|Mon 31-07-2023, 12:00Brixham, UK||Fri 11-08-2023, 12:00Brixham, UK||Pilgrim||11 Nights||PM310723|
An amazing experience for musicians and traditional music lovers, artists and photographers but you need to be a keen enough sailor to enjoy two Channel crossings, there and back, plus sailing from the corner of the North Coast to Paimpol. With 11 nights aboard there should be time for a little bit of coastal exploring in Brittany or the Channel Isles either before the Festival or on the way back. Once you are in Paimpol Festival for a few days It is an amazing festival atmosphere, and music happens everywhere.
An amazing experience for musicians and traditional music lovers, artists and photographers but you need to be a keen enough sailor to enjoy two Channel crossings, there and back, plus sailing from the corner of the North Coast to Paimpol. Often a beam reach in a prevailing South Westerly, Pilgrim can make short work of the Channel crossing. It is about 70 miles to Guernsey or 100 miles to Isle de Brehat on the French side, but there will be night sailing and watches. With 11 nights aboardthere should be time for a little bit of coastal exploring in Brittany or the Channel Isles either before the Festival or on the way back, but where depends on the wind.
Once you are in Paimpol Festival for a few days, there is no scope for day sailing. It is an amazing festival atmosphere, and music happens everywhere. Being crew you can escape the bustle ashore by returning to your own vessel or going for a walk in the surrounding countryside. On big wooden ships like Pilgrim, being below decks is reasonably sound insulated if you need a rest from partying. This is not a good voyage if you don’t like traditional music, world music and chilling out on wooden boats.
Paimpol Chant Du Marin Festival is one of our favourite summer festivals and a great excuse to sail around the Isle de Brehat and into the Gulf of St Malo. The British call it Paimpol Shanty Festival but it is much more than just sea shanties or fiddle music. Think Glastonbury Festival with Boats. The musical roots of many countries from Brazil to Lithuania, Russia to Ireland come together for an incredible mix of nautical culture, wooden boats, music and dance. Regular guest crew who have been to the festival before, skippers and all lovers of traditional music and street theatre eagerly await the voyages that feature this 2 yearly festival.
On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.
Brixham in Devon generally provides a good sailing angle to make a swift passage to Brittany or the Channel Isles. Paimpol is in the Gulf of St Malo a little bit further South. In past years several wooden ships and working boats have headed for Lezardrieux before the festival and there has been an informal race – parade of sail around the corner of France and past the Isle de Brehat. Sailing up the Trieux River to this beautiful inland town could be your first stop and a welcome change from offshore sailing. Other first stops might be Guernsey, the Sept Isles, Isle de Brehat or Tregieur. There are also anchorages in the shallow waters off the Paimpol.
Getting into this tiny harbour involves a long approach channel over shellfish beds and mud flats and with hundreds of wooden boats nose to tail in a small channel. Chaotic, photogenic and building a sense of anticipation this procession ends with a sea lock into a wet dock. Thousands of people line the harbour walls to welcome the fleet and for a moment every vessel is a celebratory.
Once you are in position, possibly rafted up alongside other sailing trawlers or working craft, many vessels leave their sails up to look colourful. You can chill on you own boat, visit other vessels, or join the throngs ashore. Early morning the festival site is shut to the public so you can pop out to get the fresh baguettes or enjoy the peace.
Paimpol was home to a big fleet of deep sea fishing boats that sailed all the way to Newfoundland Grand Banks. Many fishermen didn’t return so there is a melancholy to some of the Breton shanties that sailors around the would would understand. The jolly Breton dancing and more up tempo brass Omph pa bands and jazzy saxaphones make up for the late night sad songs.
On the mainland the historic port of Paimpol is a busy fishing port popular with visiting tourist boats as they enjoy the many restaurants and bars. Paimpol provides a warm welcome to a traditional wooden ship and her crew and you are guaranteed to enjoy the french hospitality shown to you. If it is festival time, over 200 boats with wooden masts fill the main harbour basin and you can almost walk across the middle on boats rafted together.
Biannually, Paimpol hosts an amazing Sea Shanty Festival The French, and the Bretons in particular, are very proud of their seafaring roots and their festivals are full of life, fun and music. Many young people are involved and musicians and sailors come from all over the world. You might hear Polish Polkas or Brazilian drum bands as well as Breton Pipes playing more familiar shanties. Paimpol Festival is a well kept secret and eagerly awaited every two years by those who know about it. In terms of setting this shanty festival is in the perfect venue as it provides moorings for a whole host of visiting yachts and ships. The lock basins are right in the heart of the village with outside cafes and bars all around. The dock provides a natural focus and the organisers arrange the traditional boats and tall ships like a scene from 200 years ago. All grouped together there is a great atmosphere of camaraderie and meeting new similar like minded wooden boat enthusiast feels like one big family.
