A Look back at the beautiful sailing vessels that visited Plymouth in 2023, and images captured by the team at Westward Shipping News.

The tall ship Gunilla set the year off with some of the world’s most spectacular sailing ships captured in Plymouth Sound. The three masted barque ship is one of the largest sailing ships in Sweden and was built in 1940 as a cargo vessel, and re-built in 1997, as a sailing ship for training young people how to sail. 

38 trainees can sleep on board in 4-person cabins where a large hall can be used as a classroom for learning, talking and relaxing.  The Gunilla visited Plymouth in 2022, and was berthed at Millbay Docks.

Arrived in May 2023 and berthed at Millbay Docks

The three-masted goddess sailing ship the Artemis at anchor in Plymouth Sound.

The Artemis is sailing in Plymouth waters and a beautiful example of a North European nautical tradition.

Built in Norway in 1926 for whale fishing that was later on used as a cargo ship between Asia and South America.

The majestic vessel now sails across the globe to attend tall ship events, regattas, and showcasing the age of sail now on display in Plymouth.

Arrived on October 27

The Scottish Paddle Steamer the PS Waveley (Picture courtesy of Pictures Scotland)

A Scottish icon paddle steamer the PS Waverley made its iconic entrance into Plymouth on a 24-hour berthing trial.

The world’s last seagoing steamer made its historic return to the city this for fuel and to undertake a trial berthing at the Barbican landing stage – now becoming a familiar place for UK and international ships visiting the city.

It was reported that planning for the ship’s visit was made about a year ago, even though many people were delightfully surprised to see the beautiful ship in the Sound and Barbican. 

The Paddle Steamer was a regular visitor in Plymouth waters during the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

City maritime bosses are hoping the Waverley will return to the city in 2024.

Arrived on October 10

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 93.jpg

The El Galeón, a full-size replica of a 17th century Spanish galleon made it’s dramatic entrance across the Sound.

The Cattewater Harbour Commissioners secured the visit of the ship and one of the very few UK ports that the El Galeón will be visiting as part of a schedule European tour.

The ship was launched in 2009, and holds a crew between 15 to 35 people. 

Arrived on September 12


The training ship the Pelican of London berthed on the Barbican.
The training vessel is owned by the youth development charity Seas Your Future, that offers young people sail training, maritime careers, and ocean science voyages for personal and character development. 

The charity was founded in 2008 to support the development of young people, building resilience, self-confidence, and independence. The Pelican of London sails for 46-48 weeks each year with up to 35 young trainees, and 12 professional crew and volunteers.

The Tall Ships visited Falmouth for the sixth time that was a melody of parades, music, receptions, and where thousands of people visited the town and quayside events.

The weather conditions and cancellation of the Parade of Sails did not dampen the excitement from locals, and visitors.

Ships attended from countries including Mexico, Denmark, Poland, Uruguay, Spain and Italy.

The largest of the fleet taking part was the Polish ship Dar Młodzieży, a three-masted frigate which is one of the largest training sailing ships in the world. 

Westward Shipping News special feature on August 19 

Two of the world’s luxury super-yachts were spotted by the team at Westward Shipping News.

The award-winning luxury motor yacht Scout and was built in 2019 in the Netherlands with a steel hull and an aluminium superstructure.

She is powered by 2 Caterpillar Inc engines, which gives her top speeds, and in world rankings for largest yachts, Scout, is listed at number 410.

The second superyacht anchored near the Plymouth Breakwater was the 74m long M&Em motor yacht.

The vessel is ranked 244th largest superyacht in the world, and can carry 12 passengers and 19 crew, including the ship’s captain.

M&Em was launched last year, but is already well travelled and has recently been to Monaco, Gibraltar, Vigo, in Spain, and Greenock, in Scotland.

The super-yacht was built by Dutch luxury boat builder Amels, and is one of the largest vessels built by the company.

The magnificent tall ship the Dutch Oostschelde was greeted at the Plymouth Breakwater by a mini armed of small boats, and was escorted into Plymouth’s historic Barbican by a fanfare of loud hooters and sirens.

The quayside was buzzing with locals booking tickets to board the vessel before it set sail again on an exciting 40,000 nautical mile adventure to recreate Darwin’s voyage of Scientific Discovery.

HMS Beagle originally planned to spend two years on its trip around the world, but instead, the voyage took nearly five years, from December 1831 to October 1836.

In 1831, Charles Darwin joined HMS Beagle as the ship’s naturalist for the trip around the world.

Arrived on August 12

The elegant and two masted gaff rigged Avontuur was spotted leaving the Plymouth Breakwater on our 24-hour webcam.

The two rigged gaff schooner was built in 1920 by Otto Smit in Stadskanaal, in the Netherlands.

Until 2005, she was used as a sailing cargo vessel, most recently by Dutch Captain Paul Wahlen who sailed cargo between the North Sea, Baltic, North Atlantic and across to Caribbean ports – where she was widely regarded as one of the last true cargo sailing ships of the twentieth century.

After years serving as a day passenger ship along the Dutch coast and West Friesian islands the AVONTUUR became the foundation of the Timbercoast community in autumn 2014.

In today’s world of clean maritime shipping there are 5 companies, who are sailing ships the traditional way and hauling cargo, and shipping experts say there is a growing interest for more sailing cargo vessels, and where sailing has been a reliable method to move cargo and people over the world for the last 5,000 years.

Arrived on July 13

The superyacht Reef Chief docked at the Barbican Landing Stage.

Measuring at 49-metres with a volume of 476 GT, the stunning yacht is owned by American business entrepreneur James Dicke.

The multi-million pound vessel boasts naval architecture and Art-Deco inspired interiors, and can accommodate up to 11 guests in one master, three doubles, and a twin cabin.

The Reef Chief was originally called the Anjilis and was built by US based Trinity Yachts. 

The United States still holds the highest number of superyacht owners in the world, and with more American visitors looking to come to the UK, and not just London.

The Reef Chief is not amongst the biggest super yachts in the world, but yachting experts say it has ‘enough oomph to steal the spotlight’.

Arrived on June 23

Main picture Plymouth’s The Island Trust sailing boats that provides flexible personal development programmes for young people on board its fleet of traditionally rigged sailingpicture taken in the Sound from our 24 webcam