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Sailing with West Country Trading Ketch, Irene out of Falmouth

Irene Wheel

Sailing with the West Country Trading Ketch Irene

Although I have previously heard wonderful things about Irene I had never actually stepped foot onboard before, yesterday I was lucky enough to join her for a day sail out of Falmouth and I am very pleased to say that I was more than impressed with the ship and the humble crew. My day turned out brilliantly and I cannot begin to express my enjoyment of it all. Once I had arrived in Falmouth, the rain luckily ceased and I met up with the crew outside Falmouth Yacht Haven. The sun begun to shine and the stiff northerly winds meant we were in for a great day out on the water. Irene is definitely a working ship above decks, but below offers the perfect balance of comfort with an authentic and traditional experience.


What is difficult to comprehend until you are onboard, is the care and attention that has gone into every inch of this beautiful ship. Irene was the victim of a fire and in  2003 and everything above the waterline was burnt and lost. Her dedicated owner Lelsie Morish worked hard to ensure Irene would sail again. He had her raised from the seabed and had a temporary plywood deck fitted to hold her together. This made it possible to tow her back to England. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well think again. A three-thousand-mile tow is difficult enough but the towing vessel was another sailing boat!

It's quite unbelievable that Irene still graces our shores to this day and I felt very lucky to sail her around her home in the West Country. Back in 1907 she used to plie trade across the Atlantic and although her history is steeped in working sail, today she offers the perfect balance of comfort and traditional experience, an ethos echoed across the Classic Sailing fleet. From her large saloon with spacious eating areas, to her generous twin bunked cabins with ensuite facilities, there is an atmosphere on Irene which is difficult to beat. The Skipper for my trip was Ieuan Finniear, an easy going, hilarious and relaxed skipper who works hard to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone onboard. Once we had raised the spars and the sails were filled we made way along the coast out to Pendennis point and across to St Anthony’s head, where I rather jokingly suggested we should sail past the Classic Sailing office so we could wave smugly. At this remark, Ieuan giggled and agreed enthusiastically, so we made our way east towards Portscatho bay. Before we knew it lunch was served, a beautiful buffet spread of home-made quiche, jacket potatoes, salad and home-made coleslaw. High standards of food are to be expected when sailing with Irene, all of the chefs take great care with their meals. 

Irene Food

Before we knew it, it was time to turn back and head back into the bay ready for the Red Arrow display over Falmouth. Sitting with dinner on deck and marvelling at the air acrobatics, I don’t think there was anywhere else I would have rather been. It’s safe to say that Irene's charm has made a distinct impression on me and I look forward to returning for a longer trip in the future. For couples, it's perfect with a double bed on a lower bunk and a smaller single bunk above- for any snorers! The ensuite facilities are definately quite luxurious, not to mention the enormous "State cabin" which spans the width of the ship at the stern with a king size bed! This cabin is available too, for a supplement. 

Irene's 2018 schedule is now out, take a look and get in touch if you have any questions. We would be more than happy to help you choose your ideal voyage on Irene and I guarantee you will want to go back!

Irene's 2018 schedule. 


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Sailing with West Country Trading Ketch, Irene out of Falmouth: Although I have previously heard wonderful things about Irene I had never actually stepped foot onboard before

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