|Sat 06-07-2024, 16:00Le Havre, France
|Thu 11-07-2024, 10:00Brest
|Santa Maria Manuela
Join us aboard the Santa Maria Manuela for a journey that begins in the charming port of Le Havre. We’ll navigate through the majestic English Channel, making our way to the historic Falmouth. This part of your adventure is not just about reaching destinations; it’s about embracing the art of sailing. You’ll get hands-on experience, steering through scenic landscapes and absorbing the essence of traditional seamanship.
Our voyage culminates at the vibrant Brest maritime festival, a celebration of marine heritage. Here, you’ll immerse yourself in a festive atmosphere, mingling with fellow sea enthusiasts and exploring cultural marvels.
Your journey commences from Le Havre, a picturesque French port city known for its stunning architecture and rich maritime history. As you leave the harbour, you’ll be greeted by the gentle sea breeze and the sight of Le Havre’s bustling docks slowly fading into the horizon.
Traversing the English Channel, our course takes us towards the charming shores of Falmouth. This passage allows ample time to immerse oneself in the art of sailing aboard Santa Maria Manuela. You’ll have the chance to assist our crew, learn about sailing, and even ascend the mast for a breathtaking view, weather permitting. Evenings are a serene affair with sunset drinks on deck.
The Channel’s waters are a haven for marine life; keep your eyes peeled for dolphins playfully escorting our ship. The coastline offers a kaleidoscope of natural beauty, from rugged cliffs to tranquil beaches, each turn promising a new vista to cherish.
Arriving in Brest, you’ll be just in time for its famed maritime festival! Should you have an extra day, indulge in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Explore the Oceanopolis aquarium or wander through the medieval towers of the Château de Brest. The festival itself is a spectacle of seafaring splendour, featuring a stunning array of boats and vibrant cultural displays.
Expect varied conditions, typical of the English Channel. The summer breeze usually offers ideal sailing, with moderate winds and comfortable temperatures. However, always be prepared for the occasional brisk wind or rain, adding an invigorating edge to our adventure.
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.
Le Havre is located in Normandy and sits on the right hand bank of the Seine as it opens out into the English Channel. It was founded by King Francis I in 1517, and is now the second largest port in France, with the largest container port. When the Tall Ships come in, it’ll be the last leg of the race and also Le Havre’s 500th anniversary.
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.
History Brest is a living history book where the pages keep turning. The Château de Brest is a must-see, revealing layers of the city’s past, from medieval fortifications to WWII history. The National Navy Museum within the castle adds another layer of maritime heritage.
Culture The city’s festivals offer a glimpse of Brittany’s unique heritage. Astropolis, a summertime electronic music festival, may not be traditional, but it’s thoroughly Breton in spirit. The Festival of the Sea, held biennially, is a celebration of all things maritime and resonates deeply with any sailor’s soul.
Sites of Interest to a Sailor Head to the Pointe de Corsen for an awe-inspiring view where the Atlantic meets the Channel. While you’re at it, visit Phare du Petit Minou, a lighthouse that’s more than just a beacon for ships. It’s a beacon for the soul, especially during sunset or sunrise.
Entertainment Brest isn’t exactly Ibiza, but it’s no slouch either. The dockside bars offer local ciders and ales, while you’ll find a smattering of live music venues tucked away in the heart of the city.
Eating Out Brittany is famed for its seafood, so make a beeline for a waterside bistro and ask for the catch of the day. Don’t forget to try a local crêpe, or galette if you prefer something savoury.
Nature A bit further afield, the Armorique Regional Natural Park offers unparalleled hiking opportunities and splendid coastal scenery. If you’re looking for a bit of surfing or beachcombing, Plage du Moulin Blanc shouldn’t disappoint.
Unique Features What sets Brest apart is its gritty charm. This isn’t a glamourous Riviera resort; it’s a working port city with an edge, and that’s precisely its appeal.
Accommodation Well-known places include the Hôtel Center and the more upscale Oceania Brest Centre. For some relaxation, consider a day at the Les Sables Blancs Spa, though I suspect most sailors might find the sea breeze enough.
Official Tourist Website For more information, the Brest Tourist Office is your best bet.
Weather Brest Winter can be cold, wet, and windy but rarely extreme. Spring offers milder temperatures and fewer tourists. Summer is the most pleasant time, though it can get busy, with temperatures ranging from 15-25°C. Autumn is similar to spring but with more unpredictable weather.
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.
UK Direct flights to Brest from London take under two hours. Trains from London to Brest are also an option, requiring a change in Paris.
Europe From Paris, you can catch a high-speed TGV train that will whisk you to Brest in about four hours. There are also regional flights from cities like Lyon and Marseille.
North America No direct flights, so you’ll likely connect through Paris or another European hub. Then take either a domestic flight or train to Brest.
Australia The most straightforward route involves a long-haul flight to a major European city like London or Paris, followed by a shorter connecting flight or train journey to Brest.
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.Richard
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.Keith
An amazing ship and amazing crew.David
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!Mario
Un voilier merveilleux avec un équipage très sympathique. Merci pour tout.
A splendid ship with a very kind crew. Thank you for everything.Marie-Francoise
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