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Extensive Project Gathers Pace for Historic Vessel Posted on

One of South Devon’s most recognisable and historic boats is undertaking an essential and major renovation.

The 1924-built sailing vessel Provident — which is owned and operated by the Trinity Sailing Foundation — will be heading back out to sea this May after having her entire aft deck removed and replaced.

Throughout the winter the gaff-rigged trawler has been a major focal point of Brixham Harbour, sitting alongside the harbour wall, while a team of shipwrights and her crew get her ready for the new season which will see her sailing to Brittany, the Channel Islands, and the Scillies.

The work was part-funded by The Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM) Fund, through the Arts Council, along with support from other generous individuals and organisations.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We’re really pleased to have been able to support the restoration of this historically significant vessel through our PRISM fund. The fund aims to conserve items or collections that are important in the history and development of science, technology, industry and related fields. The ‘Provident’ has a rich heritage and this conservation project supports its legacy.”

Ben Wheatley, Trinity Sailing’s Operations Director, said: “By far the most significant and most challenging refit task for Trinity Sailing this winter is the renewal of the aft half of Provident’s main deck; the forward section was completed in 2013, and it is now time for the old deck planks, knees and beams in the aft half of the vessel to be replaced with new.

“We have been working over several years to make improvements to her: new bulwarks and stanchions, a new foredeck and a new engine. This is the final phase. We also invested £200,000 on re-decking our biggest vessel Leader. Golden Vanity, the third of our vessels, is busier than ever with her successful Duke of Edinburgh Residentials and Expeditions.

“This current project began in January; a waterproof cover was erected to enclose the vessel before the work started; since then all the old deck planks and beams have been removed, the new beams are in place and the new deck planks will be going back in soon.

“We are very pleased that Bob Cann and his team of shipwrights, have been able to utilise high quality, seasoned, English oak to make up the beams and knees, whilst Douglas fir will be used for the deck planks. We are also taking this opportunity to do some repairs to the transom and make some improvements to the crew accommodation and lazarette areas.

“It is great to see so much good, new, timber going in to the vessel.   Once complete this project will ensure she is in an excellent condition to meet the challenges of a busy sail training and charter programme for years to come.”

The vessel forms part of UK National Historic Fleet, a status which ranks her alongside the likes of HMS Victory and the Cutty Sark.

After the Second World War, Provident arrived in Salcombe, in 1951, as the founding vessel of the Island Cruising Club where she remained until 1999 when she started working from Brixham as part of the newly-formed Trinity Sailing Foundation. Provident was built in 1924, in the same yard on the River Dart as Leader. She was a replacement for an earlier vessel of the same name, sunk during the First World War by a German U-boat. She fished out of Brixham for 10 years before being sold to a wealthy American and converted to a private yacht.

If you would like to join Provident for a cruise this year, you can call Trinity Sailing on 01803 88 33 55 or email Her full voyage programme is available online at



Meet the Team — Neil Wilson Posted on

In the run up to the 2017 season getting underway we will be introducing the current Trinity Sailing Foundation team. Today we caught up with another member of our sea staff — Neil Wilson.


What is your role at Trinity Sailing?

I am Trinity’s substitute team member. Part-time mate, part-time cook, part-time deckie. I help to cover the main crew members when they are away on leave and have spent time working on all three vessels. I’m a volunteer and am often around in the winter months getting the vessels ready for sea.

How long have your worked for Trinity?

I have been coming down for the past two-and-a-half years.

What did you do prior to joining the team?

Before I retired I drove trucks around Europe for around 20 years, prior to that I was transporting containers to and from various parts of the UK for 15 years. I have done a wide range of everything though, I was a butcher once.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love being involved with the other members of the Trinity team, who are a lot younger than me. I find the things many of them have done and the goals they have achieved very inspiring in many ways.

Where is your favourite sailing destination?

I am particularly fond of the Devon and Cornwall area, but I also like it in Oban and around the Scottish Isles.

