will come in to collect you at joining time.

Cape Verde Sailing Holidays:

A Travel Guide to Palmeria, Sal, Cape Verde

Worthwhile Journeys You are going to be spending some time in the ports you embark and disembark from. These aren’t just logistical points; they’re opportunities for further enrichment. Take an extra day to discover what’s beyond the harbour. It’s not merely about filling time; it’s about making the entire journey worthwhile.

Keeping in Touch The exact location of your ship may not be known until closer to your joining time, you will be informed by email once the exact position has been confirmed. Make sure you take a note of the ship’s mobile/cell phone number with you in case you are delayed or there are any other problems on the day.

What to Do in Palmeria

History Palmeria, steeped in history, offers intriguing insights into Cape Verde’s past. Visitors can explore landmarks like the Salt Mines of Pedra de Lume, a testament to the island’s salt mining heritage.

Culture Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture through art galleries and music venues. The Morna music, a traditional genre of Cape Verde, encapsulates the spirit of the islands.

Sites of Interest to a Sailor Palmeria’s coastline boasts picturesque views. Sailors can appreciate the panoramic views from the top of Monte Leão, offering a glimpse of the Atlantic’s vastness.

Entertainment The nightlife in Santa Maria is lively, with numerous bars and clubs offering live music. Enjoy the rhythms of Funaná, a fast-paced, accordion-based music style.

Eating Out Sample the local cuisine at seaside restaurants, offering fresh seafood and traditional dishes like Cachupa, a slow-cooked stew.

Nature Nature enthusiasts will find Sal’s beaches, like Santa Maria Beach, enchanting. Activities like windsurfing and kitesurfing are popular here, taking advantage of the island’s natural winds.

Unique Features Palmeria’s unique blend of African and Portuguese influences creates a distinct cultural tapestry. The friendly locals and colourful markets add to its charm.

Accommodation The best place for hotels is Santa Maria, a huge choice.

Official Tourist Website For more detailed information, visit Sal’s Official Tourist Website.

Weather in Palmeria Palmeria enjoys a temperate climate year-round. Winters are warm and dry, springs see slightly higher temperatures, summers are hot and sunny, and autumns bring a pleasant coolness with occasional rainfall.

Sea and Beyond: A Responsible Mariner’s Guide Since you’re already investing in a unique sailing adventure, why not extend that spirit to your travel choices?

Opt for more sustainable methods of transport where possible like trains, coaches or sharing a car. If you fly, and we realise this may well be the case, you could research some ways to offset the carbon created by the flight.

Special Interests If you have a special interest that you would like to find out about for this port or to tell us about, we would love to hear from you.

How to Get There Recommendation for flights to remote or cold climate destinations we recommend purchasing flexible flights that offer full refunds.

From the UK Direct flights from major UK airports to Amílcar Cabral International Airport on Sal are available. Alternatively, connecting flights through Lisbon offer more flexibility.

From Europe European travellers have numerous options with direct flights from major cities. Lisbon, Portugal, serves as a key hub for connecting flights to Sal.

From North America Travellers from North America can opt for flights with a stopover in Europe, typically in Lisbon, before heading to Sal.

From Australia Australians can expect multiple stopovers, commonly in Europe or South Africa, before reaching Sal. Considering the long journey, it’s advisable to plan for a comfortable itinerary with adequate rest periods.

Kit List

What to pack for a sailing holiday on Morgenster


  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals to include 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.
  • Morgenster 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.
  • Morgenster 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.


Online Reviews


I loved it.

I loved everything about my week. The crew were fantastic, the ship was beautiful, the singing on the deck was great fun, the dolphins were around a lot. It was brilliant!

Least enjoy - Nothing.

Why do I Sail?

I love the ocean and have always loved boats. For this particular voyage I was also researching a children's book involving mermaids and pirates!

Liz K sailed in 2017


What was the best bit?

Climbing in the rigging, unfurling the sails on the yardarm. 
The cameraderie between the paid and guest crew was second to none. A fantastic atmosphere. Singing in the evenings on deck accompanied by guitar and trumpet. New Year on St Lucia, we celebrated the New Year 3 times (once for Dutch/European time, once for GMT and once for Caribbean time).
The sun glinstering off the ocean surface like a thousand shards of broken mirror.......flying fish like small humming birds skimming over the surface of the water, dolphins on New Years day: what a start to 2019!
Too wonderful to describe, a life changing experience, I want to pack in my job and sail the world! (making plans now) - Carol from Caribbean Season 2019. 

Great experience, will definitely be doing it again.  Climbing the rigging was the best bit. 'First time' sailor. John M July 2018

"Thank you for a very nice trip, some hours on Kattegatt this afternoon. Beautiful boat, nice and joyful captain and crew. I loved it! Wish you all a really nice trip during Tall Ships Races. And I would love to join again someday for a longer trip." Camilla A. June 2017

Thank you Harry, Mariann and all your wonderful crew for an amazing week on Morgenster. Great food Will, such patient climbing instruction Michelle, fun birthday outing Evy and lovely guests from 80 to 22 years old. So many highlights but sailing at night with sparkling dolphins at the bow was truly breathtaking!" Sue G.

Just returned from 11 days sailing round Cape Verde. The whole experience was exceptional - friendly, knowledgeable and caring crew; wonderful sailing (the 4am night watch experience was particularly magical!); interesting trips exploring the islands; and great food." Julia G-F

The View from Aloft by Virginia Spencer
The View from Aloft by Virginia Spencer

Thank you Harry, Marian, Joost, Rene, Hessel & Willie for a fantastic week's sailing. I'll be humming sea shanties and saying "o nay!!!" for days! I really hope to sail with you again. Happy New Year" Kerry Mc C.

Had a fantastic trip around Cape Verde, Jan/Feb 2016. Lovely crew, felt like a family. Thanks to you all xxxx. Really special people and a holiday to remember. My penguins X" Louise G

What a fantastic time, thanks to everyone on the Morgenster both crew and passengers hope to see you all again, maybe next year?" George Mc L

Harry, Marian and their crew make your stay on board the Morgenster wonderful!" Aleike K

What was the best bit?

The trip was fabulous. The crew were incredibly supportive and even helped me overcome enough of my fear to get out onto the first yard. I felt that I was included in everything and that my contribution, however small, was appreciated. The food was excellent and there were plenty of drinks and snacks throughout the day. We had gorgeous weather all the way. I really enjoyed it. - Caribbean Season 2019 by Amanda G. 

Vessel Gallery

Tall Ship Morgenster 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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