When most people think about adventure travel images of trekking through the Himalaya or going on safari in Africaare typically what come to mind.But sailing just might be the original form of adventure travel, sending intrepid explorers off to the far corners of the globe with little more than the wind at their back and the open ocean in front of them.Today, sailing the ocean isn't quite so dangerous, although it does remain quite adventurous. There is nothing quite like sitting on the bow of ship with the wind blowing through your hair and the sound of the surf crashing against the hull.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of great places for adventurous travelers to experience this feeling for themselves. To help you do just that, we've selected the ten best sailing destinations for those who would never consider a cruise but are still looking for a waterborne adventure of a lifetime.
South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean
Located in the Southern Ocean, South Georgia Island is probably best known for the crucial role it played in Ernest Shackleton's doomed Endurance expedition to the Antarctic. But the place is also a pristine environment that is home to thousands of penguins and numerous rare sea birds, including a variety of albatross that are only found there. Visitors also get the chance to see elephant and fur seals by the hundreds, while exploring the remains of long-abandoned whaling stations left over from a bygone era. Those stations have been inactive for decades, and as a result, whale populations have rebounded nicely. It is not uncommon to find humpbacks, sperm whales, southern right whales, and even blue whales just off shore, along with dolphins, and an array of other sea life.
Sailing the Southern Ocean is an adventure in and of itself, taking travelers across some of the most turbulent waters on the planet. The team at Classic Sailing are an experienced crew who have made that voyage many times however, and offer one of the best opportunities to visit South Georgie in a tall ship. If you're looking for a grand adventure out on the high seas, this is one that should certainly be near the top of your list.
The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands have long been a popular adventure travel destination, offering exceptional opportunities to view wildlife that simply can't be found anywhere else on the planet. Visitors can spot giant tortoises, sea lions, blue footed boobies, and the archipelago's famous aquatic iguanas. Snorkeling and diving in the Galapagos are favorite pastimes, as are kayaking and stand up paddle boarding, making this a great destination for those who like to stay active on their vacations.
Most visitors to the Galapagos stay aboard a small cruise ship while visiting the islands. But when Charles Darwin first arrived there back in 1835, he came aboard the HMS Beagle, a sailing sloop that was part of the British Royal Navy. Intrepid travelers can capture a similar experience by sailing the Galapagos too. Andando Tours offers excellent opportunities to explore this magnificent place, with tall ships and catamaran itineraries available.
The Whitsunday Islands, Australia
When visiting Australia most travelers have the Sydney Opera House, the Outback, or the Great Barrier Reef on their bucket lists. Most have never even heard of the Whitsunday Islands, let alone considered visiting them.
Located off the coast of Queensland—not far from the Great Barrier Reef—the Whitsundays are a chain of 74 islands that are the Australian version of paradise. With spectacularly beautiful beaches, an abundance of wildlife, and waters that are a shade of blue that isn't found anywhere else on Earth, this is a place that visitors will never want to leave. The diving and snorkeling are practically unmatched and the scenery is simply awe inspiring.
Setting out from Airlie Beach, the so-called "gateway to the Whitsundays," you'll find plenty of sailing ships that offer everything from single-day escapes to three-day adventures on the open ocean. Visit Sailing-Whitsundays.com to sort through all of the choices.
Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Tanzania's Zanzibar Island is a destination that offers history, culture, adventure, and a chance to relax all in one amazing place. For centuries the island was a nexus of a trade and commerce for the Arab world and the remains of that heritage can still be found there today. But the azure-colored Indian Ocean also offers excellent snorkeling and diving, chances to go fishing, or just soak up the sun. Travelers will also find ancient villages to visit, markets to explore, and beaches to wander too.
A visit to Zanzibar is a perfect extension after finishing upa Tanzanian safari or as a destination in its own right. Sailing options include single day outings or week-long excursions, with Intrepid Travel offering one of the most affordable and full-featured options, including a seven-day journey aboard a modern catamaran that somehow manages to be both active and restful at the same time.