When you’re not sailing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I volunteer at an urban community farm, in Southampton, where I work mainly in the gardens with groups of people with special needs. I also hold a world record for the most sighs within a five minute period.

Neil Wilson

Meet the Team – Enya Williams Posted on

In the run up to the 2017 season getting underway we will be introducing the current Trinity Sailing Foundation team. Today we caught up with another member of our sea staff — Enya Williams.


What is your role at Trinity Sailing?

I am the the cook on Provident, it’s my job to provide three freshly cooked meals a day plus, most importantly, afternoon cake.

How long have your worked for Trinity?

This is going to be my second season with Trinity as cook, though I have been sailing with trinity for five years as a charter guest.

What did you do prior to joining the team?

Before I joined the Trinity team I was a student at Plymouth City College studying catering and hospitality. At the same time I was a cook/barista at my local pub.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

This is my dream job and the best thing about it is seeing everyone around the table enjoying them self, eating my food and discussing the fun day they had above deck.

Where is your favourite sailing destination?

I haven’t been very far as yet but my favourite place up till now has got to be St Malo, in France.

When you’re not sailing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy sailing my little dingy, spending time with my family and friends and going to the local pub for a game of pool and a pint. I’m also partial to a bit of rum.

Enya Williams

National Historic Ships UK Secures HLF support Posted on

National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK) has received initial support for a £424,900 scheme from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) under its Skills for the Future programme, it was announced today.

The grant was applied for to assist in funding a second phase of the Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership project – an initiative that aims to prevent the loss of the traditional skills and techniques involved in conserving, handling and maintaining historic vessels.   Development funding of £15,900 has been awarded to help NHS-UK progress its plans to apply for the full grant at a later date.

The project will host 16 training placements of 12-month duration each at eight partner sites across the UK.  Trainees will be working with a variety of historic vessels in both operational and museum settings, receiving specialist training in traditional seamanship and maritime curatorial skills. They will also undertake a tailored induction at Cremyll Sea School, a unique course in historic vessel maintenance at the International Boatbuilding Training College Lowestoft and a range of modules in historic vessel conservation.

This scheme is based on an earlier HLF-funded project which successfully hosted ten training placements with partners operating historic vessels at sites ranging from Scotland to the West Country.  Nine of those ten trainees went on to secure paid or voluntary employment within the maritime sector.

Hannah Cunliffe, Policy & Projects Manager at NHS-UK, said: “I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this further support.  The funding will help young people learn the practical skills which are necessary to interpret, operate and maintain historic vessels within a museum collection or on the water to a standard in keeping with their significance.  The project includes the development of a series of short films to document skills in action, ensuring a lasting legacy which will also benefit the wider sector.”

 Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “There is no quick fix to this problem. The heritage sector has been slow in widening the profile of its work force and as a consequence is on a long-term learning curve.

“We wanted to build on the legacy of our existing targeted skills funding – £47m to date – and make a further financial commitment of just over £10m. Why? Because we know the Skills for the Future programme can drive successful and lasting change. It’s simple yet highly effective: trainees paired with experts gain access to knowledge plus practical, paid, on-the-job experience.”

SHTP was formed to deliver this Skills for the Future project and comprises the following organisations:

National Historic Ships UK (lead partner) –

Royal Museums Greenwich –

HMS Warrior 1860 –

Scottish Fisheries Museum Trust –

Dauntseys School Sailing Club –

Sea-Change Sailing Trust –

Excelsior Sailing Trust –

Trinity Sailing Foundation –

Pioneer Sailing Trust –

Hugh Langworthy

Meet the Team — Emma Broadhurst Posted on

In the run up to the 2017 season getting underway we will be introducing the current Trinity Sailing Foundation team. Today we caught up with another member of our sea staff — Emma Broadhurst.


What is your role at Trinity Sailing?

I have been with Trinity since the start of 2016 when I joined as mate on Leader. I will be doing the same again this coming season. Right now I am busy helping to get her ready for her first trip in April.

What did you do prior to joining the team?

