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Cornwall Sailing Holidays

Sailing Holidays in Cornwall

Classic Sailing offers hands on sailing adventures on traditional boats and tall ships all over the world, but our heart is in Cornwall.  Our office is in Portscatho and our home port is the sailors paradise of St Mawes.

Pilot cutter 'Eve of St Mawes' was our first charter boat and for 20 years she explored every cove and creek in Cornwall and the Scillies. Eve was sold into private use in 2016 but Classic Sailing now has quite a fleet of beautiful boats that are based in Cornwall for you to enjoy one of the best sailing playgrounds in Europe. 

Cornwall Sailing Holidays – All Vessels, dates & Prices

Classic Sailing Cornish Fleet

Artists and photographers love us because we help bring historic ships and authentic wooden replicas to Cornish shores.  By sailing our vessels you can play a part in creating a maritime spectacle that enhances the small ports and quaysides of Cornwall and brings a timeless quality to a remote anchorage or creek.

'Agnes' and Pegasus are replicas of 19th Century pilot cutters that were once a vital part of the economy of Falmouth and the Isles of Scilly.

1907 'Irene' is one of the last remaining West Country Trading Ketches that once carried cargoes all round Europe.

Three masted lugger 'Grayhound' is a replica of a 1776 Cornish revenue lugger that began chasing smugglers and then became a privateer. 

You can appreciate how fishermen were kept safe by living on board the mighty wooden hull of gaff cutter and ex Danish fishing boat 1938 'Eda Frandsen'.

Read more about Cornwall Maritime Heritage


Why is Cornwall Great for Sailing ?  

North Cornwall offers your typical crashing waves Poldark scenery - ideal for surfers and mining landscape enthusiasts. South Cornwall is for sailors.  The Isles of Scilly are simply unique.

The granite cliffs of West Penwith protect Mounts Bay from the North West and the Lizard Peninsula cuts down some of the ocean swell and creates a varied sailing ground to explore around Falmouth Bay. Small fishing villages nestle in every sheltered bay or river from Cadgwith to Cawsand and there are plenty of anchorages where you can be the only boat.

Cornwall is windy, one of the sunniest regions of Britain, un polluted, the seas are unbelievably blue. There are plenty of headlands to aim for, creeks to navigate, picturesque ports small stone quaysides to discover.  

There is a long tradition of boat building, seafaring, fishing and world exploration from Cornish shores. World renowned chefs have made their home here and we can row to some great waterside pubs without a streetlight in sight. 

No Experience Needed - Our Skippers as Your Guide

Whether you are totally new to sailing, want an unusual weekend away or just need your regular fix of salty sailing, our skippers can show you Cornwall.

For an idea where we might go on a day sail, 3 day break or week long voyages read more.

3 day sailing holidays and themed weekend breaks

Longer sailing holidays in Cornwall

RYA Courses on classic boats in Cornwall and Devon


Isles of Scilly Sailing Holidays

We have been taking guest crew to this amazing archipelago 35 miles off Lands End on our wooden pilot cutter 'Eve of St Mawes' since 1997. Such is the allure of crystal clear waters and sugary white beaches that we are no longer alone in our annual island hopping adventures. 

Built in oak and larch 46ft Agnes is an authentic replica of a Scillionian pilot cutter that was based in the islands around 1870-1890's, so the islanders love to see her visit.

Also setting sail to the Scillies on a regular basis are larger wooden sailing ships like 'Grayhound', 'Pilgrim',  'Irene', 'Leader' or 'Provident'. All know the isles well and offer a great social atmosphere on board. The islands sit in the Gulf Stream so ashore sub tropical plants flourish and the seas are rich in wildlife with good opportunities to spot dolphins, basking sharks and seals.

Read more about Cornish sailing holidays in the Scillies


Marine Wildlife on the Atlantic Edge

The Atlantic Ocean and the remoteness of Cornwall brings its own special rewards; Oaks are twisted by the winds and adorned with lichens - a sign of crystal clear air quality. Unpolluted seas and the warm Gulf Stream provide unexpected sightings of turtles, sunfish and more regular visits by dolphins, whales and basking sharks. Gales often bring in diving gannets, tiny storm petrels, guillemots, razorbills, terns and even puffins.

The Fal and Helford Estuaries are designated as 'Special Areas of Marine Interest ' and St Mawes Bay and Helford are Voluntary Marine Nature Reserves.  Breeding seals hide in sea caves and the drowned river valleys or rias have dense oak woodlands with branches sweeping down to deep green waters. At low tide the mudflats are home to egrets, oystercatchers, wading birds, otters and at night from your bunk you can hear owls hooting in the darkness.

Best voyages and months  for wildlife spotting in Cornwall


Sail Walk and Row

Wherever we anchor in Cornwall or Devon you can walk the South West Coast Path.  Part of our ethos is adventure afloat and exploring ashore. Whether you like beachcombing, wandering the bluebell woods or stretching your legs to climb the nearest headland  'Agnes' and 'Grayhound' have fine rowing boats or gigs that allow you to explore secret coves and creeks without a noisy outboard engine. Our skippers know the coast and landing spots ‘like a smuggler’ so you are rarely short of a local guide.

Read more about our  sailing and walking breaks


Falmouth Tall Ships & Sailing Events

Falmouth has hosted several Tall Ships Regattas, but tall ships also visit this deep water port on the way out of Europe, catching the tide around Land End or returning home from the Caribbean or Med.  Falmouth Tall Ships Association and Classic Sailing both do our bit to encourage as many tall ships as possible to sail in past St Anthony’s Head. Pendennis Super Yachts attracts some incredible classic yachts with its boatyard services and Pendennis Cup Event, Falmouth International Shanty Festival, Fal Classics, Falmouth Oyster Festival all invite classic boats and working craft each summer and create a colourful scene. Classic Sailing organises its own events like the Pilot Cutter World Championship and various voyages where you can sail in company with other historic craft. The best place to soak up the scene is out on the water as crew on a Classic Sailing holiday.

Whats on – Cornwall Maritime Events

Poldark Country - Cornwall About to be Hot

Many of us fell in love with Cornwall after watching the original BBC Poldark Series. The crashing seas, smuggling, and Cornish harbours and cliffs provide the backdrop for a new Poldark series starting March 2015. If you want your own Poldark experience away from modern trappings, then we guarentee exploring the Cornish coast on our traditionally rigged ships will bring out the romantic swashbuckler in you.

How can I experience Poldark Cornwall ?


Cornwall - Renaissance in Wooden Boat Building 

Classic Sailing might be biased but we think Cornwall is right at the heart of 21st Century wooden boat building in the UK. Some of the the boat owner- skippers like we work with have played a major role in creating a renaissance in wooden boat building, or have given commercial purpose to restorations. Our voyages and your holiday bookings help conserve traditional sailing skills and ships in a fun way.

Learn more about Cornwall Boat Building - past and future


"Cornwall voted Favourite British Holiday Destination for the 6th year running" 

British Travel Awards 2014

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