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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

4th to 6th May 2018 - World Pilot Gig Championships in the Scillies 

This year will be the 29th 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 150 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

24th to 27th May - Classic Sailing Pilot Cutter Review

(also known locally as the Pilot Cutter World Championships)

Our own annual event with about 12-15 pilot cutters attending for 3 days racing and social events. A party in Fowey, Sail in Company to St Mawes and Sat and Sunday racing from St Mawes Bay. You can join as participating race crew on charter vessels like Agnes or Pegasus.


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.

22nd to 24th June 2018 - 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. 

22nd to 24th June 2018  - 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 - Pendennis Cup

Event held usually every two years for classic and modern superyachts, organised by Pendennis Superyachts. These yachts are big and racing around the cans quite close to shore in Falmouth Bay and between Pendennis and St Mawes Castle.


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.


JULY 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. 



SEPTEMBER - St Ives Boats in the Bay

St Ives Jumbo and scully racing - held every year. Join St Ives Jumbo Association, learn to scull or race jumbos. A St Ives Jumbo is a working fishing boat with a lug rig. Support the association's campaign against EU legislation that threatens to ban commercial fishing under sail.

Organisers: St Ives Jumbo Association

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 we are running a sailing and photography workshop on Eve of St Mawes during the festival.

Festival Dates

Why Cornwall for Sailing Events ?

The Cornish South Coast has sheltered bays, deep water 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 spectatators 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 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 super yachts 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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