Brest International Maritime Festival of the Sea is a huge gathering of traditional craft from coracles and fishing vessels, to towering tallships. and classic yachts. 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 traditional boat lovers, photographers, musicians sailors. Few festivals can match the spectacle of over 2000 wooden sailing ships from up 30 countries out on the water together, and enjoying it all from the deck of a participating boat like Eda is the very best way to soak up the whole experience.
The passage across the channel from Falmouth to Brittany is a fantastic mile builder and chance to experience night sailing in a watch system. As we approach the French coast it is usual to see more and more vessels all heading the same way. On arrival, we will settle into our allocated berth and be given the wrist passes that enable everyone to come and go into the Harbour and surrounding festivities as they please.
The beauty of French festivals is that boats are encouraged to go out sailing during the day. We can expect to sail into the Rade de Brest amongst the colourful, bustling fleet of sailing boats most days, and even participate in an informal race or two. Expect themed parades of sail through the harbour, night time fireworks, light shows and illuminated night parades of sail and Bastille Day celebrations, all set against a vibrant backdrop of live music, gorgeous local food, and a maze of art and craft stalls.
We will likely go sailing most days but If, on any day you might fancy an explore ashore, feel free to re-join the boat later in the day. Likewise, all meals are provided on board, but if you wish to have a crepe at a little café, or a dinner at one of the many gorgeous restaurants that surround the harbour, just let cook Chloe know before you nip out.
Enjoy the atmosphere of the festival at Brest for the last evening under the grand finale fireworks, then take part in one of the largest congregation of tall ships, small traditional craft and classic yachts in the world. The organisers call it a race, but it is a race like no other. The fleet leaves Brest in a spectacular convoy to sail out the famous narrow approaches, with crowds of thousands watching from either side. We then all head south, past the stunning limestone coastline with the brave option of sailing between the Tais de Pois rock pinnacles, towards Douarnenez, where our adventure comes to a close at 9.30am.