Costa Blanca, Spain


Imagine this: gentle waves lapping rhythmically against a wind-driven hull, the scent of the salty sea spray on the freshening breeze, taut sails towering majestically overhead, a pod of young dolphins dancing in the bow wave of the azure waters– all against a backdrop of some of Europe’s most breath-taking coastlines. This was the lure of what was promised to be the voyage of a lifetime for Paul and Helen Nicholls.

The Royal Clipper has the proud distinction of being the largest, and only, five-masted fully-rigged sailing ship built since her predecessor was launched on her maiden voyage from Bremerhaven. With her complement of 42 sails, which have a combined area of 56,000 square feet, Royal Clipper stands out. The first time our eyes saw this majestic ship was in Venice, and boy did it impress!

For all the characteristics that she possesses from the grand age of sail, Royal Clipper is as new as tomorrow, and boasts state-of-the-art navigation systems to prove it.

Our luggage was already in our cabin, taken from the hotel that very morning, as we awaited embarkation in Venice.

Royal Clipper carries just 227 guests in luxurious style. An expansive and spacious outdoor environment is achieved through the ample deck space which also includes three inviting swimming pools.

Our trip was well planned from Venice to Rome with many ports of call on the way.

The 4th engineer, a very young French gentleman told me: “It’s our intention to sail as much as we can”

Whenever they can, they leave port or anchorage on sail, this is termed the ‘Sail Away’ and is accompanied by a very moving piece of music: Vangelis – “Conquest of Paradise, which can bring tears to the eyes in such a situation.

You can help with the sailing if you wish, but the scope is a little limited and the crew tend to work to set routines, but at times you can visit the bridge. and are made very welcome. You can also helm – turning the wheel six full revolutions will alter the course just one degree!

One of the popular activities was mast climbing to the crow’s nest, of course Helen had to do it. The view was fantastic.

Sail repair was an ongoing task every day.  When you have 42 sails, it’s never ending.

One of the activities was learning rope work, and there were plenty of lines to work with….

A highlight, and a scary adventure, was sailing near Stromboli,  a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, just off the north coast of Sicily. This volcano erupted on the 4th of July just as we were passing. A very spectacular sight.

An adventure all over too soon, and one perhaps never to be repeated, yes – it was the voyage of a lifetime!

Click HERE for more Royal Clipper information.

Helen & Paul Nicholls

Comments (6)

What a special trip! Thank you for sharing! x

How wonderful!! So enjoyed that article! Xx

Oh wow.
What a fantastic experience. I thought my late husband Paul and I had something special with our ketch Tawny Owl and five sails. See you at the next CBYA meet. I intend to carry on although sadly I have lost my darling Gaby. Love to you both Barbara

What a wonderful experience … and to see Stromboli erupt!

How wonderful. Thanks for the ‘blog’. An amazing experience. The Star clipper is on my wishlist for Sth America.
And that after Cowes week!!

Safe travels. Bx

What a great trip, i think i would need to become crew, to do it ??

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