I have worked on a number of other traditional sailing vessels, most recently as bosun on a square-rigged vessel doing long ocean trips.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy meeting a wide-range of people, and seeing so many new spaces over a short space of time. I generally just love everything about sailing.

Where is your favourite sailing destination?

It has to be the west coast of Scotland, visiting all the different islands. The scenery is always very dramatic, there’s so much wildlife and there is always somewhere new to explore. I am looking forward to Leader’s long stint up there this summer.

When you’re not sailing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Sailing, sailing, and more sailing. It’s pretty much all I like to do. When I am not doing that I like travelling to and exploring the places I have sailed to.

Emma Broadhurst

The Trinity Experience – An American Perspective… Posted on

A former Trinity Sailing crew member who sailed on board our vessels last year has documented her time at sea and her experience of the sailing season.

Briana Partridge (pictured left), who lives in Key West, Florida, hopes to start a career in the British sailing industry having fallen in love with the UK coastline during her year on board both Leader and Provident. She wanted to share her experience in the hope it will inspire others to spend time on a Brixham Trawler.

Here is her blog, explaining her love affair with traditional gaff-rigged vessels and sailing in her favourite part of the world — Scotland.

If you would like to experience the west coast for yourself, please check out of dates for this coming season here.


Brianna Partridge

Meet the Team — Harry Gottschalk Posted on

In the run up to the 2017 season getting underway we will be introducing the current Trinity Sailing Foundation team. Today we caught up with a member of our office staff — Harry Gottschalk.


What is your role at Trinity Sailing?

I am Trinity’s Marketing & Sales Manager. It’s my job to process bookings, keep the boats busy throughout the season and promote the organisation all year round, whether that’s online, over the phone, or in person.

What did you do prior to joining the team?

I’ve been here for just under four years. Before moving to Devon  I was a news reporter for a Midlands-based daily newspaper called the Express & Star, which involved everything from covering murder trials to interviewing celebrities and politicians. Prior to that I worked for some smaller papers in Derbyshire. When I left university I spent a few years doing sales jobs.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Before working here I knew surprisingly little about sailing, and I enjoy learning more about all things nautical. I like speaking to a wide range of people and there is a lot of job satisfaction in seeing these great boats busy and speaking to happy customers looking forward to a holiday. Above all it’s nice to hear the feedback we get from the sail training groups we work with. For the majority of the disadvantaged young people we take to sea, these voyages are genuinely life-changing.

Where is your favourite sailing destination?

They don’t let me out the office much. I am looking forward to sailing to Mallaig this summer. Last year I spent a week in the Channel Islands and I really enjoyed exploring both Herm and Sark.

When you’re not sailing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Well I’m hardly ever sailing, but when I’m not at work I enjoy exploring Devon, having only lived here for a few years. I’m obsessed with music and play the guitar. I’m a bit of a film geek, I also enjoy cooking. Unfortunately I support Aston Villa — the less said about that the better.

Harry Gottschalk

Meet the Team — Robin Maddex Posted on

In the run up to the 2017 season getting underway we will be introducing the current Trinity Sailing Foundation team. Today we caught up with a rather crucial member of our sea staff — Robin Maddex.


What is your role at Trinity Sailing?

​I work as the cook on-board Leader ​and also crew on deck and pull a few lines when I can, as well as helping out the bosun and deck crew if needed. It’s really a matter of getting stuck in and everyone works together as a crew. ​ ​​I​ was press-ganged into joining Trinity Sailing before last season, in April 2016. I grew up in Brixham and have always been either on the sea or on the Moors, I had an opportunity to have a look around Leader with Ben​ and she’s such a beauty I felt it would be a fantastic experience to come aboard as part of her crew. So this is my second season now.

