Seafood and Eat It – that’s our motto! Pilgrim has played her part in promoting the English Riviera as the UK’s ‘go to’ international seafood destination. We scheduled a special celebratory cruise over the weekend of 21st/22nd September to join in ‘England’s Seafood FEAST Festival’.

Departure was from our home port of Brixham where more seafood is landed than any other port in England. We sailed out of Torbay and round the South Devon area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) to arrive in the historic port of Dartmouth. There we cooked and served our ‘Seafood and Eat It’ special menu for dinner and followed that up with a breakfast to match!

 

Our Seafood Feast menu featured a crabcake, prawn and crayfish starter (top photo) followed by Tai fish curry (photo above) and finished off with a sumptuous Eton mess. Breakfast the morning after was scallops and bacon brioche (photo below). We thenset sail again and headed back into our home on the English Riviera.

 

Pilgrim is the oldest surviving sailing trawler that was built and rigged in Brixham and is a living icon of the Victorian fishing heritage that put the port and our locality on the map for generations. The trawling techniques that vessels like Pilgrim pioneered in the 19th century led onto the development of the modern day trawler and the fishing industry that we know today. Pilgrim celebrates her 125th anniversary in 2020.

 

 

On a lovely July day in Brixham, these folks decided to transfer from 2 wheels to 7 sails! Pilgrim was delighted to host a visit from Devon Advanced Motorcyclists. Apparently they produce an annual calendar. No, not that sort of calendar! Just one that highlights all the amazing places they get to on their biking adventures.

They came aboard Pilgrim in Brixham at the end of one of our busy Open Days and soon got acclimatised to matters nautical. As you can see from the photo below, bikers seem to have to sit one behind each other! Funny that – we couldn’t seem to make them understand that when the bowsprit went out they’d all end up…well you can guess!

 

Motorcyclists on Pilgrim
Devon Advanced Motorcyclists on Pilgrim of Brixham

 

After much endeavour they managed to get one of our seven sails up, take lots of photos and a good time was had by all. Then, as you can see, there was no stopping them. They were getting ready to set sail – where’s the Skipper?

 

Motorcyclists setting sail
Time to see what speed this thing can do!

 

If you have a club, group or association that would like to have a guided tour of our 1895 masterpiece we’ll try our best to arrange something and fit you in. Just email mailbox@pilgrimofbrixham.org.uk

 

 

We are delighted to announce the appointment of the Pilgrim Foundation President and Vice President at the Annual General Meeting. The meeting took place at the Brixham Labboratory at Freshwater Quay in Brixham on Friday 19th July 2019.

After nearly 20 years of ceaseless commitment to the restoration, preservation and operations of Pilgrim, Rod Coveney has stood down as Director, Trustee and Managing Director and has now been appointed Honorary President. Foundation Chair David Range made the annoucement and presentation with Sailing Director and Trustee, Lynda Davison.

Rod has had a pivotal role over many years leading the fundraising and organisation required to see the 1895 heritage sailing trawler Pilgrim of Brixham restored, maintained and sailing each summer out of her home port in the traditional manner.

Pilgrim President Rod Coveney
Presentation to Rod Coveney on his appointment as President

At the same time, former Director and Trustee, Neil Davidson was appointed to the role of Vice President. He joins the other Vice Presidents – Mike Chater, Johan Skibdahl and John Wilson. Over many years, Neil has been a stalwart of the Pilgrim team acting as volunteer crew and playing a vital role in the productuion of new masts and bowsprits. Whenever there is a job to be done or an Open Day to host, Neil is there sharing his expertise and his love of Pilgrim with everyone around him.

Pilgrim Foundation appoints Vice President - Neil Davidson
Presentation to Neil Davidson on his appointment as Vice President.

Both Rod and Neil will continue to play an active role in the efforts to preserve and maintain Pilgrim BM45. She is a living testament to the generations of Brixham fisherfolk who earned their precarious living based on fishing with these incredible sailing boats.

Having not made it to the Scillies a couple of weeks ago owing to Storm Miguel we are delighted to say that Pilgrim is now basking in the sunshine in the Isles of Scilly. She set off from Falmouth on Tuesday and, after waiting for the tide off Coverack, undertook a night passage to the islands.

Pilgrim moored in New Grimsby Sound between Tresco and Bryher on Wednesday for a couple of days. This gave guests the opportunity to have walks ashore and explore these stunning islands. On Friday, Pilgrim sailed around the archipelago and then anchored off St Martin’s for a beach BBQ. The Scillies beach BBQ is a regular feature of our annual visit to the islands and a favourite with guests and crew alike.

