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Spend half a month as pilot cutter crew in Brittany – includes Brest & DZ


Single Berth Per Person



Double Bed Cabin for 2 People – Per Person



Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Tue 09-07-2024, 15:00Newlyn, Cornwall Wed 24-07-2024, 10:00St Mawes, Cornwall Tallulah 15 NightsTHX090724

lots of sail handling, sailing Tallulah to her full potential and flying the flag for Cornwall at French festivals

A fantastic combined voyage which runs for 15 nights (16 days), featuring both Brest and Douarnenez Festival 2024. Sail Pilot cutter Tallulah from the granite cliffs of Lands End across the English Channel to the wild west corner of Brittany and the lonely lighthouses of Ushant. The fast tides rush us down the Chanel du Four and other traditional boats are all on the same trajectory to meet at Brest International Festival of the Sea.

After a few days of sailing amongst a fleet of hundreds of traditional craft in the Rade de Brest and enjoying evenings of music, fireworks and illuminated sailing displays, we all sail in company down the coast to Douarnenez Temp Fete Festival. The medieval cobbled streets and wooden wharfs of DZ are a more intimate setting, but there is still the 8 mile wide Douarnenez Bay to go out sailing in. Eventually we have to point Tallulah’s bowsprit back towards Cornwall and sail home.

There are many advantages to doing the whole voyage but If 16 days is too long, then you can join for either the first part or the second part of this double festival summer expedition.

9-16th July – 7 nights Newlyn to Brest, including a few days at the festival.
16-24th July – 9 nights Brest to Douarnenez with the festival fleet, and sail back to Cornwall.

There are ferries from Plymouth to Roscoff and train to Brest.

max 6 guests in single berths and one double bed fore cabin. Solo travellers welcome.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

Ideal voyage for:

Experienced sailors or hardy beginners who want a taste of offshore passage making on a swift 44ft pilot cutter, and to arrive in Brest feeling like a proper sailor…. and then not get off until they have experienced two of the best maritime festivals in Europe. Those self sufficient travellers who are happy to muck in and go with the flow, and maintain a sense of humour during a pretty intense 15 days.


  • 15 night voyage over 16 peak summer days
  • 120 miles from Newlyn to Brest, 30 miles to DZ and 150 miles back
  • Get into the rhythm of passage-making & night sailing
  • moor up in Brest Harbour with thousands of traditional vessels
  • Boats are encouraged to go out sailing daily at both festivals
  • spacious wooden pilot cutter with max 6 guests
  • live music, fireworks, dancing, street food & entertainment
  • Enjoy Douarnenez Festival and a medieval town famous for fishing and wooden boat buildbuilding


Vessel type / Rig gaff cutter
Guest Berths 6
Beam 13.5ft
Draft 7ft 5
Deck Length 44ft
Overall Length 59ft
Tonnage 22 tons
Year Built 2008
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

La Recouverance to leeward


Sail there and back – The epic combined voyage for both French festivals

It you can spare the time to do both voyages – Sail from Newlyn, Cornwall to Brest International Festival of the Sea 2024 and on to Douarnenez Maritime Festival and sail back to Cornwall) then it will create memories for a lifetime. The vessels taking part are predominantly wooden ships or small working craft that represent maritime traditions and culture from around the world. Brest and DZ festivals are simply the best, as each venue has a huge sailing area on their doorstep  and all sizes of vessels are encouraged to go out sailing each day.

This is a 15 night voyage on pilot cutter Tallulah, with upto 8 people on board. She is 44ft on deck and 13ft wide so her interior is relatively spacious with standing headroom. However you have to be happy living out a bag, in close company with other guest crew from all walks of life. Festival voyages are tiring, but also very uplifting. Being surrounded by beautiful wooden boats, and rafting up alongside with the co-operation of helpful sailors from many nations is just amazing. Our thick wooden decks keep it fairly quiet and cool below decks.

Skipper Debbie will try to get the boat away from the hubbub and partying for some nights. Near Brest there are beautiful river estuaries and beaches we can escape to overnight for a change of scenery.

reading in the sunset. anchored off tresco on tallulah

Tallulah’s programme also allows guests to book just the first part of the voyage to Brest only, or join in Brest, half way through the festival and sail with the big fleet to Douarnenez festival and home to Cornwall. We already have bookings for sailors doing the whole trip, so there are limited places to do each shorter leg.

