|Tue 13-07-2021, 12:00Charlestown, Cornwall||Thu 22-07-2021, 12:00Charlestown, Cornwall||Mascotte||9 Nights||MT21/11|
Sail to two Festivals and return to Cornwall. If you want to cut a dash at the big Brest Festival this summer, perhaps you need to arrive as crew of an impressive 60ft pilot cutter. Built in 1904, Mascotte is no pretender. She was the largest Bristol Channel pilot cutter ever built and takes a romp across the Channel to Brittany in her stride. This recently launched 6 day voyage opens up more affordable opportunities to join in the fun at one of the most anticipated sailing events of the summer. Apart from other pilot cutters like Pellew, Jolie Brise, Agnes and Marie Ferdinand to play with there will be luggers, bisquines, square riggers and a myriad of traditional small craft.
Anyone who loves sailing and traditional boats. So much packed into this voyage. cross the English Channel overnight and ass rapidly down the Channel du Four with tide pushing you into the Rade de Brest. Enjoy Brest. Then join the massive Armada sailing to Douarnenez (DZ) and participate in the fun their. You’ll round Cape to Chevre and head up hte West Coast of Brittany before crossing La Manche back to Cornwall. Night watch shifts will be required on this voyage there and back.
Mascotte won’t be the only big pilot cutter to be at Brest and DZ, the French love to group historic boats of a similar type and purpose together, so the public can get a feel for what a pilot cutter looks like and the role they used to fulfil in the 1870s through to early 1900’s.
Moving up a size or two you could find yourself sailing with Pilgrim of Brixham, but the fund of these festivals is the vessels and crews from other countries you meet. The French have quite a home fleet from the striking La Cancalaise and Grandvillaise luggers to tunny boats with huge fishing rods as tall as Mascotte’s mast.
Bring your camera or sketchbook and a willing attitude to sail Mascotte with panache in the Rade de Brest amongst hundreds of sailing boats of all sizes.
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.
Step aboard Mascotte in her home port of Charlestown. After a welcome briefing and some refreshments you will begin to plan your voyage across the channel to Brittany, aiming for the Atlantic corner of France. Tucked up the Rade du Brest the naval port of Brest has a dominating position and plenty of space for 4000 boats. This voyage includes several days at the festival where boats and ships go out daily to sail in the inland sea known as Rade de Brest. Fireworks and Sol luminaire parades of sail seem to occur each night. Onboard you are in prime viewing spot for this.
If you have read your Hornblower you can sail the entrance to Brest with many thoughts in your head of how easy to defend this Naval harbour is. A long narrow channel with high land on either side marks the entrance. Beyond is the port and a large inland sea. Brest is perfect for absorbing a huge fleet. The outer breakwater has 2 entrances and during the festival, there are many comings and goings of vessels. Every time you go sailing you and Anny are creating a performance for the crowds.
Out in the Bay the seas are flat but there are bowsprits everywhere and plenty of cut and thrust sailing. Its a photographers’ dream but you do need to lend a hand with the sails as there will be a lot of maneuvering.
There are more tranquil spots to escape to by boat and chill if it all gets a bit too much. Big rivers stretch deep inland and small villages line the Rade de Brest.
In Brest Port in the evenings, there is plenty to do ashore, with music and illuminated parades of sail. Fireworks feature at all French Festivals.
We all love it at the end of the week where the whole fleet sails on down the limestone coast to the beautiful Breton port of Douarnenez. If you want to enjoy both festivals you can sign up for the next 7 day voyage and this sails you back to the UK.
What keeps these two events uniquely traditional is that each vessel entered has to be an original example of a traditionally rigged vessel, famous for some yachting achievement or a replica of an historic vessel.
The exit of three to four thousand boats from the huge Brest harbour, setting sail as they go past the harbour walls, and trying to all sail down through the fortified approaches of this famous French naval port will keep new crews on their toes, but soon there is more sea to play in and the fun begins.
It is a whole day sail down to Douarnenez with the Tas de Pois (pile of peas) sea stack gap half way along and other impressive Limestone cliffs and headlands to round. A photographers dream en route, and then we all have to fit into the medieval port of Douarnenez at the other end.
Atlantic swell possible, wind against tide overfalls in the Chanel de Four and more sheltered flat water in the Rade De Brest. This is July though so you could get settled weather, flat seas and heatwaves.
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 01326 53 1234 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.
This historic private harbour is the home port of Anny and Mascotte, but there are often several tall ships in the dock and you never quite know what you will find.
Charlestown Harbour is set on the rugged South Cornish Coast. The last open 18th Century Georgian harbour in the UK, Charlestown is proud to be a UNESCO world heritage site, with a unique history and geography. Charlestown is still a vibrant working port, with classic sailing vessels, beautiful beaches and great places to eat and drink.
Charlestown Harbour has also made a name for itself in the film and TV industries, featuring in Poldark, Taboo, Hornblower and many other productions.
A natural amphitheatre and great setting for your friends or relatives to come and wave goodbye from. Charlestown is tidal, so access both in and out is determined by high tide times. We will advise you nearer to departure of the exact joining times.
Mascotte is a totally new vessel for Classic Sailing to promote, but she has been sailing with charter guests and as a private yacht for many years - mostly in Scotland but also in the Scillies and Norway.
Skippers from many of the other boats we have worked with have sailed in company with Mascotte and we have never personally heard a bad word about her voyages.
The many photos we have of Mascotte were taken by the co-founders of Classic Sailing Debbie and Adam when they have been out on Eve of St Mawes as skippers.We have raced against Mascotte and although she was 4 times the weight of our little pilot cutter Eve Mascotte was always sailed with perfect manners and courtesy and her guests always looked like they were having fun with former skipper Richard Clapman.
We are thrilled the former mate with Richard and Mascottes relief skipper Huw has taken over the the main skipper of this big pilot cutter and historic heirloom.
You won't have to take our word for much longer.
As soon as we have the first guest feedback we will update this page.
The largest surviving Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Mascotte is 60 ft on deck. Built in 1904 in Wales and restored in Gloucester Mascotte is a magnificent example of Welsh maritime history. She is now offering short sailing breaks around Cornwall from her new home port of Charlestown Harbour.
Sail a schooner to Brest Festival
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