French Coastal Sailing & Paimpol Maritime Festival
- Vessel: Pilgrim of Brixham
- Where: Brixham, Devon
- Duration: 12 days
- Embark: Brixham, Devon - 31 July 2023, 12:00
- Disembark: Brixham, Devon - 11 August 2023, 12:00
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Head out across the channel with Pilgrim of Brixham and sail from Devon to Paimpol Music Festival for a summer holiday of sailing, world shanties and dance.
Join traditional wooden boat, Pilgrim of Brixham from her home port of Brixham, in Devon, which serves as an excellent spot to set sail from for a straightforward passage across the English Channel!
Perhaps stop over in the Channel Isles or cross straight over to Brittany to reach the French coast and make way for the harbour town of Paimpol where the bi-annual maritime festival will be taking place. With sea shanties, brass bands, buckets of maritime history and beautiful boats, this 12-day voyage incorporating the weekend festival is a must-see experience.
- Open water sailing
- Perfect for adventurers
- Paimpol Festival
- Coastal exploration
- All-inclusive sailing
Your Sailing Area
The harbour town of Paimpol is located in the Gulf of St. Malo, so there are several opportunities for anchoring along the French coast before you reach the festival. With this being a maritime festival, once you reach the shores of France you will more and more frequently spot fellow traditional wooden ship and working vessels heading in the same direction – all towards Paimpol.
Many head for Lezardrieux before Paimpol, with several years previously having seen informal parades of sail with ships racing around the corner of France and onwards past the Isle de Brehat. This could be one of your stops before Paimpol, providing sheltered waters after crossing the channel.
On reaching Paimpol, Pilgrim will navigate her way into the small harbour over mud flats and oyster beds, accompanied by many other ships travelling almost nose to tail in the small channel – this is where the atmosphere of the festival really begins, before witnessing the thousands of people who line the harbour wall, witnessing the spectacle and welcoming all the vessels to the town.
Once moored up alongside other traditional ships or working vessels, your time is your own. Relax on deck, head ashore with fellow seafarers or visit other boats before immersing yourself in the history and tradition of Paimpol Festival.
The town was once home to a large fleet of fishing vessels that would sail across the Atlantic, fishing the deep seas. As with all large fishing fleets, many fishermen didn’t come home, adding an air of sadness to some of the local sea shanties – relevant to sailors and fishermen from across the globe. However, it is not all doom and gloom at this music festival, and the energetic dancing, brass bands and the occasional sax lift the mood and remind the festival-goers that this is a celebration of maritime culture.
The town itself has plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy (although of course all main meals will be provided onboard if you prefer), and the atmosphere is electric over the three-day festival. This voyage is a bucket list adventure; maritime music festivals have energy like nothing else and the channel crossing is an adventure in itself – however, Pilgrim’s size means she glides the choppiest of seas.
All voyages for Pilgrim of Brixham
Pilgrim of Brixham
Guest berths: 10 Rig: Gaff Rigged Ketch
Pilgrim of Brixham, built in 1895, is a traditional gaff rigged ketch that is one of a handful of remaining wooden sailing trawlers that were built in Brixham.
Pilgrim and her iconic red sails were once part of a large fishing fleet operating out of Brixham, which used to be the principal fishing port in the country. Her survival is testament to her quality, with many similar Victorian fishing vessels having a life span of less than 20 years – and the main reason for her survival is thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the South Devon Coastal Local Action Group and many individual donors and volunteers.
The Pilgrim Story
After spending many years under different owners in Scandinavia, in 1999 she was brought home from Denmark back to Brixham. After significant restoration work, a few mishaps along the way and a hefty dose of community spirit, Pilgrim was returned to her former glory above decks, and brought up to modern standards below.
Today, as a charter vessel, the Brixham community still rallies around Pilgrim, with local crew, experienced and skilled volunteers performing maintenance and making the Pilgrim of Brixham operation run like clockwork. VentureSail is incredibly proud to have a hand in getting people aboard this historic vessel to not only experience how magnificently she sails, but also to see how passionate those that sail her are.
