|Mon 01-04-2024, 13:00Sète, France
|Fri 05-04-2024, 09:00Castellón de la Plana, Spain
|Santa Maria Manuela
This journey aboard Santa Maria Manuela offers an immersive experience in maritime traditions, starting with the Escale à Sète Festival and ending at Castellon Festival. It’s a blend of hands-on sailing, cultural immersion, and scenic exploration along the Mediterranean coast.
The Escale à Sète Festival is a vibrant celebration of maritime traditions in Southern France, where Santa Maria Manuela proudly stands at the heart of the festivities. This event, attracting over 250,000 visitors annually, is a cornucopia of French gastronomic and musical delights. As part of the Easter parade, Santa Maria Manuela, a historic 1937 tall ship, sails in the company of other majestic tall ships, offering a unique perspective on this grand celebration.
Embarking on this journey from Sete, you’ll will be treated to a hands-on sailing experience. The ship, beautifully renovated for comfort, allows guests to engage actively with the crew. You can volunteer to help hoist and set the sails, experiencing the thrill of steering a 68m sailing vessel through the waters. The ship’s crew, passionate about sharing their sailing knowledge, will also offer knot-tying classes and, weather permitting, opportunities to climb the mast or relax on the bowsprit.
As Santa Maria Manuela glides southwest along the Côte d’Azur, guests can enjoy breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean coastline. The journey may include a sail towards the Balearic Islands, offering a chance for swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding in serene waters. Guests can spot a variety of marine wildlife and enjoy sunset drinks on deck, rounding off each day in a truly memorable fashion.
The voyage culminates in the historic port town of Castellon, greeted by its own vibrant festival, which recently attracted 273,000 visitors. Celebrations begin with a deck BBQ, offering a chance to bond with fellow shipmates. Guests are encouraged to explore Castellon’s rich history, from the 60-meter medieval bell tower of El Fadrí to the 17th-century Kanamo Market building.
April in Sete features mild and pleasant weather, perfect for sailing. With temperatures ranging from 13°C to 20°C, guests will enjoy the onset of spring in a temperate climate, ideal for both on-deck activities and exploring the ports.
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 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 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.
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 01326 53 1234 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.
“Sète is the most fascinating small town on the French Mediterranean coast precisely because it doesn’t go out of its way to be charming. It doesn’t have the time. This is an attractive – but serious – port full of working people with stuff to ship out and turbot to sell.
The site is wonderful. Sète encircles a lone hill, the Mont St-Clair, on the otherwise flat Languedoc coast. And it is all-but an island. There’s the sea out front, of course. Behind, though, is the Thau lagoon – a vast expanse of salt water, colonised by oyster- and mussel-beds. Between the two, a network of canals brings the scramble of port and fishing activity right into the town centre.
The canals both define the town and provide the current that energises the place. Many townsfolk have their own little boats to take them shopping. Anglers with apparently unlimited time on their hands line the banks and, come summer, the main Canal Royal is the theatre of Sète’s famous water-borne jousting. Sète is, in short, a swirl of a spot, with constant movement on land and canal.
It helps, of course, that Sète has the finest unsung beaches of the French Med – eight miles of them stretching along the spit of land separating the lagoon from the sea. An enormous scheme to tidy up access and the shore-side promenade is under way. But don’t wait. Go now to find the unfiltered boisterousness of the real Mediterranean. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Anthony Perigrine, Telegraph travel
The 700-year Moorish invasion had a profound effect on the shaping of Spain, and nowhere more so than on the Mediterranean coast. Castellón is both a province and a city port situated 100km North of Valencia. It is on the same latitude as Mallorca. If you go a little way inland from the coastal resorts and up onto the mountain slopes you will see ancient Arab methods of irrigation still used in the fertile groves of orange, lemon, cherry and almond tree.you can smell the Valencia ‘orange blossom’
Certainly, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what makes Castellón de la Plana a destination worth dropping anchor for.
How to Get There
If you’re hailing from the UK, Europe, North America, or Australia, you’ve got a variety of travel options to reach Castellón de la Plana.
By Plane: Castellón-Costa Azahar Airport is your nearest landing spot, well-linked to major European cities. A quick taxi ride will land you in the city centre.
By Train: The city is well-served by Spain’s extensive rail network, making it a convenient option for travellers from within Spain or neighbouring European countries.
By Ferry: The closest port for international ferries is in Valencia, roughly an hour’s drive away.
By Coach or Bus: Various coach services offer long-distance routes to Castellón de la Plana from different parts of Europe. Once you’re in the city, local buses are a handy way to get around.
What to Do in Castellón de la Plana
History: The city is a living museum with landmarks like the El Fadrí bell tower and the Co-cathedral of Saint Mary. For art and history buffs, the Museum of Fine Arts is a must-see.
Culture: The city is a vibrant centre of Valencian culture. Keep an eye out for traditional festivals like the Magdalena Festivities, which offer a rich tapestry of local arts and traditions.
Sites of Interest to a Sailor: The coastline here is a feast for the eyes. Serradal Beach is perfect for a leisurely walk, and the surrounding area offers intriguing headlands and bays.
Entertainment: When the sun sets, the city comes alive with a range of bars, clubs, and live music venues. Whether it’s traditional flamenco or modern beats, Castellón de la Plana has something for everyone.
Eating Out: The city’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its culture. From traditional Valencian paella to avant-garde fusion dishes, your taste buds are in for a treat. The Mercado Central is a haven for food lovers, offering fresh produce and local treats.
Nature: If you’re looking to swap sea legs for hiking boots, the Desierto de las Palmas Natural Park is your go-to. For those willing to venture a bit further, the Columbretes Islands offer diving and snorkelling opportunities.
Unique Features: What sets Castellón de la Plana apart is its harmonious blend of history, natural beauty, and a bustling cultural scene. It’s a place where you can enjoy a rich historical tour in the morning, a nature hike in the afternoon, and a lively night out, all without skipping a beat.
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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