TH090724 9th-16th July (Newlyn-Brest) Sail to Brest and enjoy festival. Depart before the mass parade of sail from Brest to DZ. 7 nights £1400
TH160724 16th July-24th July (Brest-DZ-St Mawes) Join in Brest. Take part in the epic fleet sail to Douarnenez Festival & sail to UK 9 nights £1700

THX090724 Combined voyage 9th-24th July 2024 (Newlyn-Brest-DZ-St Mawes) SAVE £200 and do both voyages 15 nights (16 days) £2900

An introduction to Brest Festival of the Sea 2024

The best way to experience Brest International Festival of the Sea is to sail there on a boat stunning enough to impress the French, but small enough to go out sailing in the Rade de Brest as much as possible. With only 6 guest crew on board, skipper and mate, Tallulah is perfect for that, but big enough for her feel like a ship rather than a small boat on the cross channel passage from Cornwall to Brest and back home the 150 miles from Douarnenez to her home port of St Mawes.

Shoreside at these festivals is amazing, but the French really encourage everyone to go sailing during their nautical festivals. Its all about creating a scene. On the outgoing passage from Newlyn to Brest, once you have relaxed from your journey, we aim to go out for a day sail or two and cross bowsprits with tall ships and traditional craft from around the world. The Rade de Brest is an inland sea big enough to accommodate a few hundred vessels going for a blast in the sunshine. Its a photographers dream.

This is the first proper Brest Festival gathering for 7 years so it is going to be full of energy and excitement ashore, but out on the water its a delight with searoom to enjoy the passing sails, and even anchor away from the festival site for a chilled evening.

ships at brest festival

The Sea Journey to Brest

Tallulah will be in Newlyn for the start of your voyage to Brittany. Preceding your voyage is Mousehole Sea Salt and Sail Festival. This intimate Cornish harbour festival is just south of Newlyn, in the port of Mousehole. Whilst it is on a tiny scale compared with Brest, several of the bigger boats attending will also be sailing across the widest part of the English Channel to be part of Brest or Douarnenez festival with our Celtic cousins.

Maybe we will be sailing in company with luggers and small boats with tan sails braving the crossing, or more than likely it will be just Tallulah getting an ocean like experience in the Western Approaches. This edge of the Atlantic was a ship hunting ground for pilot cutters historically but today we will have our eyes peeled for marine wildlife. The fast tides and shallowing seas are rich in nutrients, fish, diving gannets and dolphins.

Chanel du Four & Lonely lighthouses

As the shanty song sings “From Ushant to Scilly is 35 leagues” so our 90-100 mile passage to the wild west corner of France will be timed to catch the tidal race down through the Chanel du Four.

The dark, foreboding present of Isle d’Ouessant (Ushant) is a distinctive landmark on route. Some of the tallest lighthouses in Europe remind us to focus on our navigation, but the Chanel du Four between Ushant and mainland France is wider than you think, with many beacons to funnel the fleet southwards towards Pte De Mathieu and the entrance to Cameret and Brest. Bring a Hornblower book with you to set the scene. This is the famous seascape for the British Naval blockade during the Napoleonic wars.

If there is time and the right weather we may stop somewhere like L’Aberwarch or Lampaul on Ushant itself. Cameret Sur Mer is another option and great for seafood restaurants.

Join the Throng Ashore – Brest is a sailors city

Ashore the festival site is huge, with many wharfs, outdoor cafes and stalls. The city wall encloses the dock area, or you wander though to the Naval dockyard. There is live music, fireworks most nights The  and floodlit nautical processions, much eating and drinking and sailor socialising. The bigger tall ships are generally open to the public, but it is almost as good to stand under their rigging and soak up the history of each nations maritime history.

Rade De Brest

The Port of Brest will welcome vessels attending with a crew meal, if we get the timing right, but equally there is festival street food, local bars, or showers beckoning. after a bit of time ashore to soak up the atmosphere, then a more relaxed day sail in the Rade de Brest is usually popular. Last time Tallulah’s skipper was at Brest Festival it was a heatwave and almost all the boats set off mid morning to enjoy cooling sea breezes out on the water. The Rade de Brest is a big inland sea with several large river estuaries joining it, so there is plenty to explore and boats all around.

bound for the Isles of Scilly on pilot cutter Tallulah

Brest Festival to Douarnenez Temp Fete Festival 2024

There will be a few sailors leaving and new guests joining in Brest This is the second voyage leg of a summer extravaganza on pilot cutter Tallulah. Those only joining in Brest will enjoy a 9 night (10 day) voyage encompassing the finale of Brest Festival of the Sea and the grand parade southwards to enjoy a few days at Douarnenez Temp Fetes Festival. Those on the combined voyage will be ‘old hands’ by now at sailing the boat.