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The Greek Isles
The Mediterranean is filled with great opportunities for sailors, but few options compare with island hopping off the coast of Greece. Places like Mykonos, Santorini, and Paros make for the perfect escape for those seeking a dash of culture and history to go along with their adventure. Sea kayaking is a great way to explore these islands, and day-excursions to wander the villages and landscapes are a must-do as well. As you would expect, the food is exquisite and the locals are accommodating, making this sailing destination one that will stay with you long after you've returned home.
Options for sailing out of Athens or Mykonos abound, with opportunities to travel for just a day or two or more than a week if your schedule permits. You'll find affordable options for Greek Islands excursion from G Adventures, with more upscale offerings coming from National Geographic Expeditions.
The Adriatic Coast, Croatia
In a country filled with opportunities for adventure, Croatia's Adriatic Coast just might be the most breathtakingly beautiful destination of them all. With more than 1100 miles of coastline, not to mention a dizzying number of islands to explore, Croatia has seemingly endless miles of beaches and crystal clear waters to snorkel and dive. And when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the vibrant Croatian cities, try sailing into some of the remote fishing villages that can be found in the numerous hidden lagoons that dot the shore.
If you're looking for a truly active escape while sailing the Croatian Coast, try REI Adventure's Croatia Island Hopper tour. This trip not only mixes great sailing and snorkeling opportunities, it also gives travelers the chance to go hiking, cycling, paddle boarding, and kayaking too. You'll also have the opportunity to tour the UNESCO heritage site of Dubrovnik, while enjoying local food and wines while en route.
The Bay of Islands, New Zealand
New Zealand has long had a rich sailing culture, which is due in large part to its amazing coastlines which offer epic scenery and plenty of places to explore. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Bay of Islands, a place that has launched countless sailing adventures.
The Bay is the perfect spot to go sea kayaking or fishing, but it is especially well known for its diverse wildlife. Seagoing travelers can spot penguins, whales, and dolphins all in a relatively small area. And when they're ready to spend some time on dry land, they can go ashore one any one of the 144 islands from which the bay gets is name. There, they'll have the chance to walk in pristine environments that are virtually untouched by man.
There are literally dozens of options to choose from when it comes to sailing the Bay of Islands. Thankfully, there is a website built to help adventurous travelers sort through them all. Start planning your trip here.
French Polynesia, Tahiti
French Polynesia is the name given to a wide swath of islands and section of sea that is located in the South Pacific. There are a number of fantastic places to sail here, but Tahiti and its surrounding islands –– which includeHuahine, Bora Bora, and Moorea –– may just be the best. You'll find crystal-clear and warm seas all year long, with great diving and snorkeling across the entire region. You'll also witness plenty of sea life, as the oceans are teeming with colorful creatures at every turn. The region also boasts some of the most pristine beaches found anywhere on the planet, many of which can only be reached by ship.
More experienced sailors can chartera ship in Tahiti and spend their days sailing completely on their own. Those of us who aren't seasoned enough to do that on our own will have to book with someone else instead. As you would expect, there are plenty of options to choose from, with the Offshore Sailing School being chief amongst them.
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The British Virgin Islands
The Caribbean has long been a mecca for sailors looking to navigate between its numerous islands, each with its own culture, history, and attractions. But the British Virgin Islands just might offer the best sailing in the entire region, giving visitors a chance to combine luxury and adventure into one epic excursion.
Some of the very best beaches in the entire Caribbean can be found in the BVI, many of which are in hidden coves strung out across the various locales. These secluded spaces make for stunning places to drop anchor, providing great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, or just lounging in the sand. And when you're ready to go ashore, you'll find beautiful resorts, delectable restaurants, and some surprisingly great hiking trails to wander too.
Once again, G Adventures offers one of the best options for sailing in the British Virgin islands. The company's seven-day excursion out of Tortola is a good mix of activities and relaxation at a solid price.
Lycian Coast, Turkey
For a sailing adventure that combines time both on sea and on land, travel to Turkey and take on the Lycian Coast. This beautiful destination features quaint fishing towns, beautiful and secluded beaches, and miles of rocky cliffs. Most visitors split their time on the open ocean with visits to a number of intriguing archaeological sites, many of which are found not far from shore.
