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Fécamp Grand Escale, the big party!

by Denis van den Brink 29 Jan 04:50 PST 29 June - 3 July 2022
Fécamp Grand Escal © Stéphane L'hote

A maritime festival, a gathering of working or traditional boats, a space for international cultural encounters, a celebration of a city turned towards the open sea... Fécamp Grand Escale will be, from June 29 to July 3, all of this and more.

While registrations for sailboats and ships of all sizes are going well, with more than 50 units already signed up, from the small sailing dinghy to the majestic three masted Belem, the program of activities on land and at sea is taking shape, around discovery days with music from morning to late evening. Fécamp Grand Escale is a celebration of a unique maritime history, that of Fécamp and its deep-sea fishing past, with all its national and international cultural ramifications. Bordered by its high alabaster cliffs, the port of Fécamp is always ready and able to welcome and showcase the most emblematic sailing ships from the coasts of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and England. For five days next summer, the port will shine with the passion of those who love the open sea, boats, and the art of living well at sea.

Extraordinary boats

Fécamp Grand Escale is an international gathering of traditional boats. All the flotillas of the maritime heritage will be represented, from small canoes to large sailing ships, from work boats to classic pleasure yachts. Naturally, we will find boats built in Fécamp such as the mortar boat Marité, the schooner of the French Navy Belle Poule, the Yport caïque Vierges de Lourdes, the pilot Professor Gosset or the lifeboat Onésime Frébourg. Visitable on land, these units will also be able to embark visitors for day trips under the cliffs towards Yport or Etretat.

On land; the party

Born from an idea of the municipality of Fécamp, led by Pierre Aubry, 1st deputy mayor, Fécamp Grand Escale is an event for the general public and free of charge, a "time machine, but without nostalgia," says Pascal Servain, director and president of the eponymous association. "Fécamp Grand Escale is a place for cultural and maritime exchanges, like the maritime festivals in Sète or the Gulf of Morbihan week. The presence of exceptional boats will allow us to promote the historical heritage of the port of Fécamp, with its huge piers and its buccaneers. Our concept is based on aesthetics and sharing." The music, the sailors' songs, bearers of a spirit, a mood, a joy so representative of the historical sites of the great fishing, Norman but also Mediterranean with the presence of the Sétois of the gathering "Escale à Sète", will bring the colorful sound dressing to the event. The detailed program is under construction.

At sea: parades and discoveries

From July 1st, a big parade of the main sailing ships will launch the event. Each day, a large number of boats will sail under sail in Fécamp harbor or on their way to Etretat and Yport. Depending on the tides, the boats will evolve in the harbor, in view of the spectators from the beach or the cliffs. These boat movements will be commented for the public massed on the large dike and the booms.

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