Experienced sailors or ocean lovers that love ocean voyages and the life of a blue water sailor. One you set off your life is totally dictated by the weather and natural elements. This voyage is likely to offer the full range of ocean weather from tropical trade winds through to lighter wind around the Azores High
Sail an Ocean going schooner from tropical Cape Verde off West Africa northwards to Europe. The voyage begins in hot sun and trade winds and you can spot flying fish leaping between wave crests. Stopping in the Azores is an added bonus and the seas around the Azores and on the edge of the continental shelf all the way to North Biscay are rich in fish and cetaceans so there is always plenty of marine life and birds to see.
Spring is also the best time of year to see whales: in April there are many fin whales, blue whales and Sei whales passing the Azores on their annual migration. Living and working on a tall ship and standing watches day and night offers one of the best ways to get up close with nature and maximises your chances of seeing dolphins or whales in their natural element.
Sail an Ocean going schooner from Cape Verde off West Africa to Europe.This is a great opportunity to be crew on a substantial ocean passage without needing to buy an expensive long haul flight. Stopping in the Azores is an added bonus and the seas around the Azores and on the edge of the continental shelf all the way to North Biscay are rich in fish so there is always plenty of marine life and birds to see. The Azores is one of the best places in Europe to spot cetaceans and the best time of the year is during the Spring time. In April there are many fin whales, blue whales and sei whales passing the Azores on their annual migration.
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.
It is worth arriving a few days early to enjoy the hot sun, miles of white sand beaches of Cape Verde’s flattest island. The voyage starts in Palmeira on Sal but Santa Maria is the place to stay if you want a bit of a beach holiday first. Santa Maria is less than 30 mins from the airport by taxi and great for watersports like windsurfing or kite surfing and there are several schools on the main beach and plenty of hotels and apartments which can be booked via the web. The beach runs for miles with a cross onshore wind and playful waves for swimming in, and only only pier is a hive of activity with acrobatic dives from local kids and the landing of fish daily.
When you leave you will be heading North so you will see how different and more mountainous the other islands in the archipelago are.
The main mission for the ship is to get back to Rotterdam as swiftly and safely as possible, and that means sailing as much as possible but there will be some headwinds on some of the route and possibility of rough weather. As the voyage is billed as a mile maker the price is fixed for the voyage but it is always possible the ship may get into port a few days earlier. This is a challenging ocean passage and ports are often many days away so it is not a voyage for those with any health problems or prone to seasickness.
Ocean sailing in the Westerlies belt often means gale – less winds – next gale as the depression systems hurtle across the Atlantic. The day light hours, weather and temperatures will be at their best for the first few days on board as you explore the archipelago of Cape Verde, but be prepared for potential foul weather as you head North.
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.
Oosterschelde is a very comfy ship – restored for adventure charter with a huge saloon with bar, piano, wood burning stove and library so if you have always fancied running away to sea for a few weeks, we can’t think of a more stylish way to do it as hands on ships crew.
Both of Classic Sailing working directors have sailed on Oosterschelde in Jan 2011 so we can tell you what she is like to sail on if you give us a ring.
More details and photos of Oosterschelde – see vessel details tab above.
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
For joining Oosterschelde and Blue Clipper, and usually, any ship on the island of Sal see the above map for the port of Palmeira. It is about a 15-minute taxi ride from the airport (€15 approx). If you are staying over on the island before joining your ship, please see advice below on where is best to stay.
Voyages start and end from Palmeira which is a bay and small fishing port on the west of the island, nearer the airport. The large concrete commercial breakwater is cordoned off.
Wait under the shady tree near the bar, Chiosco, near the Chapel ‘Capela De Sad Jose’ where the local fishermen unload their catch on a little stone jetty. The ship’s dinghy will come in to collect you at joining time.
The ships exact location in port is often controlled by the port authorities and they will only allocate a docking position a few days before.
Any changes will be communicated to you before your voyage start date. Make sure you make a note of the ship’s number found in your confirmation email in case of any problems on the day.
Horta harbour is approximately 10km from the airport on the island of Faial, Azores.
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.