Pilgrim BM45 BBQ
Pilgrim Skipper Richard (right) organising the BBQ with guest Alan

Today Pilgrim set off from St Martin’s and is now anchored in the bay at Hugh Town which is on the main island of St Mary’s.

Pilg BM45 in Isles of Scilly
Pilgrim anchorages Scilly Isles 2019

This week Trinity House announced some changes to the ‘character’ of the light from the Berry Head Lighthouse. This announcement comes via ‘Notices to Mariners’ which our skipper Richard Smith has to stay aware of. They are issued by the navigation authorities and harbourmasters.

Berry Head Lighthouse 1906
Photo courtesy https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Nilfanion

Pilgrim and her skipper Silas Pine had been fishing out of Brixham for eleven years when the lighthouse was constructed on Berry Head in 1906. It would have been a welcome navigational aid marking the southerly entrance to Torbay. It has an unusual pedigree being the highest and the lowest lighthouse in England. The lighthouse is only 16 feet tall, yet its light is 190 feet above sea level. It is located in the South Devon ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ (AONB) in a commanding position on the headland. It is a very welcome sight for Brixham trawlermen to this day.

At night it can be seen over 11 miles away and it flashes a white light twice every 15 seconds. The character of the light is now a one second flash followed by a one second eclipse, then a one second flash and a 12 second eclipse.

PilgrimBM45
Pilgrim with Berry Head Lighthouse just visible top left

Many people will not be aware that Berry Head also hosts an aeronautical navigation aid which is part of a vital north south navigational air corridor managed by NATS – the UK’s National Air Traffic Services. So, Berry Head is not only a fabulous spot for bird watchers but also a special place for boat and aircraft spotters.

 

It was 124 years ago this month that Pilgrim was launched from No.3 slip at J W & A Uphams shipyard in Brixham. The year was 1895 and she cost £667 7s 6d. We believe the seven shillings and six pence was for the work boat that went on board although that may just be a tale! She was one of six sailing trawlers to be launched form Upham’s yard that year. She was purchased by owner and skipper Silas John Pine who was 28 years old and a sixth generation Brixham fisherman. Local church and chapel registers list five previous generations of Silas Pine who were all fishermen dating back as far as 1720. He also had a son named Silas john Pine continuing the family tradition.

124 years ago
A sailing trawler being launched at Upham’s shipyard in Brixham

Pilgrim was configured as a gaff rigged ketch and was built of English oak and elm with decks planked in oak and pine and the masts cut from Douglas fir. Her restoration which took place between 2009 and 2013 has preserved her original presentation above decks but with a contemporary fit our below.  That enables her to be sailed in the traditional manner while providing crew and guests with safe modern facilities.

Sailing Trawler Crew
The crew on a Victorian sailing trawler

Over her long life Pilgrim has been a fishing boat, a cargo boat, a sail training vessel and today she provides a platform for witnessing and understanding Brixham’s fishing heritage. The Victorian sailing trawlers, typified by Pilgrim, were the forerunners of today’s modern beam trawlers. The ingenuity and craftsmanship of the shipwrights in Victorian times created an industry that, despite its up and downs, is still thriving in Brixham today.

Pilgrim BM45
Pilgrim in the Parade of Sail at Dartmouth Regatta 2018

124 years on, Pilgrim is a proud member of the UK National Historic Fleet reflecting her status as a pre-eminent example of her period and type and being of both regional and national significance. Today she is charity owned and opearted by the Pilgrim Heritage Sailing Foundation. https://www.pilgrimofbrixham.co.uk

The sources of the historic images are not known.

Pilgrim has arrived in Falmouth in Cornwall at the end of a very busy week. On the Sunday we participated in the Brixham Heritage Regatta. It’s always a sight to behold with all the heritage boats sailing in Torbay. This year the weather was kind to spectators but also very variable which meant everybody had to be ready for anything. The Pilgrim crew limbered up in the morning, had a quick chill down and then set off for the Parade of Sail and then pursued the other Class 1 boats around the bay. We were delighted to win the Brixham Heritage Regatta Cup and were happy to congratulate Vigilance on winning the King George V Cup.

Pilgrim's Regatta crew limbering upPilgrim's Regatta crew chilling downPilgrim's Regatta winning crew 2019 Pilgrim's Regatta winning crew at rest

The following day, Bank Holiday Monday, we had an Open Day and welcomed some two hundred visitors on Board who came to hear about Pilgrim and her role in the Brixham fishing industry in the late Victorian period. Pilgrim is 124 yerars old and is the oldest surviving trawler that was built and rigged in the port of Brixham.

