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Cornwall Maritime Events & Festivals

Pendennis Cup is held in Falmouth every 2 years. Photo by debbie Purser

Cornwall Sailing Events & Maritime Festivals - By Month

1st - 3rd May 2020 - World Pilot Gig Championships in the Scillies 

This year will be the 31st year of 6 oared wooden gig boats from almost every Cornish and Devon Port and villages plus new gigs from around the world, converge in the Isles of Scilly for rowing races that will start with 120 gigs on the start line.  This is an amazing annual event and Classic Sailing 's fleet attend with a full crew to enjoy this amazing event.


Cornish gig boat racing

Thursday 21 - 24 May - Classic Sailing Pilot Cutter Review

Our 15th annual event with about 12-15 pilot cutters attending for 3 days racing and social events. Starting with a party in Fowey and then followed by a sail down to St Mawes and two days racing in the Carrick Roads. 


Classic Sailings own event starts in Fowey. pilot Cutters set off on a passage race to St Mawes
Classic Sailings own event starts in Fowey.

Friday 12th June to Sunday 14th June June 2020 - Falmouth Classics

Three days of classic boat racing featuring everything from local Falmouth working boats to visiting classic yachts. This annual event was given a big new boost by moving from Falmouth Week in August to a June slot. Ashore is the Falmouth International Shanty Festival so there is plenty of live music around the ports.

There are Day Sails during Falmouth Classics and the Sea Shanty festival which provides you with an active part in the event.

Friday 12th - Sunday 14th June 2020  - Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival

A festival of sea shanties, songs of the sea and Cornish songs in a variety of venues large and small. A perfect dual event with all the traditional boats attending Falmouth Classics Regatta, providing plenty to watch or why not participate in as crew.



shanty festivals

JUNE - Looe Luggers Festival

Event held every two years in this busy fishing port and attracting luggers from all over Europe. Lug rigged vessels were once a very familiar sight around the shores of the UK. A proper dipping lug sail takes a resourceful crew a few minutes to tack but it can get quite hairy in strong winds. Once sailing again these iconic working vessels can be very fast. Three masted lugger Grayhound is often one of the bigger vessels racing, and the French bisquines sometimes come over to join in the fun.

As many of the luggers are privately owned, charter crew berths for the actual racing are rare.


3rd to 5th July 2020 Mousehole Sea Salts and Sail Festival 

To preserve the identity of the village as a working fishing village and celebrate its maritime past, the local community set up the first Sea Salts and Sail festival in 1996 and have repeated it every two years since. The harbour is the main focus, with visits from traditional craft, a full programme of rowing and sailing races.

8th October to 11 October 2020 OCTOBER - Falmouth Oyster Festival

Held every year to celebrate the start of the Oyster dredging season. Falmouth is a sustainable fishery where the Oysters can only by fished under sail or oar. Enjoy the full range of Cornish Seafood ashore....or come on a 3 day break on pilot cutter Agnes and sail and eat. The Oyster boats out dredging make wonderful photography subjects so don't forget your camera. 

Why Cornwall for Sailing Events ?

The Cornish South Coast has sheltered bays, deepwater harbours and very little commercial ferry or cargo traffic. Many historic harbours are big enough to hold racing within the harbour and make natural amphitheatres for shoreside spectators to watch the action out of the water. Falmouth Bay and Carrick Roads, Fowey, St Mawes Bay, Mounts Bay can all host sailing events. There is a tradition of racing working boats like Falmouth oyster boats, gig boats, pilot cutters and luggers and the local skills to put on a show of canvas and sail right into the harbour.  The coastal landscapes and historic ports are timeless and unspoilt by modern development so they make authentic backdrops to celebrate maritime traditions.

Falmouth for Tall Ships & Classic Yachts

There are at least three organisations encouraging tall ships to come to Falmouth regularly. Classic Sailing is based in Portscatho and works with a fleet of over 20 classic boats and tall ships, so we like to organise events and persuade our sailing partners to visit with their ships. Falmouth Tall Ships is an organisation of tall ship fans that works hard to invite square-riggers from around the world to come to Falmouth. Cornwall County Council and Sail Training International bid to host tall ship races in ports like Falmouth.  Pendennis Super Yachts is another key player, attracting superyachts to use their world-renowned shipyard and take part in Cornish Events like Pendennis Cup. The Port of Charlestown has been successful over the years in attracting film and TV crews for series like Poldark, The Musketeers, Hornblower.....and the timeless scenery is always a draw for movie makers.

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