Crédit photo : Le Télégramme

The route

The Cargo Sail Route project aims to create a nautical route from English Cornwall to French Cornouaille to rediscover, through historical and modern sailing activities, the Celtic heritage common to both these Channel regions.

These two regions share common Celtic origins and historical sailing links. Because of their vast history of relations and cultural heritage, there is an opportunity to develop a touristic product that will link the two coastal regions around traditional sailing and sailing cargo activities across the Channel.

The key element of the proposed nautical route is to combine historic traditions with modern progress: merge traditional sailing activities and historic links between the sister regions with the current use of traditional sailboats to ship local products between the two regions.

Initially named, Channel Sail Routes, during the second phase of the project and due to the Brexit context, the route has been enlarged to include historical trading cities as Madère, Açores and Porto in Portugal, and Bordeaux and Nantes in France.

Co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

The Cargo Sail Routes project is one of the five winners of the Nautical Routes for Europe that awarded five ideas to make Europe a destination of excellence. The project is being financed through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to promote off-season tourism and thus extend the opening times of businesses; attract travellers to new, lesser known areas, thus reducing pressures (environmental and social) at traditional destinations; and above all promote the shared values of the various European destinations and encourage a responsible and sustainable behaviour on the part of travellers – all core principles of the EU’s Strategy for Coastal and Maritime Tourism. Duration: 24 months (from Janvier 2018 to December 2019)


TOWT (Coordinator)

TransOceanic Wind Transport (TOWT) is an innovative SME whose objective is to provide an alternative solution to maritime shipping in order to address climate change and energy challenges.

TOWT has already developed three central actions: (1) maritime transport using traditional sailboats, (2) commercial development of their own “ANEMOS shipped by sail” certification put onto the final products, and (3) research and development of a new generation of sailing ships.

More on TOWT :

Port Museum of Douarnenez

The Douarnenez port museum is dedicated to maritime boats and the people of Brittany. They specialize in the maritime heritage of the region, emphasizing nautical history for a variety of different usages: both for pleasure and for functional utility. This focus of the museum is particularly important for our project, as the museum’s purpose and our project share a common goal of promoting ships for tourism (pleasure) and cargo transportation (utility).

More on the PMD : http://www.port-

About the Escales patrimoine : /

Grayhound Lugger

Grayhound Lugger is Great Britain’s first registered vessel to transport cargo by sail across the Channel. They already offer small- scale tourist voyages on the replica 18th century vessel, in addition to transporting products and goods between Great Britain and France.
As Grayhound Lugger is a partnership registered in the United Kingdom, it should be noted that HM Revenue and Customs declaration does not require a balance sheet to be kept by partnerships, or for annual turnover of more than £15m. As a result, there is no balance sheet summary along with the profit and loss returns for this partner’s financial capacity dossier.

More on GHL : https://www.grayhoundluggersaili

Charlestown Harbour Limited

Charlestown Harbour is a Limited company. Charlestown Harbour is a privately owned Grade 2 listed Georgian Harbour, build in the late 1800s. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, set on the Cornish coastline. Charlestown is a popular tourist destination and is a popular harbour for many classic tall ships. Charlestown Harbour is also a popular film and television filming location. Charlestown Harbour runs a variety of events and markets throughout the year that sell relevant products and goods to locals and tourists.

More on CHL :

Contact us

Project coordinator details

TOWT – Transport à la voile
8 rue Jean Barré | 29100 | Douarnenez

T +33 (0)9 84 33 89 62
Mon to Fr (9:30-13:00/14:00-17:30)


UK bound

Avril 2018
GR310318 176KG wine to Falmouth

Juillet 2018
GR140618 Dz – Dartmouth 0.78 tonnes @ 170 miles

Septembre 2018
GR170918 795.6 kg @ 170 nm Penzance- Isles Scilly
GR061018 4800 kg @ 170nm DZ – Falmouth

