Vessels of all Sizes. From our smallest boat Eve of St Mawes a pilot cutter, through Bessie Ellen a two masted ketch up to three masted square rigger Europa.
Brest International Maritime Festival is a huge gathering of traditional craft from coracles and fishing vessels from Africa to towering windjammers. Eagerly awaited every four years, and followed by the more intimate Douarnenez Festival of the Sea further down the Brittany coast – the event is a mecca for music lovers, photographers and adventure sailors. Few festivals can match the spectacle of over 2000 sailing ships out on the water, and being out there with them is the best way to experience this sailors event.
In Brest the event has proved so popular with our Classic Sailing adventure sailing customers, that Eve and Annabel J are always full very quickly for festival voyages, so we are now sending a third pilot cutter to the event – Lizzie May. There will be a voyage out to Brest Festival. A crew change in France and a voyage back via Douarnenez Festival. The beauty of French festivals is that also encourage all the boats to go out sailing in the morning – so Eve, Annabel J and Lizzie May can sail in company and go out into the Rade de Brest amongst the colourful fleet of sailing ships.
Night time fireworks, light shows and illuminated night parades of sail and Bastille Day celebrations.
There are boats from 27 countries including a Vietnam flotilla and Junk rigs, special features on craft from Croatia, Gallicia and Norway.
Rarely seen in Europe tall ships like Cesne Branco from Brazil (sister ship to tea clipper inspired Stad Amsterdam)
Sheer variety of vessels includes over 560 gaff and lug rigged boats, 117 ketches and schooners, 56 old coasting vessels from 25- 50m, at least 25 three masted tall ships and over 900 small craft under 8m.
As crew sailing Eve, Lizzie May or AJ, you will have a chance to take an active part in a dynamic demonstrations of international maritime history out on the water. It is not compulsory but daily the organisers encourage boats to sail in an out the harbour entrances, and go for a blast in the adjacent inland sea of Rade de Brest.
Ashore are events for crews, bands, craft demonstrations , street theatre, a Rio style carnival parade, ariel human displays hanging off Penfold Bridge in the Naval Dockyard.
For those joining in Brest for the voyage back home, enjoy the atmosphere of the festival at Brest for the last 2 days and the Grande Finale Fireworks. Then take part in one of the largest flotilla of tall ships, small traditional craft and classic yachts in the world. The organisers are calling it a race, but it is a race like no other. The fleet leaves Brest to sail out the famous narrow approaches with crowds on either side, then heads south down the stunning limestone coastline with the brave option of sailing between the Tais de Pois rock pinnacles.
Temps Fete sur Douarnenez
Douarnenez itself has two ports: The old fishing port, on one side of the town and the river basin, Port de Rhu, with its wooden wharves and waterside bars on the other. The town is medieval in origin and has fascinating architecture and narrow streets. This year the Guests of Honour will be from the basque Country but Cousins on Cornish Boats are always welcome. There will be a lot of boats and ships coming from Brest so the sailing adventure will continue.
Returning to Cornwall via the Chanel du Four and calling in at a french Port on the way, maybe Camaret Sur Mer or L'Aberach both with excellent restaurants and full of the charm and character Brittany is famous for.
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