Sailing Pilgrimages - Pray, Praise & Sail

Russ Fairman’s ‘Round Britain Sailing Pilgrimage’ Celebrating Stella Maris’ 100+ yrs of service

This round Britain sailing pilgrimage, on board ‘Mintaka’ (Dufour 34 Performance sailboat) owned and skippered by Russ Fairman, was undertaken to celebrate Stella Maris’ 100 years of service to seafarers & fishers.

Starting Southampton (St Joseph’s) on Saturday 29th April 2023 , finishing in Portsmouth Cathedral 9th July on SEA SUNDAY .

We sailing 2,433 miles in an anticlockwise direction out of the Port Southampton, visiting  65 ports with a blessed Stella Maris Icon replica, after its world circumnavigation with Trustee, John Hood.  Praising and thanking God for the global reach of Stella Maris, and the support provided by local communities in Britain. The Icon is a shared symbol that was be sailed by over 60 crew, made up of friends & supporters, who passed on the Icon to the next crew in the next Port of call, as a sign of unity and fellowship. Celebratory shoreside Gatherings, at 22 port area locations, were fun and prayerful, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary. Our aim is to celebrate and honour Mary, Our Lady Star of The Sea, who’s faithful intercession always points us to Jesus and to support the wonderful pastoral work of Stella Maris.

The Pilgrimage also raised over £20,000, generated 60 pieces of media coverage about Stella Maris: 1 piece on TV, 9 on radio, 25 in newspapers, 10 in websites, 5 in newsletters, and 5 in magazines. Accrued nearly 70,000 views on social media for Stella Maris (Facebook: over 55,000 views, Twitter: almost 9,000 views, LinkedIn: almost 6,000 views).  Over2,500 likes, reactions, comments, and shares on social media for Stella Maris across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – So deemed a great success by Stella Maris 

The Sailing Voyage was conducted as a pilgrimage, saturated in Prayer and joy filled fellowship – Reflecting on Mary’s Words “Do whatever He tells you”  Jn 2:5


Crew on the sailboat

Over 60 friends of Stella Maris sailed on this amazing pilgrimage (for 1-7 days) with Russ the Skipper - Most had no experience of sailing Pilgrimage boat 'Mintaka' Dufour 34’ is owned and skippered by Russ Fairman MCA RYA Yacht Master (Commercial) with 30+ years experience

Port Area Gatherings

100th Anniversary Gatherings at 20+ Port Locations, organised by Stella Maris. Fun get togethers with supporters, to greet and send off crew, with an opportunity to come and see the Sailing Pilgrimage Boat. Refreshments, speeches, prayer, praise & fellowship on the quayside or at a nearby venue or church. Some gatherings included Processions and Services - Scroll down for more details, on our facebook page @sailingpilgrimages.

Greet the boat (60+ Harbours)

In addition to the 22 main Area Gatherings, there was over 60 other location opportunities where people greeted the boat and participate in the pilgrimage. Here the Stella Maris Icon replica was passed from the incoming to the outgoing crew at each stop over. Scroll down to find the dates and times of these intermediary stops.

Miraculously the boat arrived on time at every pre-organised Celebratory Gathering, keeping to a published schedule - Thanking God and Jesus for his protection and support

Pilgrimage Services (& Possible Processions)

Celebratory Stella Maris Services @ Southampton, Dover, Gravesend, Walsingham Basilica Slipper Chapel, Grimsby, Leith, S Uist (Lochboisdale) Oban, Glasgow, Northern Ireland (Ardglass) Cardigan Our Lady of Taper, Milford Haven, Plymouth & Portsmouth Cathedral. Most had impromptu walking procession with the Stella Maris Icon replica, between the boat and local church

Journey with us on facebook

Boat was trackable on using boast MMSI number 235026191 Its was great fun to journey the whole way round with the acrtual crew on facebook. Keeping up to date on shoreside events , track the boats position at any time, share in the experiences of the crew & attend any streamed Services The Sailing Pilgrimage took 10 weeks, covering 2400 miles, calling into 65 Ports (berthed in accessible adjacent marina) in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales. Click on the link or goto

