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Spring Sailing on Santa Maria Manuela

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Sun 23-06-2024, 16:00La Rochelle, France Thu 27-06-2024, 10:00Lorient, France Santa Maria Manuela 4 NightsSM230624 V11

Join us on a 5-day sailing adventure aboard Santa Maria Manuela from La Rochelle to Lorient, with a stop over in the scenic Belle-Ile en Mer. Explore historical sites and breathtaking landscapes, while getting hands on with all aspects of sailing a 4-masted Schooner!

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


  • Sail in comfort aboard the newly renovated Santa Maria Manuela
  • A hands-on sailing experience aboard a historic 1937 tall ship.
  • Stroll through Belle-Ile en Mer’s breathtakingly beautiful landscapes
  • Friendly professional crew

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


Setting Sail from La Rochelle

Your adventure begins in La Rochelle, a gem of France with its roots in a 10th-century fishing village. This historic port, renowned for its wine and salt trade, is a visual feast. Explore the Vieux-Port, a district that has captivated artists for generations, and marvel at the medieval towers, including the famous 15th-century Lantern Tower, offering panoramic views of the bustling city and harbour.

Along the Way – Belle-Ile en Mer

As we chart our course through the Bay of Biscay, embrace the thrill of sailing aboard Santa Maria Manuela. Participate in hoisting sails and steering this incredible 68m vessel – an experience to cherish. Engage in knot-tying classes, ascend the mast, or relax on the bowsprit, all while sharing tales with fellow sailors. Each day concludes perfectly with a sunset drink on deck.

We’ll call in at Belle-Ile en Mer, with its serene beaches, dramatic cliffs, and vibrant ports set amidst lush greenery. Weather permitting, we’ll pause to savour this island’s tranquility. Dive into water sports or explore the charming streets and historical Vauban citadel of Le Palais.

Arriving in Lorient

Your journey culminates in Lorient, a city pulsating with festival excitement. Post-disembarkation, delve into the local culture. The Merville indoor market, a bustling hub, offers the freshest seafood, straight from the fishing boats – a must-visit for any gastronome.


June brings favourable sailing conditions. Expect mild temperatures and gentle breezes perfect for sailing. The Bay of Biscay can be unpredictable, but our experienced crew ensures a safe and enjoyable journey. Embrace the essence of sailing with us, where each day brings a new adventure and the weather adds to the exhilaration.


On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best and safest sailing routes for the forecast. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described above, but when it comes to sailing, you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description provided is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or prior experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage. As such, the scheduled joining ports, routes, activities and/or destinations may be altered. Due to the complexities of weather systems, this may be at very short notice. 


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. Handling cargo adds an extra dimension – building teamwork and communication skills and leaving you with a great sense of achievement.


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.

Start & End Port

La Rochelle, France

La Rochelle Twin Towers

La Rochelle

How to Get There

From the UK:

If you’re setting out from the UK, you’ve got a few options. The Eurostar train can take you from London to Paris, and from there, a TGV will whisk you to La Rochelle in about three hours. If you’re more of a road warrior, you can take your own car via the Channel Tunnel and enjoy a scenic drive through the French countryside. Ferries are also an option, but let’s be honest, you’re already on a boat, aren’t you?

From Europe:

For those coming from mainland Europe, the train is your best bet. La Rochelle is well-connected to major cities like Paris, Bordeaux, and Nantes. Coaches and buses are also available, but they can be a bit of a drag compared to the speed and comfort of the train.

From North America:

If you’re crossing the pond, you’ll likely fly into Paris. From Charles de Gaulle Airport, you can catch a direct TGV train to La Rochelle, or opt for a domestic flight if you’re in a hurry.

From Australia:

For our mates down under, the journey is a bit longer. You’ll likely have a layover in Asia or the Middle East before landing in Paris. From there, the travel options are the same as those coming from North America.


What to Do in La Rochelle


La Rochelle is steeped in maritime history. The city’s Old Port is a living museum, and the Maritime Museum is a must-visit. Don’t miss the Saint-Louis Cathedral and the city’s ancient fortifications.


The city is a melting pot of French culture and maritime traditions. The Francofolies music festival is a highlight, and the local art scene is vibrant, to say the least.

Sites of Interest to a Sailor:

Ah, now we’re talking. The coastal views are stunning, especially from the Tour de la Lanterne. The nearby Île de Ré offers beautiful harbours, and the Phare des Baleines lighthouse is a sight to behold. There are also numerous headlands and bays that make for excellent sailing or quiet contemplation.


La Rochelle’s nightlife is a mix of traditional French cafés and modern bars. Live music is common, and you might even stumble upon a sea shanty or two.

Eating Out:

Seafood is the star here. Oysters from the local beds are a must-try. For a more upscale experience, head to Coutanceau for some Michelin-starred dining.


The nearby Marais Poitevin offers a unique marshland experience. If you’re more of a beachcomber, the coastline offers numerous sandy stretches, perfect for a day ashore.

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.


Sustainable Travel Carbon Offset Schemes


By selecting sustainable travel options and actively participating in carbon offset initiatives, you can make a positive impact while journeying to or from your voyage.

Here are some suggestions for carbon offset websites.


UK: One popular carbon offset website in the UK is “Clear” who offer a range of carbon offset projects and solutions for individuals, businesses, and organisations. They provide detailed information about their projects and allow users to calculate and offset their carbon footprint online.

North America: In North America, “Terrapass” is a well-known carbon offset website. Terrapass offers carbon offset projects across the United States and Canada. They provide options for individuals, businesses, and events to calculate and offset their carbon emissions. Terrapass also offers additional resources and information on sustainable living.


Europe: A popular carbon offset website in Europe is “MyClimate.” MyClimate provides carbon offset projects and solutions for individuals, businesses, and travel. They offer a carbon footprint calculator and allow users to support various sustainable projects worldwide. MyClimate focuses on promoting climate protection and sustainability.


Australia:Greenfleet” is a prominent carbon offset website in Australia. Greenfleet focuses on planting native forests to offset carbon emissions. They offer individuals and businesses the opportunity to calculate and offset their carbon footprint by contributing to tree planting projects across Australia. Greenfleet provides detailed information about their projects and the positive environmental impacts they create.


Please note that these carbon offset websites may vary over time, so it is recommended to research and explore multiple options to find the most suitable one for your needs. 


If any of these links do not work it would be kind of you to inform us, many thanks.

Lorient, France

Kit List

What to pack for a sailing holiday on Santa Maria Manuela

Below is a recommended travel packing list for a sailing voyage.


  • 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.


We had the most amazing time. The crew were so friendly and helpful, the food was great throughout, and the cabins were really comfortable. We both climbed the rigging as the sun was setting over Porto Santo to round off a brilliant last day with the new friends we met. Thanks for the wonderful experience.

Ian & Dayna

I have sailed many times on tall ships, this is by far the best yet.

sailing for beginners


Terrific crew and ship and a lovely passage to the Azores. Crew and guests were very good and patient with someone who only spoke English. This is a terrifically well run vessel. 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 operations. Very many thanks.


An amazing ship and amazing crew.


We had a terrific and adventurous time on board during Sachsen Sail in the Bay of Biscay. Thank you to all Santa Maria Manuela crew members!


Un voilier merveilleux avec un équipage très sympathique. Merci pour tout.

A splendid ship with a very kind crew. Thank you for everything.


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