With a fleet of 8 ships, covering 11 destinations from Scotland to the Caribbean, incredible crew and the opportunity to book an entire ship, Venture Sail is the number one option for your next Voyage whether it’s on-board a Tall ship or a more modern yacht. A unique sailing holiday I was definitely keen to get involved in! As long as I’m in the water, on the water or can see it, it’s always a yes from me, so I was super excited to be invited to join the team; becoming a member of the crew on a trip around the Isles of Scilly!
Tilly and I had an early start, boarding the Scillonian at 8am from Penzance to St Mary’s where we could then join Johanna Lucretia to test our sea legs and pirate skills, and I have to say, it was the most incredible way to tour the islands! Built in Belgium in 1945, this two masted, topsail schooner and has since had two refits and now has the facilities and technology (wifi) to cope with ‘modern life’ and the standards that come with it. Tilly and I experienced boat-life at the highest level (almost) and bunked up with the guys in crew quarters! Now, I’m small so this actually wasn’t too much of problem and I was ready to embrace pirate life to the full but I have to say it was SMALL. Our shipmates Tay and Josh had top bunks which had actual head room, but on the bottom you could just about lay sideways in the foetal position. Definitely no option to starfish. The other guests had rooms that varied from much bigger bunks to a double room and between us all we shared two toilets/shower rooms on board as well as kitchen and dining table, so all in, we were set!
So what can you expect from a trip to the Islands? Well, once we’d arrived from the mainland, Tilly and I hopped on-board a small ferry to St Agnes for a brief lunch and little explore of the Island before Tay came to collect us on the tender. With life-jackets handed out, bags stowed away and a safety briefing from the captain, we set sail and headed around the Island. I then took the helm and guided us all away from the Island for the full sailing experience then handed back to the much more capable hands of the guys so we could safely moor up off Tresco for the night. Participation is fully encouraged on board so we all took turns in putting the sails up, tying the ropes, reading the charts and checking we were on course. We also enjoyed a few glasses of wine, sat back and enjoyed the view whilst sharing stories on the top deck before we headed below for our freshly prepared dinner and a beautiful guitar solo from Tay.
If anyone’s seen 50 first dates, then you’ll know about that end scene on the yacht? That’s exactly how I felt climbing up out of our crew hatch first thing in the morning to the most amazing calm and quiet waters after an…interesting nights sleep. I say interesting, I slept fine, eventually. It’s just the most strange experience hearing water constantly! Ahaha Having asked if it was possible to climb the mast and being told I absolutely could, it was only fair that I followed up on my request in the morning, so got all kitted up in my harness with camera in tow and jumped onto the rigging with Josh just ahead of me. I do actually really love heights but the last time I was up a mast (on the M5) I just sat there, being winched up; this time it required a bit more effort, co-ordination and a lot of attaching and detaching but was worth it for the view!
Tilly and I then said our goodbyes and thank you’s before departing to Tresco Island then eventually back to Penzance! Our first stop on the island was Tresco Abbey Garden which has the most incredible collection of plants I’ve ever seen. It was just a never ending collection of colour, rare plants, pathways, walled gardens, palms, and stairways which once climbed had breathtaking views back over the gardens and Bay which framed our Tall ship perfectly! Having petted the local cat we found and gazed lovingly at the wild red squirrels that darted about and fed on little platforms we left the gardens and took a long walk round to The Flying Boat Bar & Bistro for some lunch before catching the ferry back to St Mary’s which after only a day of wandering the smaller Islands felt like a bustling city! I think the beauty of these Island and what made me well and truly fall in love was how quiet they were; utterly untouched and tranquil beaches, adorable cottages, palms and agapanthus everywhere and single tracks to guide you around with no cars - just bikes and golf buggies!
I honestly had the best time on the Islands that was only heightened by my experience on board an actual Tall Ship - just and incredible opportunity that I’m so grateful for and would 100% do again. In fact, I’m already looking to book my next trip to the Scilly’s and would jump at the chance to sail again!
Thank you Venture Sail, I hope to see you again soon!