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Leader Brixham Sailing Trawler

Leader in TorbayBrixham Sailing Trawler Leader - sail part of our maritime heritage

Leader is a former Brixham sailing trawler, one of the largest of her type ever built in 1892 at the boatyard of A. W. Gibbs in Galmpton on the river Dart. She fished in UK waters until 1907, when she was sold to new owners in Scandinavia. She remained there as a working vessel until the 1960's, when she became a sail training vessel under the flag of the Swedish Cruising Club. In 1985, she was taken to the West coast of Scotland, where she was used for sailing charter holidays.

In 1996 she was brought home to South Devon, and operated from Dartmouth until 1999, when she returned to Brixham.

Leader is rigged as she would have been when first built, as a gaff ketch to haul a fishing beam trawl. She is 80' long on deck, and 105' overall. She displaces about 110 tonnes in sailing trim. She has a beam of 19'6" and a draft of 10'.

Down below, Leader has been fitted out for her modern role. She has accommodation for twelve guests and five crew, a large saloon area, a galley with a large, gas cooker, two heads and a generator that supplies a ring main with 240v electricity. She has a well equipped nav. station with modern navigation equipment including Radar, GPS and DSC VHF Radio.

Leader was one of the largest of the sailing trawlers, known, despite their ketch rig, as the 'Big Sloops'.

"We were all very impressed by the captain and crew on board Leader. A really excellent crew, so professional, so competent, such patience and kindness. Would love to come again" Jacqueline

Utterly mind blowing holiday. Don't send Leader away next year, keep her on the West Coast of Scotland please!"  Simon

"A vessel tha inspired confidence in the roughest of weather, plua a superb crew in attendance. The dinner parties in the evening were delightful". Brian

"The skipper and all his crew were very knowledgable and friendly. They were full of interesting facts and stories. The food was brilliant and overall one of the best  weeks of my life"  

Leader - Vessel Brochure

The Rig

Leader is rigged now just as she was when she fished under sail, over 100 years ago. She has a 'Gaff Rig', indicating that the Main and Mizzen sails are hoisted using a 'gaff', a spar attached to their upper side. The Ketch rig (two masts) was used to divide up the sail area, making each sail easier to handle by a small crew. The large number of sails (up to eight) makes it easy to 'change gear' by hoisting or lowering sails as required, depending upon the strength of the wind.

The Ketch rig is very versatile; good in light winds, when extra sails can be set (such as flying jib and mizzen staysail), good in heavy winds (she can sail under mizzen and staysail alone) and good for manoeuvring (the mizzen can be used to help to balance and turn the boat).


Leader has good headroom below decks with bunks grouped into cabin areas of 4 bunks with curtains for each bunk - plus some curtains when you need them to divide up space into smaller sleeping / changing areas.  There is a huge dining table to seat about 18 crew and guests. Leader takes a maximum of 12 guest crew plus skipper, mate, cook and deckhand.

Ship specification details - Leader's vital statistics

Adventure charter voyages for adults on Leader

Leader has a major role as a sail training ship for youth development, so her adult charter voyages for individuals are few, so don't leave it too late to book her summer voyages.  Please ring us for availability if you would like to charter the whole vessel outside these adult charter weeks.

Leader - Full Summer Programme for Adventure Charter Voyages





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 "Best aspects - active involvement in sailing and rowing: learning how the boat was made and works: shore visits, w...

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