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Sketch and Sail on the Lady of Avenel 


Spend a week exploring the beauty of the
West Coast of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides under sail, whilst filling a sketchbook with colourful memories of this spectacular scenery.

We are two artists, Claudia and Jane, with different styles and experiences, and we are looking for people to join us on a sketching and sailing adventure. We hope that you will be part of it.

After Sketch and Sail's inaugural voyage on the Lady of Avenel in 2023 Sketch and Sail is returning in 2024 with two more trips for budding adventurers, sketches, and artists.


  • Outer Hebridean Voyage - sailing from Oban to the Barra in the Outer Hebrides from Sunday the 5th of May to Saturday the 11th of May 2024. 

  • Inner Hebridean Voyage - sailing from Oban to Oban exploring the Inner Hebridean Islands such as Mull, Lismore, Eigg and others. Taking place from Sunday the 6th of October to Saturday the 12th.

This is an opportunity to draw.

  • Perhaps you have always wanted to draw, but have never had the time… 

  • Perhaps you yearn to record your impressions using lines and colour, but don’t know how to start… 

  • Or maybe you already sketch a bit and would like to spend time sketching on a beautiful sailing boat, with no pressure and no rush… 

  • Or are you an experienced artist who seeks to add marine landscapes to their portfolio… 

  • Do you simply like the idea of spending time at sea, with time to think, doodle and reflect…


This is an opportunity to record what you see, amongst like-minded people. 

The focus of Sketch and Sail is on creating sketches rather than finished paintings. You could create the beginnings of a visual travel diary, full of nature observations, colours, notes, ideas and inspirations.

Sketching is a great way to enhance your appreciation of what you see, using all the senses to create lasting memories in a way that photos don’t quite manage.


The act of drawing, even wobbly drawing, makes you slow down and look at what you see, enriching the experience.

Non-painting partners are very welcome of course, as are people who would like to record their impressions in other ways, through writing poems or prose, creating patterns or making collages.

Our Passage for the Outer and Inner Hebrides during Sketch and Sail 


This itinerary is indicative. The weather may have other plans for us. There is plenty to see and experience in the area: we will plan the day’s adventures as we go, based loosely on the ideas indicated below.

Sunday the 5th of May to Sat 11th

Sunday the 6th of October to Saturday the 12th


Join us for an exciting adventure sailing from Oban to Barra in the Outer Hebrides. With potential highlights including:

  • The historic village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull

  • Sailing the Sound of Mull 

  • The rugged beauty of Loch Moidart and the Isle of Skye 

  • Opportunities for painting sessions against the backdrop of iconic landmarks like Eilean Donan Castle and the soaring cliffs of Rum and Eigg

  • Culminating in Barra, known for its sandy beaches and rich Gaelic heritage

  • An epic voyage across the open seas to the Outer Hebrides

Join us for an exciting adventure sailing from Oban to Oban around the Inner Hebrides. With potential highlights including:

  • The historic village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull

  • The Island of Iona and St. Columba’s monastery. There will be time to experience and explore the island and the iconic human and natural landscapes. 

  • Treshnish Isles: including secluded anchorages for peaceful painting sessions. Abundant wildlife, including seals and seabirds.

  • Sail to the unique island of Staffa with its mesmerizing basalt columns. Sketch the dramatic landscape and the famous Fingal's Cave.

Highlights from Sketch and Sail 2023


What is a typical day on Sketch and Sail?

After breakfast prepared by the ship’s cook, we clear the tables, wash up, and discuss the plan for the day. Some people might go outside to draw the shoreline before we move on. Others will opt to take part in a short workshop on a relevant topic – how to begin a sketch, how to mix the Scottish landscape colours, how to sketch on the move, how to paint sea and sky.

Then we’ll sail to a new location, an opportunity to sketch the changing landscape from the deck, help to sail the ship, or simply take in the view. On most days we will drop anchor in time to take a walk ashore, beachcomb for seaweed and feathers to add to our sketchbooks, or have a go at sketching the Lady of Avenel at anchor.

At the end of the day, as the sun dips over the yardarm, we’ll gather round and appreciate the wonderful mix of sketches we’ve all done, and share stories. Sketchbooks are all as individual as you are, and are always “work-in-progress”. There’s no pressure and no need to worry that others will be ‘better’ than you, or that your work is not as perfect as you’d like it to be. The beauty of sketching is that we all see the world in different ways, and we will all learn from each other.


The important thing about sketching is to do it.

“The picture is inspired by the view. It is not a copy of the view.”


After supper prepared by the ship’s cook, there’s time to carry on sketching, write your postcards, read a book, watch the sunset, or enjoy a few traditional songs and tunes. There are always musicians on board a traditional sailing ship, and Claudia never travels without her harp.

About your tutors

FAQs & booking Sketch and Sail on the Lady of Avenel

What experience do I need? 

