|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.
|Vessel type / Rig||Gaff Ketch|
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
A fabulous first experience on a beautiful old ship. Skipper and crew were amazing. As was the food! Great Boat, Great Team, Great company. I would love to make a return trip and would highly recommend Pilgrim to anyone out there who is thinking about it. Sign up now! But leave a space for me please 🙂Richard
Had an awesome time. Crew was superb and professional. Pilgrim is in fabulous shape.Chris
Lovely boat and great crew. No question was too daft. A highly enjoyable education.SG
This was my first voyage on a tall ship and I had no previous experience of sailing. The crew were wonderful – friendly, calm and patiently explained and gave me confidence to help with sailing the boat. They also helped to build a warm, friendly and fun atmosphere among all of us onboard. I cannot wait until I have the opportunity to sail on Pilgrim again.Annette
Sailing on Pilgrim was amazing. I loved every moment, she is totally beautiful. Swimming ashore and snorkelling. Building a fire on the beach. I love the freedom and peace being on the water, it's so natural and relaxing. I had such a great time with a great bunch of people.Di
I can't wait 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
A super day assisted by lovely sun and cloud, sheer joy at being on the water.Penny
Fantastic few days sailing on Pilgrim, the experience was well past my expectations and this was the result of the crew who all worked very hard in making this an unforgettable experience.April
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. 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! I t was great fun being allowed to be involved in raising the sails and learning a bit of history about the vessel. If you hare thinking about booking a voyage, be it 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.Kate
Brilliant, fantastic, I could not have wished for better. 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 Pilgrim.Sophie
Pilgrim is a fantastic heritage project that deserves everyones support. I have sailed on her twice now and on both occasions the party has had a most wonderful sailing experience. Get out there and appreciate her!Terry
The trip was one of the best experiences of my life and something I will never forget. Food was wonderful... beds were comfy... crew were faultless and very knowledgeable about the boat and its history. You can tell they have a true passion for their jobs. I would certainly return again and will be recommending to all I know!Tashargh
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.
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