Prayer & Fundraising

Thank you to all those who prayed for us, especially those in Stella Maris prayer groups . We were very grateful for the prayers for the crew's protection, the Gatherings and the ongoing success of Stella Maris. Thank you for your generous financial support of Stella Maris that enables them to do incredibly valuable work to support the welfare of seafarers and fishers. These global seafarers, essential to our UK economy, food and energy supplies, receive very low income, are away from their families for many months, and are often discharged in remote locations without the means to return home.

Sailing Crew

  • 65 Friends of Stella Maris signed up for this amazing pilgrimage (sailing for 1-7 days)  
  • Participants were required to be 18 years of age or older (16yrs + with a guardian or parent)
  • Reasonable level of fitness required,  however no previous Sailing experience is necessary. 
  • Crew of 1-6 people, including skipper (Crew safety will be the paramount sailing consideration)
  • Information on any sailing experience or known health issues, was required in advance. 
  • Selected crew participated on any part of the voyage, for 1 or more days (sleeping on board)
  • We miraculously kept to sail to a schedule, despite having a contingency for weather and gear failures, so participants were asked to commit to a time slot and be flexible on ‘get on’ & ‘get off’ locations – Skipper will liaise with you

Sailing Itinerary

LEG……       Start Date……………..Finish Date…………..PORTS OF CALL (Stop Over locations for Crew Changes)
Leg 129 Apr Sat29 Apr SatSouthampton (Ocean Village) to Chichester
Leg 2Sun 30 AprilFri 5 MayChichester, Shoreham, Dover, Ramsgate, Queenborough, Gravesend ,
Leg 3Sun 7 MaySun 7 MayGravesend, Harwich (opposite Felixstowe)
Leg 4Tue 9 MayWed 10 MayHarwich, Lowestoft, Wells Next Sea, King’s Lynn, Grimsby, 
Leg 5Fri 12 MayFri 19 MayGrimsby, Scarborough, Blyth, Lindisfarne, Eyemouth, Leith
Leg 6Mon 22 MayFri 2 JuneLeith, Dundee, Stonehaven, Peterhead, Whitehills, Wick, Kinlochbervie, Stornoway, Lochboisdale, SU,
Leg 7Sun 4 JuneWed 7 JuneLochboisdale, Mallaig, Tobermoray, Oban, Gigha, Campbeltown
Leg 8Sat 10 JuneSat 10 JuneCampbeltown, Glasgow (Transport Museum Pontoon – St Aloysius’ Walk – Clyde)
Leg 9Mon 12 JuneSat 17 JuneGlasgow,  Wemyss Bay (Kip Marina), Lamlash, Troon, Stranraer, Bangor, Ardglass (NI)
Leg 10Mon 19 JuneSat 24 June
Ardglass Holyhead, Porth Dinllaen, Fishguard, St David’s, Milford Haven 
Leg 11Mon 26 JuneSay 30 JuneMilford Haven , Padstow, Penzance Newlyn, Falmouth, Fowey, Plymouth
Leg 122 July Sun9 July SunPlymouth, Teignmouth, Weymouth, Poole, Portsmouth (GunWharf) 

Pilgrim Services at most of the 20 Port Gatherings - Here's a selection

SOUTHAMPTON - Sat 29th April

St Joseph's Church Service Time 11.00AM, Location SO14 2AH, followed by reception in the hall and then a Procession Walk to the boat from St Joseph's to Ocean Village Marina:

WALSINGHAM Thur 11th May

The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham Service time 6pm, for a procession into Walsingham for a Service and evening meal. Boat crew will procession in the day from the Boat at Wells Next the Sea and attend the Pilgrims Mass at 4pm, before the main Gathering at 6pm, all welcome.