To experience this amazing location for yourself, join one of Peter Sommer Travels' departuresfor Turkey. All excursions are aboard a traditional tall sailing ship known as a Gulet, which serves as a comfortable and accommodating vessel for adventurous travelers.
The 10 Best Sailing Adventure Destinations in the World? ›
Open waters, near-constant breezes, centuries of nautical history, a hotbed of international racing (America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race), and a scenic and accessible waterfront — you can't deny that Newport, Rhode Island is the sailing capital of the world.What is the sailor capital of the world? ›
Open waters, near-constant breezes, centuries of nautical history, a hotbed of international racing (America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race), and a scenic and accessible waterfront — you can't deny that Newport, Rhode Island is the sailing capital of the world.What is the best route for sailing around the world? ›
The safest sailing route around the world is to stay as close to the equator as possible to make use of the more favorable winds there. This route requires sailing through the Panama and Suez Canals, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, and the Atlantic.Which countries are known for sailing? ›
- Thailand. Explore some of the most beautiful and most famous beaches in the world by sailing Thailand. ...
- Greece. The Greek Islands are home to some of the greatest sunsets on Earth. ...
- Australia. ...
- The French Riviera. ...
- Croatia. ...
- New Zealand. ...
- The Grenadines. ...
- The Adriatic Sea.
- The Aegan Sea.
- The Ionian Sea.
- The Tyrrhenian Sea.
- The Caribbean Sea.
- The Andaman Sea.
Pacific Ocean Weather
The primary threat to sailors (other than holes in the boat) is bad weather. The Pacific Ocean is known for being much calmer and less extreme than the Atlantic, and there's some truth to this reputation.
- How many boats are there in the USA?
- How many sailboats are there in the USA?
- How many sailboats are sold each year?
- What states have the most boats?
- #1 California.
- #2 Michigan.
- #3 Florida.
- #4 Minnesota.
The British Virgin Islands are well known as the “Sailing Capital of the Caribbean”. Sailors delight in the ability to easily navigate from one island to the next often by sight alone.Is it safe to sail in Croatia? ›
In general, Croatia is a very safe country on both land and sea – with ideal weather, locations, and low crime rates. As with any outdoor activity, however, preparation is the most important aspect of staying safe when sailing.What country sails the most? ›
Greece is the most popular sailing ground every year, with more people sailing there than in any other place on earth.
What is the safest yacht in the world? ›
The Kraken 50, billed as the 'safest blue water yacht in build today,' has been launched. Unlike all her contemporaries, the K50 has the unique 'Zero Keel' construction: An all-in-one hull and keel with scantlings to match.Why don t ships sail through the Red Sea? ›
There are three major challenges to transiting the Red Sea area: the Somali pirates, the adverse winds in the northern Red Sea, and the regional politics.What is the biggest sailing event in the world? ›
Its prestigious reputation attracts the top professional sailors, yacht designers and the majority of wealthy entrepreneurs and sponsors.
Sit on the WINDWARD side of the boat (the side the wind is coming from Ð also the side opposite the sail) so you can see the luff of the sail and also balance the natural tendency of the wind to tip the boat to leeward.What is the hardest water to sail? ›
The Drake Passage on the Way to Antarctica Is Notoriously Intense. Rough Waters: One of the most notorious places for rock-and-roll cruising is the Drake Passage, the body of water between Cape Horn -- the southernmost tip of South America -- and the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica.What is the most difficult sea to sail? ›
1. Gulf of Guinea. Fast replacing the Somalian coast as the piracy hotspot, the Gulf of Guinea has become one of the most dangerous places to go sailing. The gulf is found on the northeasternmost part of the Atlantic Ocean, right between Cape Lopez in Gabon and Cape Three Points in the Western Ghana region.What is the strongest line for sailing? ›
Here Fisher recommends using a Spectra/Dyneema-cored line, since it's extremely strong, lightweight, and doesn't absorb water. An alternative would be a Vectran-cored line, which stretches even less and doesn't creep; however, it's heavier than Spectra/Dyneema and absorbs water.What time of year are seas the roughest? ›
Issues: Ocean crossings always encounter the roughest waters because there are no nearby landmasses to provide shelter. Avoid: The winter months are the most intense, with transatlantic cruises hitting very rough seas from November through February and Pacific cruises from February through April.What boat is least likely to capsize? ›
Larger boats are less prone to capsize than smaller boats. A dismasted sailboat is more likely to capsize than a boat carrying her full rig. A boat has an inherent stability range, ie. an angle of heel past which it will capsize.Where is sailing sophisticated? ›
Sailing Sophisticated Lady is in Panama. Gb for an average 20-minute episode in 4K resolution.
