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Ocean Sailing from Lisbon to the Azores Archipelago

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Mon 10-07-2023, 10:00Lisbon, Portugal Wed 19-07-2023, 10:00Angra do Heroismo, Terceira, Azores Santa Maria Manuela 9 NightsSM100723

Santa Maria Manuela is registered in the Azores, so sail the local specialist from mainland Portugal to this beautiful archipelago of 9 major islands. If you want to try a proper ocean passage on a working sailing ship then this is the biggest tall ship in our fleet. The prevailling wind is from the north, which should be a beam reach all the way to the Azores – the fastest angle to the wind for sailing on a four-masted schooner. If you get a decent breeze – which is likely at this time of year – she can show you her true pedigree.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


  • Depart from the Waterfront City of Lisbon
  • Sail a magnificent four masted schooner
  • Visit the Azores Archipelago as a sailor
  • Sail open ocean at night under the stars
  • Watch for whales and dolphins as you approach the islands

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


Those taking  time out from a fast paced world who want to leave the land behind for a while, but not for ever. Anyone wanting to become a blue water sailor and get into the rhythm of ocean sailing.  Career sailors wanting to notch up 800 miles and those who just want an active adventure and a chance to arrive in the Azores as a sailor.

share the sunset with your shipmates
share the sunset with your shipmates


A 9 night voyage from the capital city of Portugal with its narrow streets, trams and sad fardo folk songs, to a life at sea that has not changed for centuries. As trainee crew you will recieve training to sail this ocean going sailing ship. On an ocean passage like this the crew is divided into four watches so you only have to be involved in sailing the ship when on watch. It could be an overnight watch for 4 hours with only the glow of the ships navigation lights to give any clue that a 225ft sailing ship is slipping through the waves. The dawn watch often brings sunrises, deck swabbing and the smell of baking bread and breakfast. Off watch in the daytime you might find a deck chair or a coil of rope in the sun to curl up and read a book, or you might chose to climb the rigging for a birds eye view.

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.

Lisbon – Waterfront City

You might be a bit apprehensive about joining any sailing ship, but it is great for solo travellers as you are made welcome and soon introduced to sailing activities. Pulling ropes together and finding your way around the ship is always a great way of making friends quickly.

After a safety briefing and some basic sailing training you set off on your adventure. At first you are in the river for all the tourists to see, and setting sails on this historic sailing ship will certainly create a spectacle. Once out of the river, the ship might anchor off a beach resort for the night, or you could be straight off into the deep blue Atlantic.

Santa Maria Manuela
Santa Maria Manuela by H Boehm

Ocean Passage

If you are new to tall ship sailing there are lots of seamanship tasks to learn, from coiling like a pro to making lines secure on belaying pins. Learning the sail names is fun, whatever language you prefer. Even if you are an experienced sailor, it takes a bit of getting used to 4 masts. They are called Mizzen, Main, Aft Foremast and Foremast. You could just watch the waves go by and marvel that this ship used to catch all of its cod from small dories it took with the ship all the way to Newfoundland and the rich, iceberg infested grounds of West Greenland. Here tough Portuguese and Azorean fishermen launched a small fleet of dories from the mother ship and reeled in the cod with a rod and line.

hands on sailing on an ocean passage
hands on sailing on an ocean passage

The Azores on the Horizon

In 2016, National Geographic Traveller elected the Azorean archipelago the most beautiful place in the world and there can be no better way to reach these islands than on board the Santa Maria Manuela. Situated 750 miles out into the Atlantic, on the junction of two techtonic plates, this is an active volcanic zone. Only the volcanic summit of Mount Pico retains that classic cone shape, but there are plenty of other signs of past volcanic activity.

Your final destination is, appropriately, the ‘Heroic Bay’ of Angra do Heroismo on the island of Terceira. If the ship has made good progress you may stop on another island to explore in your final days aboard.

Angra do Heroismo is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the oldest city in the archipelago. Make sure you give yourself time to explore its 16th century fortress, Renaissance town and incredible volcanic landscape, including the lava-rock bathing pools in Biscoitos.


The Returning Whales

2023 will mark the 39th anniversary of the ban on whaling in the Azores. Since 1984, whale numbers have grown and they have returned to their old feeding grounds round the islands. As you near the islands keep your eyes open for glimpses of the resident sperm whales. Blue whales have also been seen here, and three species of dolphin are regular visitors at this time of year.


During this iconic ocean voyage you will be captivated by the beauty and power of the ocean. Venturing into the Atlantic, the crew will invite you to participate in their citizen science project, which they run with their partners ‘Waste Free Oceans’. You can help by trawling a small net and recording what you find, be it plankton, fish, microplastics or other man made objects. Your contribution will help raise awareness and inspire change.

Santa Maria Manuela whale fluke tail
look out for whales around the azores



When the Azores high pressure sits over the islands you could have light winds and clear blue skies.

The Azores in summer is hotter than most Europeans imagine. You need good sun cream as the air here is so pure, so the UV light can be pretty strong.


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



Start & End Port

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

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


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