LEITH Sun 21st May

St Mary's Star of the Sea Leith - Service starting at TBC, followed by a procession with the Icon to the Boat at Granton Marina  EH5 1HF (1.5miles)

GLASGOW Sun 11th June

St Aloysius -Service starting 12 noon, followed by a reception at 1pm and then procession to the Boat at Riverside Museum York Hill Pontoon on the Clyde G38RS (2.5miles)

CARDIGAN Sat 24th June

Our Lady of the Taper Cardigan -Service stating at 10:30 AM, followed by a Procession Walk to the beach (2.3 miles) Beach for a family picnic celebration


St John’s Cathedral - SEA SUNDAY service with the Royal Navy starting at 12.00 noon preceded by a Process from the boat with the Icon from Gunwarf Quay Marina PO1 3TZ to St John’s Cathedral before the service

Port Gatherings / Services - Schedule

29 Apr Sat11.00 AMSouthamptonSt Joseph’s Church SO14 2AHOcean Village Marina SO14 3QF
Tue 2 May10:00 AMDoverSt Pauls Schools, churches together, teaDover Marina
Sat 6 May18:00 PMGravesend (Thames)St John The Evangilist DA12 1ENGravesend Pontoon – Town Pier, Gravesend DA11 0BJ
Sun 7 May08.30 AMGravesend (Thames)St John The Evangilist DA12 1ENGravesend Pontoon – Town Pier, Gravesend DA11 0BJ
Mon 8 May10.00 AMHarwichOur Lady Queen of Heavan HarwichHa’penny pier pontoon CO12 3EJ
Thur 11 May6.00 PMShrine WalsinghamWalsingham Shrine NR22 6ALWells Next Sea or King Lynn TBC (Weather !)
Sun 14 May11:00 AMGrimsbyHumber Cruising AssociationFish Dock DN313SD
Wed 17 MayAM/PMBlythRoyal Northumblerland YC & Mass?Royal Northumblerland YC
Sun 21 May10.30 AMLeithSt Mary’s Star of the Sea, LeithGranton Harbour EH5 1HF
Mon 22 May7.00pmDundeeDundee CathedralTayport Harbour – Harbour Rd, Tayport DD6 9BG
Wed 24 May9:30 AMStonehavenSt Mary’s Arbuthnott Place, Stonehaven, AB39 2FYOld Pier Stonehaven AB39 2JU
Thur 25 May9.3PeterheadSt Mary’s churchPeterhead marina
Sat 3 June18.30 PMWestern Isles (Lochboisdale)Our Lady ofSorrowsLochboisdale Harbour
Tue 6 June10:00 AMObanSt ColumbaOban Transit Marina
Fri 9 June10.00 AMCampbeltownSt Kieran’sCampbeltown
Sun 11 June12:00GlasgowSt AloyisusRiverside Museum York Hill Pontoon G38RS TBC !!!!!
Sun 18 June11:30 AMNorthern Ireland (Ardglass)St Nicholas Catholic ChurchArdglass Marina
Sat 24 June10.30 AMShrine CardiganNorth Road Cardigan SA43 1LTMilford Haven Marina
Sun 25 June09.30 AMMilford HavenSt Francis of AssisiMilford Haven Marina
Sat 1 July10.00 AMPlymouthSt Mary & St Boniface CathedralQueen Anne’s Battery Marina (Brendan to Confirm)
9 July Sun10:00 AMPortsmouthSt Johns Cathedral SEA SUNDAYGunwarf Quay PO1 3TZ

Stella Maris

Stella Maris, previously known as, ‘The Apostleship of the Sea’, was founded in Glasgow in 1920. At this time Britain had one of the largest merchant fleets in the world, employing many thousands of British seafarers. The Apostleship of the Sea ran large seafarers’ hostels in all the major port towns. Nowadays ships are bigger and crews are smaller, and increasingly recruited from developing world countries where wages were lower. Owners registered their ships under so-called flags of convenience to avoid stringent regulatory controls.