Traditionally sea shanties and folk songs can be rather sad telling stories of lost loved ones out at sea. You won’t be crying in your wine or calvados for long as there is folk and world traditional music and dancing all around. Having a large number of sailors in the audience – including yourselves – who have actually sailed their traditional wooden vessels to the festival, gives a real purpose to the festival. Shanties were working songs for sailors and you will have earnt your excuse for drinking beer and singing badly by hauling on blocks and tackles, standing on watches overnight as you cross the Channel on your voyage.
Any Channel crossing has the potential to be rough but Pilgrim is a big ex deep sea fishing trawler. Along the North Brittany and Channel Isles coasts the tides are fast and can kick up choppy seas. Once around the corner of the North Brittany coast the land creates some shelter from Atlantic swell. In Paimpol it is flat as a pancake …or crepe
Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.
We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.
Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
Joining or leaving point.
Assemble towards the end of the Events Pontoon Red Point above. Zoom in to your ship!
For Pilgrim, your boat will be berthed on Brixham Town Pontoon, on the east side of Brixham Harbour, opposite The Prince William Pub. Your joining times can be found on your confirmation email.
The boats can be recognised as follows:
PILGRIM Black hull and bulwarks with yellow stripe
Please limit yourself to one soft bag or rucksack as there is limited storage space on board. No suitcases please!
Pilgrim does not provide waterproofs. So you need to bring waterproof jacket and trousers These don't have to be sailing waterproofs. Any good outdoor waterproofs should keep you warm and dry. If you are sailing on a longer voyage or in early spring or autumn you will find the sailing or mountaineering salopette type waterproof trousers will keep you warmer than walking trousers with waist. If you need any advice please ring us on 01872 580022
Pilgrim does not always have wine bottles for sale on board so you are welcome to bring modest quantities of alcohol e.g. to drink with evening meals, but drinking whilst sailing is not allowed.
- Summer 2019
Did you think of the Captain/Skipper and the paid crew?
What did you think of the food quality?
How was the sailing?
Did you have any rough weather?
Did you feel the voyage had?
A good mix of sailing and ashore.
What was the best bit?
Sailing on Pilgrim was amazing I loved every moment, she is totally beautiful!
Swimming ashore and snorkelling from Pilgrim to the beach.
Building a fire and BBQ on the beach!
Hoisting the main and all singing “ what shall we do with the drunken sailor”!!!!
What was the worst bit?
Having to leave Pilgrim and return to life back on land at the end of our adventure!
Saying goodbye to the amazing crew and new friends, I had such a great time with a great bunch of people, I needed a longer voyage and really didn’t want it to end!
Why do you sail? It really helps us to know your specific reasons.
I have sailed all my life with my Dad, he had various boats over the years and I have such happy memories of our holidays onboard.
I love the freedom and peace being on the water and being propelled by the wind, it’s so natural and relaxing. I’m completely stress free and in my comfort zone aboard, I cherished every moment.
Any other comments
I couldn’t recommend my experience of crewing on Pilgrim enough. Skipper Richard, first mate and chef Julie, Bruce and Bob were all so professional, calm and such great company.
Being aboard a beautiful classic ship is such a privilege, it’s a total joy to be part of her crew! I’m missing it every day and looking forward to planning another adventure next year! - Thanks Di for the great review! Summer 2019
- Summer 2019
What was the best bit?
Helping to set sails, handling ropes and being looked after by a very friendly Skipper and crew, in particular by Lynn who made us very welcome and kept informed of everything happening on the boat. Although I am a BCU coach for Canoe/Kayak it was an experience not to be missed. Thank you all for a very enjoyable days sailing. - By Peter B. Summer 2019
- Summer 2019
What I enjoyed the most was?
Every bit from the moment I stepped aboard I was among friends.
The worst bit was?
Getting my sea legs on the first day !
Why do you sail?
I sail for the adventure, the comradery, the hands on experience of sailing, to visit new places to have fun and create great memories.
The first time I sailed on Pilgrim (2018)I had the best time ever. I booked a second voyage this year and it was even better. I can't wait to for the next time.
Sailing on Pilgrim isn't just a holiday it's an adventure full of new experiences, friendship, laughter and fun.
Kate T June 2019
What was the best bit?
Heading away from shore far enough to catch the wind which in any case obliged in the afternoon by increasing
What was the worst bit?
Thinking we might be becalmed initially in Brixham harbour
Why do you sail?