Avril 2019
GR090419 09/04/2019 16/04/2019

FR bound

Avril 2018
GR220418 5000kg @155 miles

Juillet 2018
GR270518 Dz – Nantes 1.07tonne @ 175 miles
GR040618 Nantes – Dz 4.547 tonnes @175 miles
GR030718 Dartmouth – Dz 5.697 tonnes @170 miles

Septembre 2018
GR070818 241.80 kg @ 140 nm
GR170918 795.6 kg @ 170 nm
Whisky Barrel for season aging

Mai 2019
GR140519 14/05/2019 21/05/2019 7 Plymouth Dz

Ocean Cargo Voyage

Juillet 2019
GR030719 03/07/2019 12/07/2019 9 Porto Madeira
GR150719 15/07/2019 27/07/2019 12 Madeira Horta Azores
GR300719 30/07/2019 13/08/2019 14 Horta Azores DZ
GR200819 20/08/2019 27/08/2019 7 DZ Penzance Penzance Isles of Scilly

The partnership organised two main events respectively in Douarnenez in August 2019 and one in Charlestown in September 2019. The objective was to promote all project activities as well as the exhibitions. Other activities have been organised during these events such as local food and music festivals. These events have been a major communication tool to promote the Cargol sail Route project.

Voil’à Douarn’ à Douarnenez on August 13th

This event was designed as a way to crystallise the actions held punctually in 2018 around the arrivals and departures of the cargo voyages, such as wine-tastings, cinema on sails projections, festive offloading, etc. The idea was to concentrate in one event around the arrival of exotic products, in this case, from Portugal. The programme published by the City council included: offloading and tasting, visit of the itinerant exhibition “Au fil des eaux et vents”, concert and cinema under sails.

Unloading and tasting

The event started with the participation of the public to the offloading of wine and olive oil at around 17h. People could taste the newly-arrived products but also the other ones exported and brought along from Great Britain on board the Grayhound.

Visit of the itinerant exhibition "Au fil des eaux et vents"

The exhibition has worked as an anchor between the different phases of the event. While some where loading the ship or tasting or at the concert, the exhibition remained spinal to the event.


Around 18h, after all the wine was loaded, a concert from the local artists Demicrobes was held on the pop-up store “Au cul du voilier” next to the ship. Demicrobes poetic duo punk with playful lyrics cradled by a bass guitar and a keyboard on electro kinematic rhythms paced the following couple of hours. At the beginning, we wanted an English band but it has been waived because of logistical issues. Then we thought of something traditional as the chants de marins or a bagad but we would like to change this image of traditional sailing vessels to something much more contemporary.

Cinema under sails

Upon dusk, at around 22h, a sail projection was held. A webseries showing different produces on their sail journey until the port of distribution and an English film on classing sailing were projected.

Classic Sailing Festival in Charlestown from August 30th until September 1st, 2019

Charlestown Harbour is the last open 18th Century Georgian harbour in the UK and is proud to be a UNESCO world heritage site. The Harbour was designed and built in the late 1700s and remains mostly unspoilt to this day.

Over 200 years ago West Porthmear, as Charlestown was then known, was a small fishing village with no harbour and just three cottages where the local people made a living from fishing for pilchards. The China Clay pits in nearby St. Austell began to flourish in the latter half of the 18th Century, so there became a need for a local port to facilitate the transport of the clay. A local man, Charles Rashleigh, saw the opportunity and with the plans of Civil Engineer John Smeaton, Rashleigh began constructing the Harbour. The outer arm was completed first to shelter shipping and the inner piers were finished in stages after the rocks had been blasted away and manually cut and removed.

Rashleigh built the gun battery to protect the village and this was used by the ‘Huer’ or look-out man. The Huer would see shoals of fish and alert the fishermen, guiding them to the fish.

The name of the village was changed in order to honour Charles Rashleigh and became Charlestown. Charlestown began to flourish, and the population grew, bringing the need for more cottages, an Inn, a hotel, a chapel and eventually a church.