Pilgrim Open Day

Then it was back to the serious business of sailing. Pilgrim set off for Cornwall on the Tuesday and had a delightful cruise along the south coasts of Devon and Cornwall. We moored overnight in Dartmouth, Salcombe, Plymouth, Fowey and St Mawes soaking up some welcome early summer sun. No other cruise boat would deliver that kind of adventure – dinghy rides and all!

One of our guests commented afterwards, “I was delighted to be part of it…my first time on Pilgrim: a delightful crew, perfect choice of overnight stops and I learnt a great deal more in a few short days. Have a great summer you Pilgrims!” That’s what we like to hear! 

So we ended the week in Falmouth needing to mend a sail and ready to provision for our Cornish exploits for this year. We won’t mention scones!

Yes, that’s right – Eden Park Primary pupils meet a Victorian Pilgrim! Pilgrim of Brixham that is, the heritage sailing trawler, launched in 1895 and still going strong 124 years later. The volunteer team on Pilgrim were delighted to welcome the year 3 & 4 children from Eden Park Primary Academy to tell them all about the port, the boat and its fishing history.

Over two days the pupils had the opportunity to sketch Pilgrim from the shore and then board her and learn all about sailing, trawling and the different species of fish that were caught. They had to identify the fish and put them in the right box just as the ‘boy’ would have done below decks in Victorian times. Pilgrim was typically crewed by three men and a boy. The boy would only have been a year or two older than the children themselves.

Eden Park Primary Academy
‘Squeeze up in the stern’ Eden Park Primary Academy on Pilgrim of Brixham

The visit was part of the schools programme delivered by the Pilgrim Heritage Sailing Foundation which is the charity which owns and operates Pilgrim. Other schools are welcome to contact the Foundation and arrange their own free-of-charge visit. Each child takes home an historical guide to Pilgrim and the Brixham fishing community.

We’ve had three great new reviews since the start of the 2019 season. We routinely strive to exceed our guest expectations but seeing this post on our Facebook page provided wholesome praise for our professional and volunteer crew and all those other volunteers who work behind the scenes to keep our 124 year old beauty at sea!

Pilgrim Bm45
Tanya, Bruce and Guests having a brew! Pic by mate Julie Harris

“I had a fantastic few days sailing on the Pilgrim, the experience was well past my expectations and this was the result of the crew. The skipper, Richard clearly very experienced and dedicated to everyone’s safety and enjoyment. The first mate, Julie who works tirelessly to ensure everyone is safe, clearly very experienced and knowledgeable in sailing the Pilgrim. She’s also very focused and dedicated because not only is Julie the first mate she is the cook, where here she dedicates herself too ensure everyone is well fed with some fantastic food.. a real hard worker and a credit to Pilgrim. Crewmen, Bruce.. smashing guy who also is dedicated in ensuring everyone on board is safe and having fun. Crewmen, Bob.. smashing guy the same dedication ensuring the safety of everyone, however needs much more practice in playing the penny whistle.. Crewmen, Tanya.. who herself is recent to Pilgrim clearly dedicated to her role ensuring we on board were safe and enjoying the experience.. A fantastic crew who all work very hard in making this an unforgettable experience.

Gary Clements”

Thanks Gary – we’re glad you had a great trip and thanks also for taking the trouble to post for us.

We were also thrilled to receive this review on Trip Advisor

PilgrimBM45
Pilgrim guests relaxing in port at the end of the day. Thanks Bruce for the pic!

We’re at the start of the heritage sailing season 2019. It’s always exciting when we get to put the tools, paint and grease away and go sailing. April has arrived and we’ll be sailing now right through until October. We’ve a hectic season ahead with locals cruises around the Devon Coast, trips to Cormwall and out to the stunning Isles of Scilly. Then there’s a cruise across to Brittany and the Paimpol Martime festival.

Pilgrim BM45 shakedown crew
Pilgrim’s skipper and shakedown crew ready to set sail for the first outing of the season

Over the last two days we’ve been doing ‘shakedown sails’ to make sure everything is working right and Pilgrim is in good shape for cruising. For the next week or so we’ll be doing essential crew training so keep an eye out for us in Torbay or out in Lyme Bay. The final job is then to make-up all our berths and load provisions ready for our first cruise with guests on board just before Easter.

Pilgrim BM45 below decks
Pilgrim’s main saloon ready for guests to come aboard