For the sheer joy of being on the water
Any other comments
A super day assisted by lovely sun and cloud - By Penny D - Summer 2019
"I had a fantastic few days sailing on the pilgrim, the experience was well past my expectations and this was the result of the crew. The skipper, Richard clearly very experienced and dedicated to everyone’s safety and enjoyment. The first mate, Julia who works tirelessly to ensure everyone is safe, clearly very experienced and knowledgeable in sailing the pilgrim, also very focused and dedicated because not only is Julia the first mate she is the cook, where here she dedicates herself too ensure everyone is well fed with some fantastic food.. a real hard worker and a credit to pilgrim. Crewmen, Bruce.. smashing guy who also is dedicated in ensuring everyone on board is safe and having fun. Crewmen, Bob.. smashing guy the same dedication ensuring the safety of everyone, however needs much more practice in playing the penny whistle.. Crewmen, Tanya.. who herself is recent to pilgrim clearly dedicated to her roll ensuring we on board were safe and enjoying the experience.. A fantastic crew who all work very hard in making this an unforgettable experience.." - April 2019
Best bits: THE FORCE 9 GUST AT THE APPS TO SALCOMBE. ABOUT TURN AND HAD A GOOD RUN BACK TO DARTMOUTH. HELMING THE BEAST. GREAT SHIP,CREW AND A VERY GOOD SKIPPER, AND A BIG THANK YOU TO LINDA IN THE GALLEY" - Eddie P Review April 2019.
Wow, what can I say about my first trip on the beautiful Pilgrim with Classic Sailing - it was amazing! I am still smiling about the utterly brilliant weekend. The Skipper Richard and crew of Colin, Lynda, Jess and Jack could not of made me feel more welcome! I booked this trip as a bit of an escape from the day to day normal life on the land and it was well worth it; I returned home more relaxed, a little sunburnt but wanting to just jump straight back on board! It was great fun being allowed to be involved with raising the sails and learning a little bit of history about the vessel. If you are thinking about booking a voyage, be in a day trip, weekend or longer....do it! I could not recommend it more highly and as a single traveller I also felt at ease and safe while on the whole voyage. And the wonderful crew could cater gluten and dairy free. The added bonus of it being the Falmouth Classic and Sea Shanty Festival meant there was music and a little rum to go around!" - By Kate R - Summer 2019
"I hired the Pilgrim for my birthday party in October. It was brilliant, fantastic I could not have wished for better. We had the hot buffet and it surpassed all my expectations I had assumed that it would be catering packs of ready made dishes! It was NOT, it was all homemade and delicious. The crew couldn't do enough for us and made the day even more special. If you want to do something a bit different for a big birthday and something that your guests will talk about for a long time then I would highly recommend The Pilgrim as a venue." Sophie H - Private Charter - 2017
Pilgrim is a fantastic heritage restoration project that deserves everyone's support. I have sailed on her twice now and on both occasions the party has had a most wonderful experience sailing experience. The crew members are all very professional and caring and skipper Brendan a joy who keeps everyone engaged and involved. Pilgrim is a solid construction with plenty o interest or everyone. Get out there and appreciate her" Terry H, Trip Advisor Report Reviewed September 2, 2016
This trip was one of the best experiences of my life and something I will never forget. From turning up a little late (us not the crew) and them waiting to go through everything until we were totally happy through to the helping us off the boat! Safety brief provided and we were then told to get stuck in, hoisting sails and pulling ropes, learning about the boat and sea. Food was wonderful and very tasty. Beds were comfy and you could hardly tell you were on the sea! (Weather dependant I'd imagine!) Crew were faultless and very knowledgable about the boat and it's history and you can tell they have a true passion for their jobs. I would certainly return again and will be recommending to all I know! From a very Happy Birthday Girl! Tashargh, comment by mobile phone Aug 2016
I returned last night from an amazing sailing experience, from Brixham to Falmouth. All the crew were amazing. Brendon the Skipper, young but extremely knowledgeable and happy to take time to share his experiences, Linda did her fair share of hauling ropes and sails as well as providing all refreshments and meals as if by magic!! We had two overnight stays on board, one in Salcombe and one meandering up the Fowey past the Ferry and Daphne du Maurier's house waking to atmospheric mist!! We experienced all weathers and all seas!!! I really missed the Pilgrim today and wish I had been able to carry on to the Scilly Isles and hope to take another longer trip in the future." Thank Wendy F, Reviewed August 7, 2016
Restored Brixham Sailing Trawler Pilgrim in action and images. Photos from Classic Sailing customers, ships crew and professional photographers. We hope it gives a flavour of her sailing, life on board, the people that come, her beautiful sailing grounds and what it is like to live below decks.
Breton Adventure including Paimpol Shanty Festival MT310723
Sail to Paimpol Chant Du Marin 2023 - The sailors 'Glastonbury', this music festival is epic.
St Mawes, Cornwall
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