Brest Festival Reaches Fever Pitch

This is the first proper Brest Festival gathering for 7 years so it is going to be full of energy and excitement ashore, but out on the water is where the action really happens for those who love to see wooden boats sailing properly and brave little boats ducking between the big bowsprits and tall ships both original and replica. Ashore the city waterfront has a lot of waterfront and is able to accommodate many tall ships alongside, plus smaller vessels all rafted up. Each night there are things happening from music to floodlight boat processions and firework displays.

During the last few days the fireworks seem to get larger each night and the anticipation grows for the departure of the fleet.

31 miles – Sailing with the Big Fleet

The journey between involves thousands of traditional vessels departing from the city of Brest, sailing down past the limestone cliffs and beautiful beaches. A highlight if we dare, is to squeeze Tallulah through the narrow gap between the famous ‘Tas de Pois’ sea stacks, to rapturous applause from the crowds on the clifftops. Small rowing gigs with sails, bisquines, luggers, schooners, tall ships and unusual wooden craft from around the world, press onwards, juggling for position, and onwards to the open arms of Douarnenez Bay.

steering through the tas de pois with the DZ bound fleet

Douarnenez Wooden Boat Festival – Temp Fetes 2024

Douarnenez Festival is nearly as big in terms of vessels as Brest Festival but the town is more remote than the large Naval city of Brest. The gatherings ashore tend to be just the sailors.

This is on a more intimate scale than Brest with a stunning backdrop of narrow cobbled streets, stone quays and historic fishing harbour. Also famous for wooden boat building, it had a great atmosphere for those who love messing about in boats. Often we are rafted out in the middle of the harbour, which is great for watching the coming and going of vessels under sail and oar. It is also easy to go out for a sail across the 8 mile wide Baie du Douarnenez, sailing in company with other beautiful boats – big and small.

Ashore there will be music, stalls, food and exhibitions and craft demonstrations. You can also escape into the cool and narrow streets and enjoy cafe life or walk through to the other harbourfront with its wooden boardwalks, ancient warehouses and wooden boat building in the streets. There are even golden sand beaches to swim, sunbathe or enjoy moules and chilled white wine from Tallulah’s skippers favourite restaurant.

The Sail Northwards

We will have to clear out of French customs on our last port of call, so where we sail is a bit dependant on this, the strong tidal streams and winds.

If we clear in DZ, or Cameret-sur-Mer then we can sail straight home. If there is time to coastal hop to Ushant or L’Aberwrach then Roscoff might be our last exit port.

There are easy public transport links to the main Penzance-London train line from both the start port at Newlyn and the end port of St Mawes for this 16 day voyage.

For Newlyn – travel to Penzance Rail Station. Newlyn fishing port and marina is about 2 miles along the seafront from Penzance Rail Station.

From St Mawes, Falmouth Town Rail station is only a 25 minute passenger ferry away. From here is a very frequent branch line connection to Truro and all routes east and North.

Start & End Port

Newlyn, Cornwall

The address for the Strand in Newlyn is; Strand, Newlyn, TR18 5HW. Take a note of the ship’s phone number sent in your confirmation in case you cannot see your vessel.

Newlyn Port Details PDF

St Mawes, Cornwall

pilot cutters in St Mawes Bay

This is the home port of Classic Sailing. A seafaring village on the East side of Falmouth Harbour.

Latest Updates

Where to Meet in St Mawes to Join Tallulah

Updated 7-03-23

The historic Quay in St Mawes Harbour (TR2 5DW) is the official rendezvous for all Tallulah Voyages. Plan your travel for the quay in your first instance.

Tallulah has a mooring in St Mawes Bay. Skipper Debbie or the mate will normally meet you at the quay steps /harbour pontoon in Tallulah’s tender – a large blue rowing boat with ‘8’ on the side.


Bad Weather Alternative Ports

In the event of St Mawes being exposed to strong winds / big seas from the west or SW, we may start the voyage from more sheltered waters. This is likely to be the River Fal – Smugglers moorings near St Mawes or Falmouth Estuary. 

Debbie will contact you at least 48hrs before the voyage with final joining instructions by email and text. All confirmed customers will be sent Debbies mobile number for emergencies or late arrival.

Joining Instructions Tallulah

Joining Instructions Tallulah pdf


How to Get Here

By Road & Parking

The A30 is the best route into Cornwall for St Mawes – if you follow a Sat Nav you will probably be taken via King Harry Car Ferry which is not the quickest route but is worth doing for the experience.

The best way is to leave the A30 at Fraddon and follow the B3275 until it meets the A390 where you turn left for a little way back towards St Austell. Then follow the signs to the right for the A3078 which ends in St Mawes.

