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St Kilda, Rockall and the Hebrides. Darwin200 leg 2

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Sun 13-06-2021, 12:00Liverpool Sat 17-07-2021, 10:00Portree Pelican 34 NightsPE/Leg2

Darwin200 is a planetary conservation initiative, which aims to change the world. It will create the next 200 pioneers of global science and conservation – Darwin200 Leaders – by giving them a life-changing experience, which will inspire and empower them to change their lives and give them the skills they need to help conserve the world of tomorrow.

The middle Leg of Darwin200 UK Voyage 2021 highlights include, subject to weather, St Kilda, Rockall and Fingal’s Cave on Staffa, the Inner and Outer Hebrides. This is a voyage of discovery, research, and science with expert lecturers and guides on board.

Sailing on Pelican for the UK Darwin200 tour with Classic Sailing
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The Sponsors have helped reduce your voyage fee!

The UK Voyage is mostly paid for through sponsorship! We ask you to pay only a small contribution to cover your food costs and basic expenses directly incurred by your participation.

Join the UK Voyage at a fraction of the real cost of participation.

This really is a once in a life time opportunity!

Magical Islands

The British archipelago comprises over 6,000 islands.

In 2019, Lonely Planet selected the UK’s outer islands as one of the best destinations in Europe! The Darwin 200 UK Voyage will take you to discover the magic of these isles shimmering in the sea mists.

We invite YOU to take part!

Our 2021 journey will be 13-weeks long, and split into three voyage legs. Come for any of the three voyage legs (in any combination).

We will be bringing on board a contingent of young scientist volunteers, to continue and expand the programme of marine research which began in 2020.

You can get onboard as a –

Darwin200 Sailor – Darwin200 Leader – Darwin200 Mentor

Getting onboard details


Vessel type / Rig Main-Mast Barquentine, Xebec or Polacre
Guest Berths 28 in seven four-berth cabins, most of which include an en-suite bathroom with half-bath, shower and vacuum toilet.
Beam Max beam 7.03M
Draft Max 4.00M
Deck Length 32.0M
Overall Length Length Extreme 45.00M
Tonnage GRT 226 Tonnes
Year Built 1948 Reconstructed 2007
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

Pelican 2021 VOYAGES – Leg 2

VOYAGE LEG 1: SOUTHAMPTON TO LIVERPOOL Sunday May 16th to Saturday, June 12th  Follow Link

VOYAGE LEG 2: LIVERPOOL to PORTREE Sunday June 13th to Saturday July 17th  See Below

VOYAGE LEG 3: PORTREE TO LONDON Sunday July 18th to Saturday August 14th.  Follow Link


Preparing an detailed day-by-day itinerary in advance is not practical for long tall ship voyages, as weather conditions are extremely likely to alter the intended route, the locations that can be visited, and the amount of time that can be spent at each place along the route. Below we have sketched out our ambitious plans but at sea you have to adapt to the changing weather and tides.

Pelican Darwin 200 with Classic Sailing
sailing on pelican


Note: Voyage Leg 2 is planned a little differently from Voyage Legs 1 and 3. This leg is focused on offering the very special opportunity to visit the breath-taking islands of St Kilda (one of the most spectacular of all the British Isles) and Rockall (which very few people visit – especially on a tall ship)!

Visits to St Kilda and Rockall are extremely weather-dependent (reaching neither is guaranteed). Fortunately, the Hebrides are regarded as among the most beautiful temperate islands of the world, with no end of fascinating locations to visit.

Sailing to St Kilda with Classic Sailing

We will explore the Hebrides whilst waiting for suitable weather. When a suitable weather window does arise, we will sail directly to St Kilda and Rockall (prioritising the former). If we experience good weather, visiting both should be possible within 7-10 days, allowing the rest of the duration of this leg to be dedicated to visiting the most fascinating and beautiful sites that the beautiful Hebrides have to offer!

Day 1 (Sunday, June 13th): Arrive at Pelican of London in Liverpool Docks, England, by 12:00 noon (lunchtime) for afternoon safety briefings and sail training sessions. All accommodation and meals included from this point aboard Pelican of London until breakfast on final day of this voyage leg.

Day 2 (June 14th): Full day of safety briefings and sail training sessions on Pelican of London in Liverpool.

Day 3 (June 15th)Day 5 (June 17th): Depart Liverpool and sail to Hebrides. Explore Hebrides until a suitable weather window presents.

Day 6 (June 18th) – Day 33 (July 15th): Use weather window to sail to St Kilda and Rockall then return back to the Hebrides.