None at all – either in sketching or sailing!  Lady of Avenel’s professional crew welcome help with sail handling but you can do as little or as much as you like – step back from the action and draw the figures pulling on ropes if you want a challenge. Or get involved, take a turn at the helm and learn the ropes, it’s up to you.

As far as sketching is concerned, complete beginners are very welcome as well as those with more experience. This voyage is an opportunity to draw, even if you’ve never tried it before.  There’s no wrong way to fill a sketch book, there’s only your way There will be plenty of practical support in the form of demonstrations or individual help, all optional.

What do I need to bring?

Bring whatever sketching materials you like to use. There is limited space on the boat, and it’s windy in Scotland, so sizes up to A4 are best.


We’ll be sketching standing up on the deck in the wind, sitting on a bench on the poop deck as the crew adjust the rigging, leaning against a rock on the shore watching the waves, or seated in the boat’s saloon working on the table. Leave the easels and oil paints at home!  

We will be sketching ashore on islands, so a small folding stool or sitting pad may be useful if you prefer to sit down.

Suggested sketching equipment is: a small watercolour box, an A5 sketchbook, A5 watercolour paper, a few brushes, pens and pencils, all in a waterproof bag. If you would like help selecting equipment please ask and we will send a detailed list, or we can provide a kit for you to buy.

Other kit suggestions:

‘Stugeron’ just in case of seasickness, sun cream, a water bottle, a camera (binoculars are great if you have a pair), a small torch (headtorch is ideal). 

You may have other things want to bring like snorkelling gear, fishing gear or a musical instrument.

Kit list:

  • Please bring a light weight sleeping bag two to three season should be suitable for the cabins 

  • Towels and wash bag

  • Any personal medication needed for the trip

  • Robust boots for any walking and trainers for the ship (wellingtons ifs you have spare capacity in your bag)

  • Clothing – 2 or 3 long sleeved shirts. 2 or 3 T shirts/vests 2 or 3 jerseys or fleeces of various thickness  

  • Three pairs old trousers or tracksuit trousers 

  • Shorts Socks and underwear for 6 days

  • Warm hat and spare hat plus gloves. Fingerless gloves are a good idea for sketching outdoors.

  • Water and windproof trousers and jacket (mountain waterproofs will be OK for the trip and sailing

  • A swimming costume.

What is included?

You will need to bring your own art materials but there will be plenty of spare paper on board, and also pencils, pens and different media available on board for you to share. There will also be a selection of sketchbooks, pens and pencils available to buy.

All tuition, shore expeditions, all meals on board and snacks are included.

All bed linen and hand towels are provided but we also ask that you bring a sleeping bag and bath towels (see standard kit list below).

Not included: meals ashore and alcoholic drinks are not included. 

Accommodation on board: You will be in a cosy shared cabin space. There are bunk beds, two per cabin. When you pack, keep to the minimum as you will need to be easily mobile. Please bring mostly old clothes which could get grimy. 

The following list should include all you need whatever time of year you come. It is best to pack into a holdall or rucksack as your kit will need to be easily moved and squashed into limited spaces. 

Suitcases are NOT suitable! It is a good idea to trim your nails short before you come, when you are hauling canvas with wet hands you can easily tear a nail. 

Please advise us in advance of any dietary requirements and medical conditions.

Travel – Getting to Oban

Glasgow to Oban by public transport

If you’re coming from the East coast, Edinburgh or the UK you will need to first travel through Glasgow. Once in here the best form of travel is via train, the easiest website to organise all of this is through – booked in advance tickets can be very cheap. Regular trains travel to Oban that take just over 3 hours and costs approximately £40 for a return ticket. Information on train fares and timetables can be found at

Oban is also serviced by regular buses via The bus stops right outside Oban train station, when you exit the train station, follow the water’s edge with the sea on your left for 400m and  you will see the ‘Lady of Avenel’ waiting in all her beauty at the quay.

Driving to Oban

By car from Glasgow take the A82 which skirts the west side of Loch Lomond. 

From here, you need to join the A85 at Tyndrum which takes you right to the centre of Oban. When the A85 reaches the coast, you will see the ‘Lady of Avenel’ moored on your right as you look to sea. Parking is available at Oban train station, but there is a daily fee of £3. 


Booking & more info for Sketch and Sail 2024

Dates for 2024


Trip 1: Sunday the 5th of May to Saturday the 11th of May 2024. The trip will be departing from Oban and ending in Barra in the Outer Hebrides at which point you will need to arrange your own transport back to the mainland. 

Trip 2: Sunday the 6th of October to Saturday the 12th. The trip will be departing from Oban and ending in Oban. Transport to and from Oban will need to be arranged yourself. 

The price for Sketch and Sail 2024 is £1400 pp including food for 2024. A 25% deposit of £350 is required to confirm a booking. Payment details will be confirmed once we have been in touch.


The full balance is payable eight weeks before the start date of the voyage.

Please get in touch with any questions, to request a booking form or check availability (both trips have spaces remaining)

If you would like to go ahead and book straight away, please download and complete the relevant booking form found below and attach to the form below. 

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