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Agnes Sailing Programme - Brittany & Paimpol Festival

Chasse Marie Sketch of sailing in Brittany

Sail a Pilot Cutter to France

Agnes has a natural affinity for Brittany and she escapes there for 2 or 3 voyages each summer for a very different sort of coastal sailing from the Cornish coast. The tides are fast and there are shallow rock plateaux off the coast and interesting entrances with towering lighthouses and beacons to help navigate. There are tidal rivers but on a larger scale to the West Country, winding inland, often to a very rural France.

Secret Anchorages of Brittany & More Popular Haunts

Agnes has a week long voyage that starts and finishes in Falmouth with no set itinerary, so you are free to find the fastest wind angle to cross the Channel, whether that takes you South East towards the Granite Rose Coast of straight South to L'Aberwrach or the Chanel du Four and Ushant.

Agnes heading for France for Brittany summer sailing

Paimpol Chant Du Marin

A chance to for some decent offshore sailing to cross the Channel, and work your way around the Isle De Brehat into the Gulf of St Malo.

Agnes's second French Voyage of the summer is heading to a small seaport that once was the home of deep sea fishing boats that sailed as far as Newfoundland for cod. Paimpol was founded on that fishing wealth, but the town's history is also tinged with sorrow, as it was a hard and dangerous life for fishermen who were away from their families for months. A perfect place for a shanty festival.

The popular festivals of Douarnenez and Paimpol are held alternate years. 2019 is the turn of Paimpol Shanty Festival to attract all the best wooden boats of Europe. Immerse yourself in the songs and stories of sailors from around the world, and the rural culture of Brittany.

Breton Pipes at Paimpol Chant du Marin Festival
Breton Pipes at Paimpol Chant du Marin Festival

Channel Crossings & Plenty of Miles

This is 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, it is more than 100 miles from Falmouth to the Granite Rose so there will be night sailing and watches. With 7 days 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, 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. This is not a good voyage if you don't like traditional music, world music and chilling out on wooden boats.

Agnes under sail by Nic Compton

Paimpol Chant Du Marin is a musical festival drawing traditional music from around the world, celebrating sailors and the sea. More world music than a shanty festival this great summer event is eagerly awaited every two years. Whether you like saxaphone jazz in the streets, Breton pipes or eating moule frites watching the people go by, this old deep sea fishing town is a perfect amphitheatre. Upwards of 200 wooden boats crowd into the tiny lock and you can walk from one side to the other across the decks.  The sail to Paimpol skirts along the Granite Rose Coast with places like Brehat or Lezardrieux on the way.

Granite Coastal Scenery in France

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