The Best of the 2023 Maritime Festivals

Douarnenez Maritime Festival

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 at the 2023 maritime festivals!

2023 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.

We have a number of voyages taking part in maritime festivals this season – find all maritime festival voyages here.

2023 Maritime Festivals 

Brixham Heritage Regatta – 26th – 28th May 2023

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 you can soak up the festivities in 2023 on board classic yacht, Escape for the weekend. 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 magnificent running buffet for hungry sailors when they come off the water on Sunday afternoon before the traditional prize giving.

Falmouth Classics and Sea Shanty Festival – 16th – 18th June 2023

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 and singers from the world over who gather to sing songs of the sea.

Head over to St. Mawes or the famous Helford river during the weekend, with 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.

Paimpol Sea Shanty Festival – 4th – 6th August 2023

Paimpol Sea Shanty FestivalPaimpol Festival du Chant de Marin, comes at the start of August, the perfect way to kick off the summer! The town was once home to a large fleet of fishing vessels that would sail across the Atlantic, fishing the deep seas. The maritime music festival celebrates the towns seafaring traditions with energetic dancing, classic wooden vessels, brass bands and the occasional sax lift the mood to remind the festival-goers that this is a celebration of maritime culture. The town itself has plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy, and the atmosphere is electric over the three day festival. 

Dartmouth Royal Regatta – 19th – 27th August 2023

The Dartmouth Royal Regatta finishes up the festival season this year, having been a key player on the regatta circuit since 1882! Competitors from all over the UK come to take part in the racing festivities, and it is a popular weekend with maritime lovers. On land, there’s shopping, food, music and all sorts of entertainment during Regatta week in Dartmouth. The Parade of Classic Craft is usually on the Saturday and heritage trawler Pilgrim of Brixham will join in the parade and provide a great viewing platform for the spectacular end of regatta firework display. Set sail with Pilgrim of Brixham to take part in this years festivites!

We hope to see you at one of these incredible events celebrating maritime culture in Europe. To join us on a sailing trip at a maritime festival, view all our festival voyages here.