She offers a range of voyages to suit all abilities. Overnight and weekend taster sails along the Devon coast are great for those wanting a hands-on introduction to classic sailing. Exhilarating adventures across to the Channel Islands or the Isles of Scilly are perfect for those looking to expand their sailing adventures. If you’re wanting a little maritime history and traditional sailing combined with some onshore merriment, Pilgrim also takes part in a whole host of festivals and regatta’s.
Deck planMore about Pilgrim of Brixham
Life on Board
Sailing with Pilgrim of Brixham is perfect for all types of traveller – from solo adventurers to couples and families, her crew are well versed in adapting the sailing to suit guests. From over-night sailing that are great for beginners to longer passages across the English Channel, sailing with Pilgrim of Brixham is certainly to suited to all capabilities.
Pilgrim of Brixham is rigged to sail with up to seven red sails, and believe it not, previous sailing experience is not necessary. All our guests are very welcome to join the crew including novices who can quite literally learn the ropes! Learn some simple navigation, help to berth alongside and of course hoist those iconic red sails. Those with experience will especially enjoy and appreciate the scale of Pilgrim of Brixham’s rig and seeing how these big old vessels perform under sail. You can even take the helm – but don’t panic, you’ll always be doing things under the watchful eye of your skipper.
If you’re after a relaxed cruise on board a classic vessel, then we, of course, cater to that too. Bring your book and binoculars and sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!
Sleeping and Relaxation
Pilgrim of Brixham’s voyages are all-inclusive so all meals; breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, tea, coffee and soft drinks are included in the ticket price. Although there is a dedicated chef onboard, working together is at the heart of everything Pilgrim of Brixham offers, with all her crew part of a volunteers trust.
Above decks with her traditional rig and impressive tiller, there is plenty of space to sit back, relax and enjoy the maritime views. Below decks has been recently renovated with a modern wet room and sleeping quarters split into a communal six berth as part of the saloon and a communal four berth cabin sitting adjacent to the saloon.
- All inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Soft/hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet)
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and fro the boat
What’s not included
- Any flights
- Transit hotels
- Travel to and from the boat on the day of joining/leaving
- Travel insurance
- Sailing Insurance (Please read our Sailing Insurance page for more information)
- Crew tips
- Personal expenses
Travel insurance notes
As this is an active adventure holiday, we advise that everyone has the appropriate personal accident travel insurance whilst onboard in addition to standard travel insurance which would cover you in the time between making your booking and departing for your adventure. These policies can sometimes be combined so please check with your travel insurance provider.
This voyage will be more than 12miles offshore.
Are meals included?
Yes - meals will be as locally sourced as possible and freshly prepared. Food is often a real hit on Pilgrim.
Can you cater for dietary needs?
Mostly, but please let us know before booking if you have any special needs.
What language is spoken on board?
What are the sleeping arrangements?
There are 6 berths in the main saloon, with 4 in a cabin at the front of the ship, and 4 at the back (these are usually crew bunks)
Do I need to tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew!
Is there an age limit?
Standard policy is no under 8's but please check for private charter.
Do I need to be a seasoned sailor?
Only on mile builder voyages! On normal voyages - not at all. We give everyone who joins us on board the choice to do as much or as little as they like, whether they know how to or not.
Are bedding and towels provided?
All bedding is provided but please bring your own towels.
How many toilet/showers does she have?
Two for guests
Is there WIFI?
No, but you should typically be able to reach 3G/4G from the shore.
Can I charge my phone/camera?
Yes, we have UK 3 pin mains sockets onboard. We also have a few USB sockets for charging phones.
Are there life jackets provided?
Are waterproofs provided?
There are some for emergencies but please bring your own.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure.
From: Brixham, Devon
To: Brixham, Devon
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
Pay in advance for The Marina Long Stay Car Park or pre-book online for a Torbay Council Car Park, using the Breakwater multi-storey or the Oxen Cove car park.
Brixham’s closest train station is Paignton. There are direct trains with Great Western Railway to Paignton from Exmouth and London Paddington. Once in Paignton take a taxi or bus to Brixham.
Fly direct into Exeter Airport for Brixham, then it’s a 40 minute taxi ride to Brixham.
STAY IN BRIXHAM:
There are plenty of places to stay in Brixham. Try Sea Tang Guest House, Berry Head Hotel or Harbour View.