There are two car parks in St Mawes both trouble free and you can pay by card

St Mawes Quay Car Park is very convenient as it is where you join your voyage but is a little more expensive.

St Mawes Central Car Park run by the St Just in Roseland Parish Council  is recommended. It is just a minute walk from the Quay.

You can pay for a number of days with a debit card

There is  free street parking in the roads up from the main beach, if you can find a space. Buckeys Lane is one way so please park on the right. The private roads of Pedn Moran or Freshwater Lane are popular with beach visitors and holiday cottage customers. Local residents are used to mystery cars parked outside for several days, as long as no drives are blocked, it seems the accepted thing. As with all street parking please make sure there is room for fire engines to get through. From any of these roads the Quay is about 5 minutes walk.

Rail & transfers

To get to St Mawes by train, buy a ticket for Falmouth Town Station, walk down to the waterfront and come across the water from Falmouth to St Mawes by passenger ferry.

Falmouth is on a branch line from Truro which is on the main London – Penzance rail line.  Trains come into Cornwall to Truro from many parts of the UK and it is only 30 minutes down the branch line to Falmouth. Beware there are several small stations in Falmouth. Get off at Falmouth Town Station.

Falmouth Town Station (the Dell) is ten minutes walk from Customs House Quay where one of three ferries runs to St Mawes in the summer. If you just miss a ferry there are other departures to St Mawes from Prince of Wales Pier, the other side of town. In the winter – all ferries run from Prince of Wales Pier only. It is about 15 minutes walk through the town to the Prince of Wales Pier.

Ferry is the best way. St Mawes Passenger Ferry timetable for both piers This has a live update to confirm which ferries are running on the day. It only stops in really bad weather.

St Mawes Ferry  01872 861 911 or 07855 438 674

 Ferries are hourly in winter and three per hour in the summer and the journey is 20-25 minutes.


There are buses from Truro to St Mawes but they are very infrequent and take about an hour. 

Air & transfers

Newquay is the nearest airport but it is poorly served by public transport. A taxi to St Mawes can cost over £60

Feeling Guilty? – Carbon Offsetting Schemes

Classic Sailing recommend Treesisters charity as a carbon offsetting scheme and we have our own Classic Sailing Forest you can add tree planting to. These community tree planting schemes are all in parts of the world that desperately need reforestation and have maximum scope to reduce CO2

Kit List

What to pack for a sailing holiday on Tallulah


  • Sailing Instruction
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals on board & refreshments throughout the day
  • Bed linen, duvet, pillows
  • Wooden rowing boat activities
  • 2 x Stand Up Paddleboards & buoyancy jackets (on summer voyages)

What is not included

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Towels
  • Wellie boots
  • Waterproof jackets & trousers 

What to Bring

Please limit yourself to one soft bag or rucksack as there is limited storage space on board. No suitcases please!

Tallulah does not have waterproof jacket and trousers yet, so please bring a properly waterproof jacket and trousers on all voyages.

Walking and cycling waterproofs are usually adequate and much lighter to pack, so there really is no need to buy a coastal sailing jacket (unless you really want an excuse to invest in your future sailing). If you need any advice, or lack of a jacket is preventing you participating, please ring us on 01326 53 1234

  • warm, windproof jacket for days when you don't want to wear a waterproof jacket
  • Hats for sun and cold weather.
  • At least two sets of warm clothes - layers e.g. tracksuit bottoms, shirts, fleece jacket, wool jumpers, thick socks, and neck scarf. It can get cold at sea even in mid summer.
  • Swim suit, towel, and suntan lotion.
  • we have space if you want to bring a wetsuit for wild swimming or SUP adventures
  • Flat shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes.
  • Sailing boots or wellies as the sea can come over deck if rough*.
  • (An alternative to boots in summer is to bring another pair of flat shoes with a good grip in case the first pair get wet).
  • All terrain type sandals are great for dinghy trips ashore – but you do need shoes which protect your toes for sailing.
  • Scillies trips – Walking boots are useful and can be these can be worn on deck too
  • A small rucksack is useful for going ashore
  • Camera, binoculars, sketchbook, a relaxing read.
  • Passport for European or Ireland Voyages, Reciprocal Free Health Care card in Europe.
  • Please bring a passport on French trips
  • Any medication, spare spectacles. Seasick tablets - check with your Doctor, which brand if you suffer asthma or are on medication.
  • RYA Cruising Logbook or similar if you want to log your sailing experience e.g. sea miles, night hours
  • Musical instruments are always welcome.