Where is the birthplace of sailing? ›
The earliest record of a ship under sail appears on an Egyptian vase from about 3500 BC. Vikings sailed to North America around 1000 years ago.What city has the most yachts? ›
Speaking of marinas and shipyards, Fort Lauderdale is the yachting capital of the world due to its abundant marine businesses. These include gear manufacturers, retailers, yacht brokers, and service companies. Altogether, they make a $9.7-billion economic impact within Broward County.What is the sailing capital of the USA? ›
Annapolis, Maryland Is the Sailing Capital of the U.S. — How to Visit.How long does it take to sail from Florida to the Caribbean? ›
The sailing distance between Miami, Florida, and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico is 1,139 nautical miles. Assuming you are leaving Miami, you could pass through ports of the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The trip is estimated to take between four and seven days, depending on conditions and stops.Do I need a license to sail in the Caribbean? ›
Caribbean: No sailing license or certification is required in the Caribbean, BUT you must have an adequate sailing resume. Pacific: No sailing license or certification is required in the Pacific regions such as French Polynesia, Australia, New Zealand or Tonga, BUT you must have an adequate sailing resume.Is it safe to sleep while sailing? ›
Tiredness and being short-crewed can also make night sailing more difficult. That being said, with the right gear and the right systems in place, there's no reason at all why it isn't perfectly safe to sleep on a sailboat!Why are boats so cheap in Croatia? ›
Compared to the other Mediterranean destinations, such as Italy or Greece, the boats in Croatia are cheaper to rent, as there are many ports, yachts and providers. The largest Croatian yacht charter bases are located in Dubrovnik, Split and Trogir.Which month is best to do sail Croatia? ›
The summer months of June, July and August are the peak season for sailing trips when it's quite warm on land and at sea, with the water very pleasant for swimming, while winds are low.Why are most sails black? ›
Why? The simple answer is that many sails are now made with carbon fibers—the strongest load-carrying material in sails—and carbon is black.What country produces the best sailors? ›
New Zealand produces some of the world's finest sailors. Its teams have won this race twice before and the America's Cup three times, plus multiple Olympic medals and world championships.
What is the most famous sailing race in the world? ›
The America's Cup was established in 1851. This is the oldest, and arguably the most prestigious, event in yacht racing.Do private yachts get attacked by pirates? ›
Your yacht is an easy target for pirates.
- Designed as pleasure boats, superyachts are not armed and are easy prey». The speed at which the yacht moves is also important. The maximum speed of many superyachts is limited to 17 knots, while pirate skiffs can reach 35-40 knots.
From Hong Kong to Seattle and Melbourne to Tokyo, most superyachts can sail the seas with relative ease. This is attributed to the strength of the engines and the capability of the vessel to handle potentially rough sea conditions.Is it safe to sail around the world? ›
Statistically speaking, sailing is one of the safest ways of seeing the world. But you can make it more dangerous if you're not careful.Has anyone been to the bottom of the Red Sea? ›
Explorer Victor Vescovo (left) and Mohammed A. Aljahdli (right), an engineer from the University's Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab, were the first to descend to the bottom of the Red Sea's Suakin Trough.Why can't ships sail in the Dead Sea? ›
Whilst boats can easily float in the Dead Sea like a human body, the water's buoyancy makes it impossible for boats to effectively move through the lake.Does the Red Sea empty into the ocean? ›
The Red Sea water mass-exchanges its water with the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean via the Gulf of Aden.What is the longest time sailing at sea? ›
When he wearily stepped onto land, he had finished a remarkable human journey: Reid Stowe had been at sea for 1,152 days, the longest nonstop ocean voyage in recorded history.What is the biggest ship still sailing? ›
It's quite the endeavor too—the largest sailing ship in the world, she's a result of a partnership between hospitality giant and Orient Express owner Accor and Chantiers de l'Atlantique, a French shipbuilder.What is a sailboat race called? ›
In simple terms, a regatta is a series of sailboat races.
