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Wild & Windy Biscay Crossing – Tall Ship Delivery Voyage

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4 Berth Cabin Per Person



2 Berth Cabin Per Person



Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Mon 16-10-2023, 17:00Rotterdam, the Netherlands Tue 31-10-2023, 10:00Lisbon, Portugal Morgenster 15 NightsMR161023

One for the storm chasers and career sailors perhaps. If you want to experience a square rigger in wild seas and strong winds then this ocean challenge could be the adrenalin buzz you are looking for. Morgenster sails from the Netherlands in November, down the English Channel and out into the Atlantic, well clear of the Bay of Biscay, to reach the Iberian Peninsula and Lisbon at a time when the Westerly gales roll in. You may be lucky and get some calm and balmy days, but you will get lots of night hours, 1500 miles of tough sailing experience.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


  • Big wave sailing on an impressive tall ship
  • Civilised accommodation for life at an angle!
  • Valuable sea time for career sailors
  • Fantastic sense of achievement
  • Ocean passage and some coastal sailing, with possible stops in Brittany and Western Spain
  • 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
morgenster across the bay of biscay


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.

Tall Ship Sailing on Morgenster with Classic Sailing
Fly with morgenster


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 – Ocean Milebuilder to Lisbon

Morgenster, like several European tall ships, will head South like a migrating bird in Autumn, heading for her favourite winter sailing ground. This impressive two masted Brig is on route rom  Rotterdam to the tropical islands of  the Caribbean.  This is the first leg of the journey from Rotterdam to Lisbon, with cheap flights back home from the major winter sun holiday destination. 

dolphins under a sailing ship bows by Volker

Milebuilder Voyage – Get into the rhythmn of passage-making

This long 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 . The ship has not planned to 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 two masted square sailed brig.  As a bonus 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.

Milebuilder for the Career Sailor

The voyage from Rotterdam to Lisbon is about 1500 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 stop at ports in Spain and Portugal before you reach Lisbon.

Free as a bird. Why we go 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 Portuguese rias.  

Rough in the Biscay?

Exiting the English channel you will sail past the lonely lighthouses and gannet kingdom of the île Ouessant, this island marks the north-westernmost point of France The winds and currents around this headland can be challenging and this will be the perfect opportunity to practice all you’ve learned the past days. Sail handling in this area sometimes requires the complete crew on watch. Stand by the bunt- and clewlines and be ready to shorten sail!

From here you will sail towards the infamous Bay of Biscay. After sailing the channel you will find your surroundings will start to become quieter and the feeling of being truly out at sea will settle in. By this time you will be used to the routine on board and there will be time to help the permanent crew with traditional maintenance tasks and navigation. Working with leather, wood, metal, sailcloth, sextant, sea charts and all that is necessary and useful on board a traditional sailing vessel. 

The Bay of Biscay has made a name for itself throughout history for its temperamental weather conditions. Parts of the continental shelf extend far into the bay, resulting in fairly shallow waters in many areas and thus the rough seas for which the region is known. On this voyage, we will not sail into the Bay of Biscay but pass it on our way south although some rough seas can be expected sailing in this region.

Stowing sail on Morgenster by carol viggars

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. 

Arrival into Lisbon

Sailing up the Tagus from the bay of Lisbon, you’ll head under the impressive Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge and into the capital. Lisbon is incomparably beautiful and has survived the centuries remarkably unscathed. Here you’ll enjoy local delicacies and a well deserved drink in the warm sun after an epic trip.

Make sure to give yourself time to explore Lisbon, especially the cities historic streets, and the maritime museum which we think is one of the best in the world.

Trams in Lisbon

Trams in Lisbon


Ocean sailing in the Westerlies belt often means a sequence of gales – gale followed by less winds – followed by the 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 you head southwards and you might be in shorts as you reach Portugal.


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

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.



Lisbon, Portugal

Yard of the Palace#

The exact location won’t be known until closer to the time, you will be informed by email once the exact position has been confirmed.

Make sure you take a note of the ship’s phone number to get in touch with them if there are any problems on the day.

Lisbon is a marvellous City, grand architecture and the Yard of the Palace shown above, narrow streets that climb up the hillside, jump on one the historic trams is it winds it away along the lanes.

Trams in Lisbon

Kit List


  • 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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