This year’s finest sailing adventures including everything from to a skippered yacht tour of Croatia to a dinghy exploration of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon.
1. The BVIs with a skipper
The British Virgin Islands, with their sheltered coves, white-sand beaches, steady winds and straightforward line-of sight navigation, are an excellent cruising ground for a winter sailing holiday. You will need a day-skipper qualification to hire a boat without a crew, however.
Moorings Exclusive 4500 from £1,940 per person for seven nights based on six people sharing, including flights. Food and transfers excluded. Departs year-round. The Moorings (moorings.co.uk).
2. Dinghy sailing in Spain
Prefer to sleep ashore than on a boat? New to the portfolio of activity specialist Neilson is Mar Menor Beachclub in the south-eastern region of Murcia, which has 139 rooms and five suites located next to Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon. The price of a stay includes unlimited use of sailing dinghies including Lasers, Toppers, Darts and RS Aeros, and RYA-approved courses are available to book on arrival.
Mar Menor Beachclub from £839 per person for seven nights including most meals, flights and transfers. Departures from July until October. Neilson Active Holidays (neilson.co.uk).
3. Schooner in the Azores
New to the fleet of two dozen sailing ships offered by tall ship specialist Classic Sailing is the Santa Maria Manuela – a 22ft, four-masted schooner built in 1937 and once the flagship of the Portuguese cod fishing fleet. A crew of 24 look after 50 passengers berthed in two, four and six-person cabins, with an island-hopping itinerary in the Azores planned for August.
Santa Maria Manuela in the Azores from €765 (£665) per person (reduced from €850 until Feb 28) for seven nights including all meals. Excludes flights and transfers. Departs weekly in August 2019. Classic Sailing (classic-sailing.co.uk).
4. Croatia with your captain
A skippered yacht not only makes sense if you are new to sailing but can also be a good option for more experienced sailors who want to explore new areas. Sail Croatia offers private yacht tours with a choice of one-way or circular itineraries departing from Split or Dubrovnik. The yachts call in at selected Adriatic islands including Brac, Hvar, Mljet and Vis, used as a filming location for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Spring Special Private Yacht Tour from €2,759 for up to six people sharing for seven nights including transfers. Excludes food and flights. Departs April and May 2019. Sail Croatia (sail-croatia.com).
5. Gulet in Turkey
Gulet cruises are an ideal way to explore the Turkish coast, but it can be rare for crews to turn off the engines and unfurl the sails for a quieter passage. Cultural tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels offers an autumn gulet cruise that includes walks and visits to archaeological sites. Two free days are built into the itinerary, allowing ample opportunity to experience a gulet under sail (weather permitting).
Walking and Cruising the Lycian Shore from £4,075 per person for 14 nights including full board and transfers. Excludes flights. Departs Sept 28 2019. Peter Sommer Travels (petersommer.com).
6. Tall Ship in Borneo
Borneo is the newest destination to feature in the south-east Asia itineraries offered by tall ship specialist Star Clippers. The four-masted Star Clipper, carrying 170 guests and 74 crew, sails from Kota Kinabalu in northern Borneo to Singapore, calling in at Pulau Tiga island, Bandar Seri Begawan (the capital of Brunei) and the Malaysian cities of Miri, Bintulu and Kuching.
Borneo Westbound from £1,791 per person for 10 nights full board (including a 20 per cent discount if booked by Jan 31). Excludes flights and transfers. Departs May and October 2019. Star Clippers (starclippers.co.uk).
7. Gaff-cutter in Scotland
With the right conditions, British waters rival anywhere in the world for exciting sailing and spectacular coastal scenery. That’s why Wilderness Scotland offers two itineraries that take in the Inner Hebrides islands which lie off the west coast. The 75-year old gaff-cutter Eda Frandsen departs from Mallaig, west of Fort William, taking passengers on a week-long exploration of the islands of Eilean Shona, Eigg, Muck, Canna and Skye. Private charters also available.
Sailing Journeys: the Inner Hebrides from £925 per person for six nights including all meals. Departs May, June and August. Wilderness Scotland (wildernessscotland.com).
8. Flotilla in the Greek Islands
You don’t need yachting qualifications or even previous sailing experience to join a flotilla on a holiday offered by Greek Island specialist Sailing Holidays. However, if you are nervous, for the first couple of days experienced crew are available to help on board when required (for a fee of €90 a day). Sheltered harbours and light winds make the South Ionian Islands ideal for relaxed, sociable sailing for families and groups of friends in flotillas of 10 to 12 boats, guided by a lead yacht,
Kefalonia Flotilla from £1,095 per person for seven nights based on six people sharing a Beneteau 361 yacht, including flights and transfers. Departs April to October. Sailing Holidays (sailingholidays.com).
9. RYA course in the Balearics
Sailors of all abilities and ages are well-catered for at the long-established Minorca Sailing school, based in the Bay of Fornells on the north coast of this small Spanish island. Accommodation options include self-catering apartments, private villas and small hotels, all within easy reach of the sailing centre at Ses Salines. The price of your stay covers RYA sailing and windsurfing tuition and use of an extensive fleet of dinghies. Structured days include morning briefings and daily race programmes.
Sailing week from £1,160 per person for seven nights, self-catering, including flights and transfers. Departures from May to October. Minorca Sailing (minorcasailing.co.uk).
10. Felucca on the Nile
When it comes to sailing boats, the traditional felucca is about as straightforward as it gets. Its simple design, with a wide hull and triangular “lateen” sail, is ideally suited to the calm waters and gentle winds of the Nile, and a makeshift awning provides overnight shelter. Adventure operator On The Go Tours includes a three-day felucca cruise on all its Egyptian itineraries.
King Tutankhamun tour from £633 per person (including 15 per cent discount if booked by Feb 28 2019) for eight nights including some meals and transfers. Excludes flights. Departures year-round. On The Go Tours (onthegotours.com).