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Paimpol Festival & Channel Crossing

  • Vessel: Pilgrim of Brixham
  • Where: Devon
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Embark: Brixham - 30 July 2019, 12:00
  • Disembark: Brixham - 7 August 2019, 12:00

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.

This voyage leaves from Pilgrim’s home port of Brixham, in Devon, which serves as an excellent spot to set sail from for a straightforward passage across to either the Channel Isles or straight over to Brittany. Paimpol is located just a little further south, in the Gulf of St. Malo, so there are several opportunities for anchoring 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 on board if you prefer), and the atmosphere is electric over the three day festival. This voyage is a bucket list adventure; maritime music festivals have an energy like nothing else and the channel crossing is an adventure in itself – however Pilgrim’s size means she glides the choppiest of seas.


VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/p
Paimpol Festival & Channel Crossing30 July 20199FULLFull

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. Join Pilgrim on voyages around Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, or experience maritime festivals on this incredible vessel.

More about Pilgrim of Brixham


  • What are the sleeping arrangements?

    There are 8 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)

  • What language is spoken on board?


  • Are meals included?

    Yes - meals will be as locally sourced as possible and freshly prepared. Food is often a real hit on Pilgrim.

  • Do I need to be a seasoned sailor?

    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.


From: Brixham

To: Brixham