Phil Beer sets sail with series of summer Folk Boat cruises

All aboard! Phil Beer, the multi instrumental wizard from award-winning English roots band Show of Hands is changing tack this summer – and inviting sailing and music enthusiasts (and novices) to join him on a series of five day cruises in West Country waters and beyond.

phil beer

With Show of Hands taking a rare break from touring until the autumn, Phil’s year will see him steering a different course – appearing solo, with the all-star Feast of Fiddles, the Bully Wee Band and his own Phil Beer Band.


But perhaps the highlight of his year will be when he takes to the high seas with his series of Folk Boat sailing and music workshop adventures this summer.


Exeter-based Phil is one of the folk world’s most popular ambassadors and was nominated for the coveted Musician of the Year title at the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.


He famously got his sea legs back in 2009 when he took time out to achieve a lifetime dream of crewing in the famous Tall Ships Race, on the 74 foot Bristol built wooden cutter Pegasus which crossed the finishing line in an impressive second place in its class, after a voyage of 4,500 nautical miles and an adventure which took in 12 countries.

This summer he will be back on board the eight-berth Pegasus (above at its launch in Bristol) and twelve-berth gaff-rigged  ketch Tectona (right), both operated by the Exeter-based sail training organisation The Island Trust – on a series of Folk Boat cruises out of Plymouth.


The idea for the cruises came about when Phil ran a one-off sailing/music adventure with Pegasus skipper Diggory Rose back in 2011. Phil, who has his own boat which he sails around the River Exe, says: “I have a long standing connection with Diggory as he’s the son of our late friend and folk singer Tony Rose.”


For a flavour of Phil’s Folk Boat at adventure see  filmed last August.

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2014 cruises will run weekly from Sunday, June 1 through to the end of August. Says Phil:” We are already half way to a sell out.”


He says applicants do not need to be proficient in either sailing or musicianship. “The cruises are open to all comers and the experience will be tailored to the unique people on the voyage. It is an informal, experience with daily music sessions and if you don’t play or sing you can just sit back and listen. One of the best things is a night sail where everyone gets to help run the boat through the small hours.”


“We’ll be visiting West Country ports like Falmouth, Brixham, Salcombe, Dartmouth and Weymouth with the possibility ,depending on weather conditions, of getting as far as the Scilly Isles or even France(participants are advised to bring passports in case of a French foray!).


An August “Show of Hands special” featuring a songwriting workshop with Steve Knightley and another evening presented by Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston is now sold out with a waiting list but spaces, at £700 a head, are still available on the following cruises, all leaving Plymouth on a Sunday night.



June 8-13

June 15-20

June 22-27

June 29-Jul 4



Aug 10-15

Aug 17-22

Aug 24-29


Anyone interested in booking a berth for the Folk Boat adventure should contact and you can read more about Folk Boat here and see Phil’s gig dates here