Together with my husband Bert we were on the trip around the Cape Verde on the Oosterschelde and had a great time. The crew was fantastic and very friendly. They showed us what has to be done to sail a beautiful ship like this. Made some new friends among the passengers and it was a trip I will not forget for a long while. And who knows when we will meet again. Thanks" Jenny H E. from NL Mar 2018
I've just completed my fourth voyage in four years and it was like a big family holiday! Familiar faces welcomed us aboard, we met up with guests and friends from previous voyages and the islands that we visited in the French West Indies were beautiful. The best part of the voyage was our last sailing day when the "lunatics took over the asylum". Maarten let the guest crew sail the Oosterschelde from St Lucia to Martinique (while keeping an eye on us to make sure that neither we or the ship were in danger) It was hard work but safe to say that I learned a lot more on that day, having to think about what I was doing, rather than just being told what to do. We are just about to book our next voyage" Richard D. British Columbia
What was the best bit?
Variety of sailing and the islands visited.
What was the worst bit?
One rough passage.
Why do you sail?
We enjoy the technicalities of sailing a large vessel and the passage planning involved. We generally enjoy off-shore sailing.
Any other comments
The skipper and crew were very friendly, helpful and informative. Accommodation and food was very good.- Phillip B - Cape Verde
What was the best bit?
A genuine feel for a bit of a longer ocean voyage with great people.
What was the worst bit?
Somewhat cramped cabins if sharing
Why do you sail?
Comraderie; understanding historical sailing voyages; seeing interesting parts of the world" Robbin C: Ocean Crossings
So happy to have sailed from Miramichi to Quebec! So good to be on this beautiful grand old lady with only nice and funny people. Miss you all! And for this moment especially Richards' breakfast. Thank you so much Jenny Edward Richard Jan-Willem Jurriaan and Maarten, and all the other guests for this wonderful and amazing time. Love and hugs xxx Ernst and Ellen V.
The dream come true! What a georgous trip I had between Québec and Halifax! A part of me will be onboard forever... Il will be back to you, most beautiful ship of the world! I will be back, Oosterschelde! What a crew! What a captain! Marteen, I could write a novel with you as the major character! You are an amazing guy, a good, a great man! Your team is fantastic! I am now back ashore but... "I must go down to sea again... "
" C'est pas l'homme qui prend la mer
C'est la mer qui prend l'homme "
Now is the hour that I must say goodbye, soon you'll be sailing far across the sea. We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when. Maybe in the south pacific or around Cape Horn. Captain Arian, I would sail anywhere in the world with you, your crew and Oosterschelde. Warren C. New Zealand
Just sailed on the Oosterschelde across the North Sea to the Netherlands! Great taste of sailing would recommend to anyone who is thinking of dipping their toe in. Loved every second of it, hauling ropes out in the elements (mainly with the Sun on my back) rolling around in the middle of the North Sea on the deck of an authentic lovely Dutch schooner brilliant! A life changing experience of the open sea, next stop RYA competent crew! Many thanks to Adam and Classic Sailing for all the arrangements at such short notice and thanks too to all the crew for looking after me and feeding me so well. Be warned though life ashore afterwards can seem very hum-drum." Rex aka Steve W
I want to thank the crew for the three magnificent days passed on board, between "Golfe du Morbihan" and "Le Havre". I sailed on numerous occasions on about ten different ships, and this sailing on Oosterschelde is the best experience I ever had. I was impressed by the good performances of the ship, and by the way the crew adjusts sails permanently so that the ship always gives the best ; it was an immense pleasure to participate of my best in all these operations. I regret that our different languages did not allow us to communicate more, because all the crew members were really very nice and very thoughtful with us. I have now only an envy: to embark again on Oosterschelde, to be on the deck to participate in the laborers of sails, to climb on the mast to help the crew, and to share again these excellent moments given by sailing on Oosterschelde !!! " Excuse my bad English, Gilbert P. Vernon, France
Three Masted Topsail Schooner Oosterschelde 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.
Eye of the Wind Sail holiday across the Atlantic EYE22/41
San Miguel, Tenerife
Le Marin, Martinique
Atlantic Ocean crossing MR041222
Cayenne in French Guiana
Cross the Atlantic, St Martin to Rotterdam MR100223
St Martin / St Maarten
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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