Expectations 2017-11-27T11:26:43+00:00

What You Can Expect On Board

So you’re thinking about a sail on Irene but not sure what to expect?  Well, hopefully we can give you an idea!

About Sailing Irene

We are passionate about introducing people to sailing on Irene.  Experiencing the wind in the sails, hauling on the rigging and helming a large powerful ship is an experience we believe everybody should have.  It’s a taste of our maritime history, an insight into the lives of sailors from a century ago and an exhilarating experience.

Although the sailing is what we’re about, we take the hospitality equally seriously.  Our aim is to give you some great sailing in stunning locations but also make sure you receive the fabulous accommodation and outstanding catering which we have developed a reputation for.

However, it is very important to us that you understand what you are signing up for when you book a voyage with us!  We’d hate to disappoint you if your expectations differ from what we can provide.  There are somethings we can’t control and some elements of Irene that are impossible to change.

Below Decks

Below decks, we offer double cabins with en-suite toilet and shower facilities.  We have a very comfortable saloon to spend your evenings and a commercial standard galley from where we serve great food.

There are a few caveats to be aware of though!


We carry around 2,000 litres of water on board.  Although this sounds a lot, some of our voyages don’t visit ports where supplies are easy to come by and extravagant usage when we have a full compliment of guests, and a longer trip, could leave us short.  The skipper will advise you if we need to be more frugal.  Your cooperation and support is expected and appreciated, in the interests of everybody on board.  It is unlikely that we will be able to offer long showers to all guests, every day.


Our cabins are comfortable but some are a little on the bijou side!  Large, rigid suitcases can be difficult to store in the cabins. Soft bags work better.  There is also limited storage space so please leave your tuxedos and cocktail dresses at home.  We don’t operate a dress code for dinner!

Solo travellers may be required to share a cabin with other solo travellers but we will always ensure that these are single sex.  We try and resolve any issues that arise during a voyage but please be aware that our flexibility may be limited by the mix of guests we have on board.  Sole travellers are very welcome to book an entire cabin to themselves for a premium but we rarely experience problems and some great friendships have been born from sharing a cabin with a like-minded guest.

Personal Comfort:

Please note that Irene is a sailing vessel and we will be sailing her!  If you have ever struggled with sea sickness, please be aware that this could be experienced on Irene.  She is a large ship and far more stable than a small, modern yacht but in the wrong conditions, she may roll and this can induce the dreaded ‘mal de mer’.

There are some great ‘off the shelf’ remedies available from pharmacists or talk to your GP if you think that something more serious is required.  At its worst sea sickness is debilitating and dangerous.  In extreme cases we would need to get you off the ship by lifeboat or helicopter.  Far better to plan in advance and bring some preventative measures with you.

We do not allow smoking anywhere on board Irene.  The last cigarette that was smoked on board is believed to have caused a serious fire which resulted in Irene burning down to the waterline and sinking.  This would put a serious crimp on your holiday!  E-cigarettes are fine to be smoked on deck if you regularly indulge.

Above Decks

On deck, Irene has been kept as original as possible with regards to her sailing rig.  This means our guests enjoy an authentic sailing experience, as it was when Irene was built at the start of the 1900’s.  Hoisting and trimming sail, hauling up the anchor and even helming this fabulous old girl can be hard, physical work which we would love you to get involved in.  However, this is your holiday and we want you to participate only to the extent that you want to.  Sit back and enjoy the ride or dive in and start flexing those muscles.  It’s entirely up to you!

There are plenty of opportunities to contribute as part of the crew even if you don’t fancy the physical stuff.  On longer passages we run a watch system that ensures the ship is safely manned at all times.  This may involve being posted as look out, getting involved in the navigation or just maintaining an anchor watch.  On these longer runs, we operate the watches 24 hours a day.  Sailing by starlight is something everybody should experience at least once in their lives even if you don’t always fancy it when you are roused from your bunk at two o’clock in the morning!

Whatever you get involved with, you will be given full instruction and supervision from one of the crew.  Our watches are run by either our skipper or first mate with an experienced deckhand always available as well.  Their passion is giving you an exciting and memorable holiday but their first priority is always the safety of the guests, the crew and the ship.  The night watches also provide a fabulous opportunity to hear the tales from the crew of their sailing exploits and the history of Irene.

Whilst we love sharing our passion for sailing Irene, you must be aware that she is a working sailing vessel.  The spars and sails are heavy and require physical effort to hoist.  The wheel is also heavy and can kick violently in the wrong conditions.  If you’d prefer to sit back and let the crew do the heavy lifting, that’s absolutely fine with us.  Just let us know.  Equally, if you have a medical condition which could be exacerbated, you must let us know so we don’t place you at any undue risk.  You can expect sore muscles, a few blisters and the odd bruise if you do get involved.  The reward far outstrips this cost!

Whilst we do everything possible to minimise the risk on board, there are heavy moving parts which will cause you serious damage if you try and stop them with your head.  You will receive a full briefing on the risks when we are sailing.  Your attention and cooperation with this is expected and required.  Using your initiative is very admirable but following instructions is much more important.  You never know when that rope you’re about to undo is actually holding one of the crew at the top of the mast!