Tallulah does not always have wine bottles for sale on board so you are welcome to bring modest quantities of alcohol, (unless it is an alcohol free voyage) e.g. to drink with evening meals, but drinking whilst sailing is not allowed.

A Note on Covid 19

While Tallulah's guests do not need to prove Covid Vaccination status at this time, it is expected that if a guest feels unwell prior to joining the ship they should always use common sense and test when appropriate to decide whether they should join the voyage, for their own safety and the safety of others onboard. It is a requirement that guests on residential voyages take out appropriate Travel Insurance and care should be taken to ensure insurance includes cover for such a case. Likewise, should members of Tallulah's professional crew including the skipper feel unwell prior to a voyage, they will always use common sense & test when appropriate.


A welcome in oak


Hi Adam

Thanks for this. We had a great time and an authentic small boat sailing experience, having only done tall ships before. I tempted my wife along on the promise of a double bed in a luxury en suite room, lavish food and drink and personal service by a valet. Only one of these turned out not to be true but we are still together! 😆 We certainly had some exciting times as well as moments of tranquility! It was very reassuring having half the crew who knew what they were doing! I loved the area but probably wouldn't do the shanty festival again. It was an experience wandering around the town amongst all those pirates and a plethora of peg legs and we really enjoyed the music with everyone enjoying the bunfight. At one point I was hearing Drunken Sailor coming at me from three different directions, each accompanied by a raucous audience! Enough is enough though, and talking like a pirate all evening was rather a strain. It was brilliant that you arranged for a couple of excellent folk musicians to be on board - Alan and Penny - who kept us entertaining even in the most perilous conditions. Proper job!

Tallulah is a lovely vessel and so were the gallant crew. I will send some more photos when I've sorted them out.

Kind regards

Steve and Diane, May 24

Hi Adam

I very much enjoyed the whole experience of sailing with Debbie, and Will  (and you) on Tallulah.

Despite poor Peter having to leave on the second morning,   and Linda   waking us all  vomiting for hours on the third night , it was  just brilliant ; such a beautiful boat, amazing sailing and learning how to sail Tallulah   was scary at first but soon began to feel more at ease , lovely to sleep on board , Will prepared delicious food , and the trips ashore were fun as well - seeing the seals in their hidden cove was a bonus , as was  exploring the little Celtic Church of St Anthony.

 and  I loved rowing ashore and then back to Tallulah in the dark . Oh and being on the tiller too!  It was great that on the second day we were able to get out to sea - so thanks Adam for coming on board so that it was possible.  For me it has restored my confidence in my physical abilities,  at a stage in life when its easy to feel such adventures are no longer possible.  - and I really enjoyed the company too - so maybe the Scillies next year and  hoping to do a longer voyage when my two aged dogs  are no longer around.  The only improvement I can think of  is it would be great to have environmentally friendly   wash up liquid etc.

 Hope to see you again,  all good wishes for the rest of the season.

 Jane May 2024

Fantastic experience where we were given expert help and advice by Debbie and crew. I never thought we would tack Talulah into Falmouth harbour but we did, what a fun experience and soooo enjoyable. Highly recommended and will be booking up again soon, thank you

Howard - July 2023

This was the first time I had sailed, and although I suffered from seasickness a couple of times, the experience was something that I could not have even imagined. The crew were all very helpful to a "newbie" and would think of another sailing trip, but perhaps in calmer waters .

Anonymous happy customer - July 2023

Fantastic day! The skipper (Debbie) kept it interesting by rotating crew and still maintaining full control! Amazing

James - July 2023

Debbie is great, she has a great passion for sailing and is very knowledgeable about boat building too! Anthony was extremely helpful, they make a great team and they made us feel very comfortable on board. Understandably, there is limited space and privacy but I slept really well which I really did not expect! Would love to sail again with Debbie and Tallulah.

Caroline Spring 2023

Thanks for looking after us very well. Good to be in safe, sure and pleasant hands...It was a nice experience I've wanted to try for a long time. Thanks for making it a good one...I love what you're doing and your courage and I wish you great success.


Great to sail on another class of sailing vessel with an experienced skipper and mate. I enjoyed the sailing a lot. The crew were very helpful and the food was very good.


Sailing on Tallulah

Both Debbie and Jess were excellent. Both were good at explaining things and very patient. I have also been out on Moosk and Agnes. Going out on Tallulah with Debbie and Jess was by far the best experience.

Alasdair, Spring 2023
Tallulah rowing tender

Vessel Gallery

Photos and images of the striking 44ft pilot cutter Tallulah, offering charter voyages for individuals, couples and groups from 2022.  Based in St Mawes, Cornwall. No experience is necessary and a local skipper as your guide.

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