While the nature of the work has evolved, Stella Maris’ founding belief is that every seafarer deserves fair working conditions & respect for their human rights. Today there are 230 chaplains in over 300 ports across 41 countries from Australia to the USA, supporting crew’s physical, mental and spiritual welfare.


Fun get togethers with supporters, to greet and send off crew, with an opportunity to come aboard the Sailing Pilgrimage Boat.

100th Anniversary Celebratory refreshments, speeches, prayer, praise & worship on the quayside or at a nearby venue or church. Some gatherings include Processions and Services as detailed above in the schedule.

Other shore side events and gatherings will be arranged and advertised locally

Our Facebook page is a great way to find out more and keep up to date with what’s happening 

60 + Crew CHANGES

65 people crewed the boat sailing around Britain on this Sailing Pilgrimage, staying on board for 1 to 7 days.

 Crew changes were made at over 50 harbours as described in the Itinerary above. Was wonderful that so many came and meet the crew and local Stella Maris supporters, to greet or send off the new crew representing their Port.

 Impromptu gatherings were also held to celebrate the 100th Anniversary and mark the passing of the Stella Maris Icon from crew to crew, Port to Port. 

Our Facebook page is a great way to find out more and keep up to date with what’s happening 

Holy Sites & Coastal Pilgrimage Routes

Celtic missionaries such as St Columba and St Fursey, crossed seas in small boats to pioneer new communities and find God in creation at the edges and margins. 

The Holy Spirit enabled them to discover their true selves, through harmonious connectedness with nature, and lead others to Jesus.

 Spending time at sea in prayer is transformative, and life changing for many. 

Our Sailing Pilgrimage will be visiting many Holy Sites and tracking along ancient coastal pilgrimage routes. Reflecting on and praying with the Saints of old.

Pilgrimage Routes & Sites Encountered

Adjacent Coastal PilgrimageFromToMilesHoly SitesWeb Link
OLD WAYSouthamptonCanterbury240 MBosham – Chichester – Arundel – Steyning – Botolphs – Battle – Lyminge – Canterbury
The Augustine CaminoRamsgateCanterbury Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate
Rochester Cathedral Pilgrimage
St Peters WayGreensteadBradwell Essex40Moldest wooden church in the world, St Andrew’s, Greensted
The Pilgrim Ways to WalsinghamCley/Blakeney HarbourWalsingham Catholic Slipper Chapel – Bascilica of Our Lady
Beverley Minster To Bridlington PrioryBridlingtonYork47Mpriory church of Saint Mary, Bridlington.
Way of St HildHartlepoolWhitby47MSt Hildas Church Hartlepool / Whitby Abbey
Northern Saints TrailSunderlandLindisfarne Durham Cathedral resting place of St Cuthbert
St Oswald’s WayHeavanfieldLinisFarne97MHeavenfield; Bamburgh; Holy Island/Lindisfarne
The Forth to Farne WayLindisfarneNorth Berwick72M
St Margarets WayEdinburghSt Andrews
St Duthac’s WaySt AndrewsAberdean97 MSt Andrews
Northern Pilgrim WayTainKirkwall127 MShrine of St Duthac, Tain/Shrine of St Magnus in Kirkwall on Orkney
St Columba’s WayIonaOban
St Ninian’s WaySouth QueensferryCarlisle
Anglesey (Ynys Mon) PilgrimageHoly HeadCaernafon
The North Wales Pilgrims WayHolywellBardsey Island Holywell in Flintshire, kneel underwater on St Beuno’s Stone
Southern Way of St DavidSt Davids CathedralPembroke Dock
Cornish Celtic WaySt German’s PriorySt Michael’s Mount St German’s Priory to St Michael’s Mount
The Mary and Michael Pilgrims’ WayCarn Lês BoelAvebury350MSt Michael’s Mount; St Neot; St Cleer; Crediton; Glastonbury; Doulting
The Celtic Way (SW Section)TourquayBridport Glastonbury; Sherborne;