The beauty of sailing, fundamentally, is getting out and about on the water, the freedom and fresh air that invigorates your soul. However, for those that aren’t ready to cross oceans, or for first time venture sailors, taking part in a festival afloat is a classic way to learn the ropes and experience what traditional sailing has to offer. No tents or muddy fields to master, just rather elegant maritime glamping. So get your sea boots on, ready to dance across the waves!!
2019 will play host to a real variety of festivals afloat, each taking place in picturesque locations around our coasts. Fleets of classic and historic craft parade across the bays creating a stunning picture of canvas and sail steeped in nostalgia.
- Brixham Heritage Regatta 25 -26 May 2019
- Paimpol Festival – 30th Anniversary 2-3-4 August 2019
- Falmouth classics and Sea Shanty Festival 14-16 June 2019
- Dartmouth Food Festival 18-20 October 2019
May sees the start of events where the fishing town of Brixham hosts the Heritage Sailing regatta. Held in Torbay since the early 1800’s the fleet of sailing trawlers would race against each other for the glory of their craft. In 1914 King George V presented the winner with the King’s Cup, to be challenged by trawlers over 40 tons. The cup was challenged annually until 1939, resuming in 1997 by enthusiasts. The regatta is now one of the Westcountry’s most vibrant sailing events in the sheltered waters of the bay and you can soak up the festivities in 2019 on board the classic yacht, Escape. Prince William Quay is the focal point for the weekend long party and celebration of classic sail. Brixham Yacht Club host the event with a complimentary fish pie supper and party on the Saturday night followed by a magnificent running buffet for hungry sailors when they come off the water on Sunday afternoon before the traditional prize giving.
Early summer sees the historic Cornish maritime town of Falmouth host the Falmouth Classics and Sea Shanty Festival, a weekend of sailing races, sail parades and shoreside entertainment, including the pontoon pasty party and of course singers from the world over who gather to sing songs of the sea. Your skipper may find the time to head over to St. Mawes or the famous Helford river during the weekend, proffering sheltered waters and stunning scenery for a moment to get away from the bustling marinas. The races include classes for all, from working boats to classic yachts and the emphasis is on taking part and above all having fun. Even if you have never sailed, the skippers love to share their knowledge and will give the voyage crew a rope to pull or sail to trim, and if you like, even the tiller. Whatever your level there will certainly be plenty of sailing involved and hopefully even a prize!
Across the channel in France sees the celebration of the 30th year of Paimpol Sea Shanty Festival, a long weekend of music, street theatre, traditional vessels and a large dollop of Breton hospitality. No one does maritime events as well, and really this is the highpoint of the sailing calendar. With 160 bands over 7 stages and around 200 craft, it’s a chance to enjoy some truly great sailing along with a few days of relaxation. During the event there is little sailing due to the huge tides and once in the port, your ship will be berthed amongst a forest of masts and the wonderful community that makes heritage sailing unique. Join us in marking this special event on board Escape or Pilgrim as they cross the channel and take part in this most wonderful of festivals.
And if all of that excitement wasn’t enough then be sure to add the Dartmouth Food Festival to your diary, rounding up the events calendar rather delectably in October. Pitched as one of the foodie highlights of the year, this Devon festival promises to be a weekend of fantastic sailing and culinary delights. Explore the stunning south Devon coastline on board Pilgrim, working up a healthy appetite with all that fresh sea air, before returning to Dartmouth where hungry bellies can be well and truly satiated. Unsurprisingly this is a popular venture so be sure to book early and secure your berth.