The Charlestown Estate Bell was situated at the weighbridge and was used to call the estate workers to work. It rang from Monday to Saturday at 8am, 12pm, 1pm and 5pm, indicating work times. The bell also rang when ships were coming in and going out of the harbour to alert the workers to open the manual lock gates. This was called ‘Gate Ho’. The last bell rang in about 1938 just before the beginning of the Second World War. Today, Charlestown Harbour is privately owned and managed, having been acquired by the current owner in August 2018. Since owning the Harbour, the Harbour Team have been working on improving this unique place, whilst remaining true to its heritage and UNESCO status. The Team are working on returning the Harbour to being a working Georgian Port, complete with shipwright, blacksmith and classic ships. The Classic Sail Festival is the first of its kind for Charlestown, and the team hopes it marks the start of the return of more classic ships to the Harbour.

The programme:


Working Sail Exhibition & talks from Luke Powell Working Sail have built a number of beautiful classic boats, designed by Luke Powell and inspired by the function and aesthetics of our rich maritime history. Their current project, ‘Pellew’ (a recreation of the 1852 Falmouth Pilot Cutter ‘Vincent’) is being built at Truro. Working Sail also operate ‘Agnes’ for charter. Visit the Working Sail pitch to find out more
about their exciting work. Luke Powell himself will also be giving a talk aboard the Kajsamoor on the ‘Pellew’ project and answering questions.

Laetitia Vassal exhibition

Delivered to Charlestown by the Grayhound, from the Port Musée in Douarnenez, this is a fascinating exhibition by French artist Laetitia Vassal photography and art from her voyage from Marie Galante to Douarnenez on the vessel Lun in 2016. Blacksmithery Visit our resident blacksmith, Nico, to see this traditional craftsman at work.


Our Shipwright Ben and his apprentice, Toby, are currently restoring ‘Roxana’. Roxana was originally built circa 1920 and is an Itchen Ferry style vessel. Roxana was acquired by Charlestown Harbour in May 2019. Itchen Ferry boats are small gaff cutters that were built on the River Itchen in Hampshire during the 19th & 20th Centuries and were used originally for fishing.

Food and Drink

There’s a range of food and drink offerings available during the festival, including a fully licenced Charlestown Harbour bar, wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks. The Rum Sailor selling Special Sail Festival Cocktails – need we say more! HarbourQ is an amazing pop-up that has proved immensely popular this Summer in Charlestown. It offers a truly stunning menu served with amazing views.
Winkle Picker serves a delicious selection of fish and shellfish dishes, served by Rachel from her beautiful van.

The Classic Sail Festival featured a weekend packed full of events including the experience of watching Plymouth folk band Mad Dog Mcrea performing live in the Inner Harbour on the Friday Night.
On Saturday and Sunday visitors could purchase a Gangway pass, allowing access on board the classic vessels in Charlestown Harbour. Other attractions include exhibitions, sea shanties, food and drink.

A mini armada of classic ships set sail to take part in a parade showcasing some of Europe’s finest vessels during the first day of the Charlestown Classic Sail Festival on Friday 30th August. The classic ships were expected to arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage Site from 4.30pm on the Friday and will remain in the harbour for the duration of the festival (30th August – 1st September).
Among the classic boats in attendance was the Grayhound, carrying cargo cargo which was unloaded in the historic port during the festival.
Alongside The Grayhound’s cargo the ship brought a fascinating exhibition from the Port Musée in Douarnenez. The exhibition, which will be on show during the Classic Sail Festival, featuring drawings and photographs by French artist Laetitia Vassal during her voyage from Marie Galante in Guadeloupe to Brittany in 2016 on the boat Lun II.
Other ships heading to Charlestown Harbour for the weekend of festivities and joining the Parade of Sail include Anny, Guiding Star, IBIS and Tectona among others.
The Classic Sail Festival took place from Friday 30th August – Sunday 1st September in Charlestown Harbour, Cornwall, PL25 3NT. Gangway passes were available to purchase on the day giving visitors access to the inner Harbour and activities. Gangway passes were available from the Harbour Ticket Office – £15 adult, £7.50 child, family ticket £40 (2 x adult & up to 3 children), children under 3, free.