On St Kilda, perhaps the highlight of the entire voyage, we have a day ashore to explore the world-famous abandoned stone villages, observe immense seabird colonies (home to more than 60,000 gannet nests alone!) and hike amongst some of the most dramatic scenery in Europe.

Sail on Pelican for the Darwin 200 UK tour 2021 with Classic Sailing

If weather permits sailing to Rockall, we will glimpse the dramatic, rocky cliffs of this uninhabited granite islet. There are probably fewer people alive today that have seen Rockall than have been to Antarctica. The journey there and back provides a fantastic opportunity to sail Pelican of London on the open sea, using her spectacular square sails to their best!

After visiting St Kilda and Rockall, we spend the remaining days to visit many of the most enchanting islands in Europe. Our exact itinerary will depend upon the weather, but we can develop a route through the breath-taking islands and sea lochs of the Hebrides with the goal of visiting the following (landing where conditions allow):

Isles of Lewis and Harris, stunning islands of wind-lashed heathland devoid of trees, but favoured by a surprisingly mild climate warmed by the Gulf Stream, and littered with exquisite white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Across these islands, the classic Scottish highland cattle were bred, alongside greylag geese and golden eagles. Participants can visit the Callanish stone circle – 80 m long and 5,000 years old (older than the Egyptian pyramids!) and visit a traditional Scottish black house village!

Isle of Skye, home to iron age hill forts, the spectacular Cuillin mountains, and one of the British Isles’ most dramatic landscapes around the Old Man of Storr pinnacle. Sailing south from the Isle of Skye, we pass several of Scotland’s most dramatic island castles, including Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull.

We can sail to see the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest whirlpool in the world, where flood tides and inflow from the Firth of Lorne can create waves of more than 9 m. The roar of the resulting maelstrom can be heard 15 km away!

Lastly, we visit Staffa Island, perhaps the most bizarre of all of the western British Isles. Named by Vikings from the old Norse word stave, meaning ‘pillar’, it is made of giant, basalt pillar-like columns. We explore the unearthly landscape of Staffa Island, and visit Fingal’s Cave, famed for its acoustics and “wind music”.

Day 34 (July 16th): Sail to PORTREE, on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

Day 35 (Saturday, July 17th): Disembarkation in PORTREE by 10 am. END OF VOYAGE LEG.

Note: rest days in key ports will be scheduled over the course of the above Voyage Leg. The above itinerary will change (as a result of the dynamic nature of tall ship voyages). But above is an outline of the intended plan.

Pabbay by Adam Purser of Classic Sailing

Getting ready for Darwin 200 – Around the World in 2022

In preparation for the upcoming Darwin200 voyage around the world following Charles Darwin’s journey on HMS Beagle, the Darwin200 Team has chartered the tall ship Pelican of London to undertake a voyage around the UK to test our project systems, undertake promotional activities in major UK cities and ports, and to visit the most spectacular and interesting islands in the British Archipelago!

Join the UK Voyage in 2021

Learn the ropes sailing aboard the spectacular tall ship Pelican and be part of the Darwin200 UK Voyage!

Between 24-hour stops in ports around the UK’s coasts, we will sail to the most interesting and beautiful corners of the British Isles. We will explore breath-taking lochs and pass dramatic castles. We will land (where possible) to see circles of ancient standing stones, the abandoned villages of the mysterious ‘lost’ island of St Kilda, spot whales and seals, and pass immense cliffside seabird colonies!


The Sponsors have helped reduce your voyage fee!

The UK Voyage is mostly paid for through sponsorship! We ask you to pay only a small contribution to cover your food costs and basic expenses directly incurred by your participation.

Join the UK Voyage at a fraction of the real cost of participation.

This really is a once in a life time opportunity!

Magical Islands

The British archipelago comprises over 6,000 islands.

In 2019, Lonely Planet selected the UK’s outer islands as one of the best destinations in Europe! They are often voted amongst the most beautiful islands in the world, yet few outsiders get to experience them in full. The Darwin 200 UK Voyage will take you to discover the magic of these isles shimmering in the sea mists.

Last year, during the summer of 2020, Darwin 200 chartered Pelican of London and undertook a very successful 7 week journey around the UK. Our team of young scientists undertook science projects in UK waters, and observed countless common dolphins, harbour porpoises, many bottle nosed dolphins, great numbers of sunfish, blue fin tuna, a basking shark, several minke whales and immense seabird colonies (including tens of thousands of northern gannets on Bass Rock).

Sail on Tall Ship Blue Clipper aiming for St Kilda with Classic Sailing

We also visited the 5,000 year old standing-stone circles of Callenish, a village of traditional blackheath houses, the beautiful white sand beaches of the Scilly Isles and countless other fascinating sites of interest.

