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Temps Fête ‑ The Great Sailboat Festival

L’événement maritime à ne pas manquer !

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Rassemblement de voiliers

Every two years, for a whole week, you can slip into the character of a corsaire pirate or smuggler and step back in time to enjoy a boat festival that seems to bring out the sailor’s soul in everyone concerned from the whole world over.

That’s something you don’t see every day!

 

Pick your spot along the coast and enjoy the breath-taking spectacle of a thousand traditional sailboats approaching, or head to the harbour and watch the manœuvres and simulations of naval battles.

Visit legendary ships on the quayside right up to the bridge, or take part in any number of nautical activities. Enjoy the concerts and events on the harbourside, and let yourself be tempted by the flavoursome treats on offer.

If you love the sea, beware – pirates are not finished yet, m’ hearties!

 

Douarnenez, birthplace of the boat festival

July 1986: for the first time in France, there was a gathering of heritage sailboats on a national scale, and it took place right here in Douarnenez. It was no coincidence that our port was chosen for this first major event.

This is where the famous magazine ‘Chasse-Marée’ was located, a publication that won over new readers every month, creating a growing audience of those who loved maritime history.

Douarnenez is also close to Brest where – at Pors Beac’h – the earliest big boat festivals began.

A trial run…

What might have started as a trial run proved to be a great success. Douarnenez 86 was a huge success with nearly 400 sailboats from all over France but also northern Europe and Great Britain converging on this port which, for four days, moved to the rhythm of sea shanties, manoeuvre competitions and impromptu meetings on the quaysides. Above all, it was a huge success with the locals and spectators, tens of thousands of people who came to find out about old-fashioned boats from little rowing boats to the biggest and best examples of sailboats. Douarnenez 88 took it a step further, attracting one of the biggest 4-mast ships in the world, the Sedov. At the same time, France was experiencing increasing calls to showcase and protect our maritime history, beginning with the launch of La Cancalaise in 1987, replica of an authentic ‘bisquine’ ship called la Perle.

The next step

In 1992, as the festival looked like it might outgrow the capacity of Douarnenez’s port, Brest took up the baton. Douarnenez took charge of the second part of the festival, organising a parade of the flotilla around Crozon Peninsula, connecting the two ports.

Douarnenez gradually fine-tuned its role

Leaving Brest to host the large-capacity event, Douarnenez was able to focus on creating its own take on the festival, concentrating on encounters between the sailors and the public, feeding the curiosity and creating a sense of fraternity. It has to be said that so far, this approach continues to be rather a success!

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