How To Sail From Scotland To France

How To Sail From Scotland To France | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

September 13, 2022

A popular question regarding sailing in Europe is how to sail from Scotland to France. The trip is beautiful, with so many things to see and do along the way.

Tons of planning and preparation need to go into trips like these so it is best to plan accordingly. So how would you sail from Scotland to France?

The sailing distance between Aberdeen Harbour in Scotland and Le Pecq, France, is 740 nautical miles. If you started in Aberdeen, you could visit ports along the North Sea coast and stop in Edinburgh, Sunderland, and London before landing in the northwest corner of France.

Plenty of decisions need to be made before you try and navigate parts of Europe, such as having a passport. Something like that takes time, so you would need to plan in advance if you do not have one.

According to expert sailors, planning for every situation is going to be key to your success. Planning routes, booking your stays at marinas, and making sure your boat is in good condition is just the start.


Table of contents

How to Travel from Scotland to France

The starting location and certain parts of France, for this example, might not exactly be where you want to begin, so the trip will likely vary in how many days it takes to reach France. Simply adjust it to your liking and see how you want to go about sailing it.

In this scenario, you are traveling about 740 nautical miles, which could take anywhere between three to five days. This also assumes you have great weather and are traveling at 10 knots. In theory, you can make it as long as a week or blast through there in about three days.

Aberdeen to Ports in Eyemouth

Leaving Aberdeen, Scotland, begin traveling south towards France. Along the way, you could choose to make a stop in Eyemouth at the harbour.

Eyemouth is a great spot to stretch your legs, refuel, and grab some local food before traveling again the next day. Some places that might be of interest here include Gunsgreen House, Eyemouth Museum, and Coldingham Bay.

Eyemouth to Ports in Scarborough

As you leave Eyemouth, another stop along the way you should check out is Scarborough. There is a lot of rich English history to be seen here, along with a beautiful coastline.

There is a great amount of restaurants, stores, and landmarks to see also. Some of the top places to look into are Peasholm Park, Scarborough Beach, Scarborough Castle, and the St. Mary’s Church.

Scarborough to Ports in Sheringham

Leaving Scarborough, continue heading south until you find ports in Sheringham. This is an excellent opportunity to refuel, try some local food, or hang out for a few days to explore it all.

There are a wide variety of options to check out here that you can explore. These include North Norfolk Railway, Sheringham Park, Sheringham Beach, and Beeston Bump.

Sheringham to Ports in Calais

As you begin to exit Sheringham, you could choose to make a stop in London. London is a different world of its own and a popular destination. However, this adds another day to the mix so adjust accordingly.

If you want to continue the trip as fast as possible, consider checking out Calais, France. This will be the first step into France and allow you to plan a route anywhere else here.

Tips for Sailing from Scotland to France

Before heading out on any long term sailing trip, you need to put a list together of everything you need and take the time to prepare. Things have to be checked on your boat to make sure it is in good working condition, you need a good supply of food, and have the right type of clothes to sail are just the start.

You also need the proper boat to get the job done in different conditions. Being honest about whether or not your sailboat can handle tough situations will only help you out in the long run in regards to your safety.

Having the Correct Boat

If you have a suitable sailboat to handle a trip like this, you need to make sure it is in good condition. Check the sails, look for cracks, and make sure the oil has been changed recently in the engine. For longer trips, you will need to have enough oil for an additional oil change and extra parts in the event something breaks.

If you do not yet have a boat, this is a different stage in planning. At a minimum, you should have a boat that is 25 feet long and has the capability of living aboard.

These types of boats can be trawlers, catamarans, or a handful of monohulls that fit that description. Each will have their pros and cons, so this will require the right amount of research and what works best for you.

Finalizing Your Trip

While this trip between Scotland and France is meant to educate, your situation will most likely be different. There are plenty of opportunities to stop along the way from Aberdeen to different parts of France that will get the job done.

Depending on what part of Scotland you will be sailing around, there are two bodies of water. This includes the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. The most opportune moments to sail would be somewhere between April and June, as you will have longer days and shorter nights with quality weather.

In addition to accounting for the weather, you need to have the right paperwork. This means passports or visas that allow you to be in respective areas legally. These can vary, so be sure to check in advance what countries require before entering.

Taking on Fuel

Each sailboat will consume a different amount of fuel compared to others. As a rule of thumb, you should estimate every 450 miles or so to refuel for some larger sailboats that have good fuel capacity.

While this trip is only a few days based on the scenario, at a minimum, you need to account for changes in the course due to weather or wanting to visit other places. If the weather is not cooperating, there are days when you might use more fuel.

When you do make stops at marinas, you should always top off your boat with fuel. You could look into having fuel containers on board, but make sure you have room to store them properly.

The Right Sailing Gear

There are essential items you must take with you while sailing. These include an up-to-date GPS, charts, and a heavy-duty VHF radio. You want to have a backup for navigating in case your GPS fails. You also want a good quality radio for emergencies or important updates.

You can likely leave your cold weather gear stowed away, as Scotland and surrounding areas will be wet and warm. In addition, you should have clothing to protect you from the wind.

Another useful item to have is an anchor to park your boat for the night or to explore. Depending on the boat, this could be quite useful for saving money at a dock.

Food and Fresh Water

Even though this scenario is expected to last around three to five days, you want to pack plenty of food. This might mean packing more than you need for 10 days or longer, especially if you extend your trip or have issues at sea.

While packaged foods are an easy fix, you should try to eat as fresh or local as possible. This way you can achieve the proper nutrition that you need while sailing.

If you plan on being days out at sea, a good desalination device is worth an investment. You can only pack so many bottles of water on board, which add weight and take up space.

How To Sail From Scotland To France
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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