Two exhibitions where created for the project:
The permanent exhibition called “Cap sur Douarn’” was presented at the exhibition room at the Port- Musée in Douarnenez as of the 12th July 2019 until the 1st September 2019.
The itinerant exhibition « Au fils des eaux et vents » was exposed during the event Voil’à Douarn’ on August 13th on the Port-Rhu and travelled along onboard “Grayhound” to be exhibited during the Classic Sail Festival in Charlestown from August 30th until September 1st.

Permanent exhibition - Cap sur Douarn’

The exhibition Cap sur Douarn’ is composed of a selection of watercolours, photographs and texts inspired by the experience of the painter Laetitia VASSAL onboard of the Norwegian galeas Lun II, during a cargo voyage from Marie-Galante in Guadeloupe until Douarnenez in France in Summer 2016. The artist was onboard during the transatlantic crossing aimed at transporting green coffee beans and rum barrels with all her art material and with an attentive eye and managed to catch the ambiance of such a voyage in the 21st century.

The crossing lasted two months, from June 20th until August 28th 2016, including one stop-over in the Azores to complete the cargo hold with tea. During this crossing, a heteroclite crew is constituted and learns to better know each other. They are seven persons onboard, from different backgrounds and cultures, from different ages and life paths. Laetitia is one of them. During the crossing, she will scrutinise, sketch and photograph her teammates at work and at rest, in this constrained space that is a 20-meter ship launched across the Atlantic.

Thirty watercolours depicting the navigation and the ambiance onboard as well as one portrait of each crew member of the voyage compose the exhibition.

The watercolours are accompanied with printed drops in which are presented excerpts of the logbook which allows the audience to track the voyage. An introductory roll-up banner and a mosaic-pictured one have been placed at the entrance in order to invite the viewer to discover the whole voyage.

Furthermore, a video documentary presentation of the crew in Marie-Galante before the crossing in which we see the artist doing the sketching her watercolours on the boat.

Well-known in Douarnenez as she has been frequently chartered by the sail transport company TOWT, the Lun II was built in Alesund in 1914 and after some experiences in the North, she was operated for sail cargo in partnership with TOWT from 2016 to 2018.
In 2016, while the ship remained docked at the port of Ensenada in Mexico, Ulysse Buquen bought it. After a first series of fitting out, Lun II sailed again on March 21st 2016, rushes to the Panama Canal, then joins the Dominican Republic where she loads coffee, before returning to Guadeloupe to ship a cargo of Rum.
These products will cross the Atlantic to reach Douarnenez, port in which TOWT has been established since 2016.


On July the 12th 2019, the consortium organised the opening of the permanent exhibition in presence of the artist Laetitia Vassal, the director of the Port-Musée de Douarnenez Kelig-Yann Cotto, Jean- Marie ALIDOR 8th Deputy Mayor and Delegate for Heritage and Security, Marie-Suzanne CARIOU Delegate of Port-Rhu and Guillaume LE GRAND president de TOWT.

After the speech of the Director who has presented the exhibition and the context of CSR project, the artist Laetitia Vassal spoke about the experience on board but also the way she has worked ex post all the material she had compiled in difficult sailing circumstances onboard.

After that, Guillaume LE GRAND’s speech dwelled upon the CSR project and this unique opportunity to reproduce what a cargo voyage is about and to thank Laetitia for her precious testimony contributing to make life at sea public and hoping to give young people the will to go to sea.

About 50 people were present at the opening as well as local journalist.
A rum tasting was held by Guillaume LE GRAND at the entrance during the event.



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