Benefiting from the experience of running 2020 voyage, we have planned this 2021 charter to be even better. The 2021 trip is starting earlier in the year (for better weather) and we have scheduled more time at each location that we sail to, in order to provide even greater opportunities to landing ashore, observing wildlife and visiting sites of interest

The incredible sailing experience.

Sailing Pelican of London is an incredible experience. From observing sunsets from the deck, to seeing dolphins in the bow wave, you’ll leave this voyage with memories that you will never forget.

Participants much be aware that this voyage is not a luxury cruise. All voyage crew will be expected to take part in sailing activities, including night watches. Please watch our 2020 voyage videos to make sure this trip is right for you (see page 16). A reasonable level of fitness and willingness to work together are essential.

Sail on Pelican for the Darwin200 with Classic Sailing

No previous sailing experience is required.

We are looking for voyage crew to supplement our professional crew to sail Pelican of London.

The professional crew will offer participants all required training and guidance. Participants will be expected to assist with sailing in 4 hour on / 8 hour off shifts. This is an incredible opportunity to learn how to sail, or to have a unique sailing experience led by professional sailors on a stunning tall ship!


No prior sailing experience is required. All participants need to arrive approx. 36 hours before we set sail for safety briefing and sail training sessions. For example, to join Voyage Leg 1, you are required to arrive at Pelican of London in Southampton Docks by 12 noon on Sunday, May 16th for training sessions on the afternoon of May 17th and all of May 17th, ready to set sail on May 18th.

Sail on Pelican for the Darwin 200 UK tour 2021 with Classic Sailing

VOYAGE DATES: we have carefully scheduled each Voyage Leg to minimise the number of ‘work days’ required by those taking leave from their employment. Each Voyage Leg requires you to arrive on a Sunday by noon (allowing travel beforehand over the previous Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning). All voyage legs end on a Saturday, giving you the weekend to return home and re-adjust to normality before returning to work the following Monday. Only 20 work days leave are needed to join Voyage Leg 1 and Voyage Leg 3, and only 25 work days are needed for Voyage Leg 2.


A rigorous Covid-19 strategy is in place to prevent Covid-19 being contracted by any participants of the UK Voyage. This strategy worked extremely effectively during our 2020 voyage, during which no Covid-19 cases arose whatsoever. All participants will be tested for Covid-19 prior to commencement of the UK Voyage.

Temperatures will be taken on a daily basis for the first 14 days of participation. Protocols will be in place throughout the voyage, to ensure we undertake this journey Covid-19 free, so all participants are safe!

Pelican Darwin200 with Classic Sailing

Start & End Port



Liverpool has a vast complex of docks from its heyday as the commercial centre of world shipping. The Albert Dock, Maritime Museum and iconic Liver Building are all are relatively short walk from the central station and city centre.

If you are joining one of our vessels during a festival then they are likely to be in one of the docks near Albert Dock. However please make sure you confirm which dock for your vessel before departure, and take the ships phone number with you when you travel, in case they are allocated a different berth by the harbour authorities.


Kit List

Pelican Darwin 200 with Classic Sailing


  • Sailing Instruction
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to include refreshments throughout the day

What is not included

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Towels
  • Wellie boots

Darwin200 Kit List - WHAT TO TAKE
Storage space is limited. Please do not bring more than one large fabric bag (e.g. a sailor bag with straps), plus one small day pack. Do not bring a hard-shell suitcase (which is difficult to stow).

We recommend that you bring what you need from the items listed below. Bring everything you need for the entire duration of your participation on the voyage as you possibly will not have access to any shops from start to finish (e.g. bring all the toothpaste etc. for your personal needs).

You will need to unpack everything into a small locker once you are on board. Stuff bags are a good way of keeping your kit organised. Look for those with waterproof seals – you can put your valuables in them and then in your rucksack for trips ashore.

Please note: washing can be undertaken on Pelican of London, so you will have the opportunity to wash your clothes on a weekly basis. Bring sufficient clothing for your needs between weekly laundry washes.

HEALTH INSURANCE RECORDS: It is your responsibility to purchase appropriate personal health
insurance and provide evidence of this before departure. We recommend that you obtain policies with medical care and evacuation coverage of over £1,000,000. You should also have the emergency number for your provider safely recorded both on paper and on your phone.
IMMUNISATION RECORDS: Please bring your immunisation records with you (see section 5.2).
PASSPORT: we are going to be on a sailing ship; should we need to divert (e.g. in the event of an
emergency) we could find ourselves outside of UK waters; a passport is essential.