What did you do prior to joining the team? ​

I trained as a chef after school and worked in various restaurants and hotels, then after a short spell in the Army had been in the licensed hospitality businesses for many years until I decided to take a break, which turned to a longer break!​ Mind you it’s hard work aboard, fun, but definitely full on!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

​Goodness, that’s hard to say because there’s such a wonderful variety every day when we’re sailing and in port. I would have to say second to the camaraderie of all the crew, that it would be the pleasure of meeting and enjoying the company and fun of our lovely guests. Who come aboard Leader to support and experience such an amazing boat and sail around some of the world’s most fabulous coastlines. It is basically living history on-board all the boats and it’s a privilege to be a part of Trinity Sailing.

Where is your favourite sailing destination? ​

Ha ha, another hard question! Obviously I love the south coast as I grew up in these waters, but I would have to say that the west coast of Scotland and around the islands is just amazing, such a fantastic sailing area, it really is a wonderful experience.

When you’re not sailing, what else do you enjoy doing?

​I enjoy seeing my family and friends, sitting by the harbour with a pint and good food. But I do travel a lot and spend four or five months of the winter skiing​ in the Alpes and a month or so visiting friends near Cognac in France.

Robin Maddex

Meet the team – Harri Smith Posted on

In the run up to the 2017 season getting underway we will be introducing the current Trinity Sailing Foundation team. Today we caught up with another member of our sea staff — Harri Smith.


What is your role at Trinity Sailing?

This year I am sailing as mate on board Golden Vanity. This is my second season with Trinity, having sailed as mate on board Provident last year. I first came to Trinity as a volunteer in 2012 helping to recommission Leader after a big refit. I wasn’t able to come back and sail until 2015 and I enjoyed it so much I applied for a job.

What did you do prior to joining the team?

My first experience of sailing was as a young person on another sail training vessel. I found it so inspiring and enjoyable that I began volunteering as much as possible. In 2012 I decided to give up my desk job and run away to sea and I have been working in sail training ever since.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the variety. I love the maintenance side, learning about these incredible vessels and having an understanding of both the historic and modern skills needed to keep them working. I love the sailing; exploring news places and meeting a huge variety of different people.

Where is your favourite sailing destination?

As I mentioned, I love going to new places. Golden Vanity is the smallest vessel I’ve ever worked on so I am looking forward to exploring lots of lovely little spots that I have been unable to get in to with larger vessels before.

When you’re not sailing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Maintenance?! I do actually really enjoy making homemade rope and canvas craft work. Out side of the “boat world” entirely, I really enjoy cooking and I love music. I’ve always done a lot of singing and now I am learning to play the guitar so that I can accompany myself!

Harri Smith

Leader’s Winter Refit – An Update… Posted on

It has been a busy winter on board Leader as her crew and volunteers work tirelessly to get her ready for her first voyage of the 2017 season. Her skipper, Stan, has given an update of how things are progressing…

“We have had a cracking, if slightly cold, first-half of our maintenance period. So far the team have mostly been focusing on improving our systems on board, with cosmetic part of our refit to take place in the last fortnight of the period.

“Leader spent approximately three weeks on a slipway at Tom’s Yard, in Polruan. In that time we had some work done to our stern gland, sea-cocks and spent a large amount of time caulking. One of our long term volunteers Beth, as well as our new bosun Stephen, also repainted the hull with tar paint, so she is looking shiny at the moment

“Other jobs you are unlikely to notice when she is back on the water but, which are essential for the running of the vessel, include cleaning the starboard fuel tanks, replacing their gaskets, chipping and protecting the engine beds and mounts, a complete engine service, and remarking our anchor cable. I am currently installing our very shiny new Raymarine electronics, and am very much looking forward to having them to play with during the season.

“We still have a few of these tasks to finish off before we can move on to the painting and varnishing but, at the moment, we are all very much looking forward to getting her looking gleaming for the season.

“As ever, I would like to extend a particular thank you to everyone who has come down to volunteer on board for your efforts help to preserve a maritime treasure… and bankroll most of the pubs in Brixham!

“If you would like to get involved with volunteering with us before the season starts, you would be more than welcome on board, please contact the office on 01803 883355. I am looking forward to seeing you all on board during the season. Cheers, Stan.”

Leader’s full sailing programme for the year can be seen here.

Leader sign