What culture had the best sailors? ›
One thing is for sure Phoenicians were among the best sailors of the ancient world, if not the best.Who is the youngest female solo sailor around the world? ›
Jessica Watson (OAM) navigated some of the world's most remote oceans and survived seven knockdowns and 210 days alone at sea to become the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop around the world, aged 16. On completion of the voyage, Jessica was met by the then Prime Minister who declared her an Australian hero.Who is the youngest round the world sailors? ›
How far would you go to achieve your sailing dream? Dutch sailor Laura Dekker went further than most to become the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the world.What is the most popular sailboat class? ›
The most common type of sailboat is the racing sailboat, used in sailing competitions around the world. Several international events intended to raise awareness about sailing allow a wide range of craft types to participate, including catamarans and racer-cruiser.What are the negatives of living on a sailboat? ›
Some cons are cramped living space, having your home rock when the weather turns nasty, and small living space. There are many variables to consider when creating a list of pros and cons for living on a sailboat. Whether you live at anchor or at a dock, one con for sailboat living is the general lack of space.What is the most prestigious sailing race in the world? ›
The America's Cup was established in 1851. This is the oldest, and arguably the most prestigious, event in yacht racing.What is the most famous sailboat in the world? ›
This list could not miss the ship of one of the most famous scientists in history: Charles Darwin. The Beagle was an impressive brigantine of some 30 metres in length that circumnavigated the globe on several occasions, and it was during the second expedition that embarked Charles Darwin.
Christopher Columbus, who is credited with discovering the New World, Ferdinand Magellan, who led the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe, Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India by sea, and Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world, are among the most famous sailors.What is the longest distance sailing? ›
The longest straight-line path over water begins in Sonmiani, Balochistan, Pakistan, passes between Africa and Madagascar and then between Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego in South America, and ends in the Karaginsky District, Kamchatka Krai, in Russia. It is 32,089.7 kilometers long.Which is the longest sailing in the world? ›
Completion of the voyage
On Day 658, Reid Stowe broke the world record for the longest non-stop ocean voyage, previously held by Jon Sanders, if one disregards Nansen's Fram expedition, during which the schooner Fram lay trapped on ice for nearly three years, and the crew was away from land for at least 1067 days.
What is the fastest sailing around the world? ›
Only 4 sailors managed to complete a round-the-world tour in a single-handed multihull without stopover and without assistance: Francis Joyon (2004) 72 days, (2008) 57 days. Ellen MacArthur (2005) 71 days. Thomas Coville (2016) 49 days, (2011) 61 days, (2008) 59 days.Who is the owner of the most expensive sailboat? ›
The 533-foot Eclipse superyacht is valued at $600 million, according to the luxury magazine Robb Report. The Eclipse is owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, one of 16 yachts and vessels that he owns, according to Forbes.Where is Jeff Bezos sailboat? ›
After recently completing sea trials in the North Sea, the billionaire's new sailing yacht Koru was delivered by Oceanco late last week. The 417-footer left the Dutch yard on April 6 for her maiden voyage to Gibraltar, as reported by Superyacht Times.What is the best size sailboat to sail around the world? ›
The ideal sailboat size to sail around the world is between 35 and 45 feet long. This length will ensure a high enough maximum hull speed, good handling in high waves, and enough cargo capacity to carry multiple weeks of food and water. Longer boats will perform as well, but are more expensive too.