Clothing that we recommend you consider bringing include:
1 * pair of suitable shoes for wearing on the deck or climbing the rigging of Pelican of London when
sailing, e.g. sturdy trainers (sneakers)
1 * pair of wellington boots / gum boots (for landing on islands)
1 * pair of walking shoes for exploring islands we visit
2 * light wool sweater / jumper / fleece
1 * warm Jacket (3rd layer)
1 * waterproof jacket – strong and light material that dries quickly. Wind resistant and water repelling
2 * long sleeve shirts
2 * insulative trousers (1st layer)
1 * waterproof trousers (2nd layer) – strong and light material that dries quickly. Wind resistant and
water repelling
1 * waterproof jacket or an anorak with hood – waterproof and breathable material. Options range from waterproof nylon to the more expensive breathable fabrics such as Gore-Tex, H2NO, Ultrex or REI Elements
1 * shell trousers – waterproof and breathable material
1 * gloves – wool or synthetic (polypropylene / polyester)
1 * hat and a Balaclava – wool or synthetic
7 * socks (pairs) – wool or synthetic
1 * compact towel (Pelican of London has several showers for washing)
Multiple (as many as you think you may need) * underpants / bra (enough to last you for the duration of the voyage, with extra clean pairs for returning back to civilisation. Should be lightweight) single size sheet, duvet cover and two pillow case (slips) for your bunk.

You may consider bringing the following items for your personal medical needs:
Medication: paracetamol, Ibuprofen, antihistamines, loperamide, and sea sickness medications. Please note, personal medical kits are readily available from many chemists and contain many of the above items. Nomad Travel ( have specially designed expedition medi-kits which are perfect. For legal reasons, any self-medication should be reported to the volunteer medic
Inhalers (if required).
Rehydration sachets: these are recommended should you become sick or develop diarrhoea. Rehydration sachets replenish essential salts and sugars quickly. Dioralyte is a good brand.
Deodorant, shampoo, soap etc.
Hand sanitiser: to avoid health complications, we recommend that you bring your own supply of anti-bacterial hand sanitiser (sufficient for your personal use throughout the UK Voyage).

Apart from the essentials you may want to think about bringing:
Sunglasses – big enough to cover the eyes and with sufficient UV-protection
Sun protection (sun tan cream / lotion) - the sun and wind can be intense (particularly advisable for
those with paler complexions): Should be SPF 25 or more
Lip balm (to protect against intense wind exposure and UV). With at least 15-20 SPF sunscreen
Insect repellent (midges and mosquitos)
Toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs and other personal belongings - bring for the full duration of voyage!
Torch or headlamp - compact and light. Include 1 set of extra batteries
Prescription glasses - carry a spare pair if you’re blind without them. Contact lenses are not easy to deal with, unless you have extended wear lenses that don’t require a lot of maintenance
Camera (strongly recommended!): Should be packed in a waterproof bag. Bring sufficient batteries and memory cards for the duration of the trip
Tampons / sanitary pads: Heavy exertion at high latitudes can cause irregular cycles, so a good supply is recommended.
Bring 3-4 zip-lock bags for proper disposal Plasters / Band-Aids for blisters and grazes (blister kits are especially helpful for when walking. We recommend Compeed)
Antiseptic wipes
Cash for on-board extras and visits ashore. Many of the islands we visit many not have cash machines (ATMs)
Mobile phone charger
Wet wipes.
Small day pack backpack for when you’re ashore.
Musical instruments.
Addresses of friends and family for postcards.
Pen and paper/journal.

PACKING - Top Tips

Once you’ve decided what you want to bring, the next step is packing. Please do not pack your kit in a hard suitcase but use a soft bag which can be easily stored in your cabin as there is very limited space.

Efficient packing isn’t as easy as it seems… so here are some of our top tips to help you along.

  • Pack as many socks and underwear into your shoes as will fit, then put the shoes in the bottom of your bag.
  • On top of your shoes, lay down a layer of heavier rolled items – jeans, sweaters, and so on – packing them in as tightly as they’ll go. This minimises wasted space and prevents the rolls from coming undone during transit.
  • If you have any fragile items, remember to place them in the centre of your bag on top of the heavy-roll layer to protect them from breaking.
  • The next layer should consist of lighter rolled items like t-shirts and undergarments, also tightly packed to prevent unrolling.
  • On top of these layers, place any of your folded items.
  • Put your toiletry bag on top of the folded layer, then simply close the bag and you’re done.

Top Tip

You will need to unpack everything into a small locker once you are on board. Stuff bags are a good way of keeping your kit organised. Look for those with waterproof seals – you can put your valuables in them and then in your rucksack for trips ashore.

Vessel Gallery

Pelican of London is a Main Mast Barquentine which is a three masted vessel with square sails only on the main mast.

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