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Provident Brixham Trawler 1924

Leader Brixahm Sailing Trawler

Brixham Sailing Trawler Provident

Provident is a well loved vessel that is part of the core collection on the UK Historic Ships Register and represents an important part of Britain's maritime history. 

60 Years as a Charter Vessel

After being laid up in Cornwall during the Second World War, which kept her safe for future generations, Provident was used as a yacht until 1951 She was then acquired by the Island Cruising Club, based in Salcombe. In the late 1980's Provident underwent a major refit and was re launched in 1991.  She continued to sail with the Club until 1999, when she started working from Brixham. She now has over half a century in use as a charter and sail training vessel in South Devon, and we would not even like to guess how many adults and young people have sailed on her over the years. 

"An amazing experience! To also sail and live on a piece of history is fantastic. The crew, skipper, and fellow passengers made the trip truly memorable". Roger 2013.

"I was hugely impressed with skipper and crew. They were professional and charming. The atmosphere on board was great, and I had a brilliant time. Thank you". Phil 2013

"Quite the best sailing trip I have had - crew exceptionally capable, helful, and professional, and the food was excellent". Mike 2013

Below Decks Accommodation

Down below, Provident has been fitted out for her modern role, but you can easily see her massive oak timbers and gain an appreciation of her hull strength, whilst being safely 'cocooned' in varnished wood. She has accommodation for twelve guests and four crew, a large saloon area, a galley with a large, gas cooker, two heads, a hot shower, 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.

For more detail about Provident below decks - see our pages on accommodation

For her 'vital statistics' see our page on Provident - Ship Specification

What Does Provident Do Best ?

Provident adventure cruises are a mixture of activity afloat, exploration ashore and pure relaxation.  On most cruises fixed itineraries are avoided, allowing us the maximum freedom to go with the weather, not fight it, and to yield to the mood of the moment: to press on to a new destination that lies over the horizon, visit the local market or just ramble ashore, swim and enjoy a barbeque on a quiet beach.

Sailing Provident is done the traditional way and does require a team effort.  As with all Classic Sailing vessels, there are no winches, only blocks and tackles to hoist sails. Technique is more important than strength, so everyone can join in and learn to sail this magnificient vessel.  Alternatively, you can tuck yourself up in a corner with a good book.  How much or how little you do is entirely up to you.  The ships wheel is a great vantage point to soak up views of the wooden decks and savour helming 85 tons of British working history, with the tan sails powering you along the coast.

Favourite Cruising Grounds for Provident

Provident's home port is Brixham, and many of her voyages start and finish from this colourful fishing port.  Brixham is now home to a growing fleet of restored Brixham Trawlers, and whilst it will never resemble the size of its fishing fleet from the heydays of the 19th and early 20th Century, it is still an amazing sight to sail in company with other big sailing trawlers in Torbay and along the South Devon Coast. The big Brixham Trawlers Leader, Vigilance, Pilgrim and Provident have now been joined by 'Torbay Lass' (also known as Kenya Jacaranda) and the town eagerly awaits her restoration to full sailing glory again. The modern fishing fleet hops in and out the port past the wharf where the historic trawlers pick up their charter crews and no visitor to Brixham is able to escape the proud fishing tradition that hangs on tenaciously in this South Devon port.

West Country, Channel Isles and Brittany

Provident mainly offers 6 day voyages and from Brixham she can cover some impressive distances in a week. Her regular sailing grounds include the whole coast of South Devon and Cornwall, past iconic headlands like Berry Head, Start Point, Prawle and Bolt Tail. Drowned river valleys hide historic ports like Datmouth, Newton Ferrers, Fowey and Falmouth.  Only a 60 mile reach (if you are lucky to get the prevailing SW winds) accross channel from Brixham is the Channel Islands. From Guernsey, Sark, Alderney or Jersey you can explore North Brittany or Normandy. The Granite Rose Coast offers gems like the Isle de Brehat and winding French rivers take deep draft vessels inland to Lezardrieux or Tregiuer.

Isles of Scilly and Scotland

Provident and her sister ship Leader generally take it in turns to offer a summer sailing ground, further afield.  One of the Brixham Trawlers will make summer forays westwards offering island hopping weeks in the Isles of Scilly, or sometimes across the English Channel to Paimpol to for the Chant du Marine Festival.  For the Isles of Scilly the usual setting off point is Falmouth with a good 60-70 mile offshore passage past Wolf Rock and Lands End to reach this granite archipelago with white sand beaches and sub tropical vegetation.  The other Brixham Trawler will head North and up the Irish Sea to Scotland, Hebrides and Highlands.  In 2015 Provident is offering Scillies and France, whilst Leader goes North to Scotland and takes part in the 2015 Tall Ships Race from Belfast to Norway in peak summer.

If you want to read more about the Isles of Scilly or Scotland see our destinations pages and brochures.

Provident in Western Scotland - voyage descriptions, dates and prices

Provident and Leader togetherShort Breaks on a Brixham Trawler

If you want to experience living history, help keep our maritime skills alive, or simply enjoy a long weekend doing something completely different, then Provident offers a few short breaks each year.  These 3 day voyages include all accommodation on board for 3 nights, sailing instruction and great meals, freshly prepared by the ships cook. Why not buy a Provident Taster Voyage for a present for a friend or relative ?  If you sailed Provident many years ago, why not come back for a blast around the bay. Classic Sailing also sell gift vouchers and a whole range of short breaks to chose from on Brixham Trawlers, pilot cutters, luggers and historic tradinh ketches.

Providents laid back wheelCustomer Comments

“An amazing experience!  To also sail and live on a piece of history is fantastic.  The crew, skipper and fellow passengers made the trip truly memorable. – Roger 2013

Read more customer comments on Provident.

Photo Gallery

We create a photo gallery on each ship we offer so you can gain a flavour of life on board. We are always on the look out for people, landscape, food or sailing shots of the ships in action. If you have some exceptional photos of Provident we would love to profile them on our website or facebook so do email or post them on Classic Sailing facebook and we add your name as a credit.

Provident photo gallery


What is She like to Sail ?

Provident is rigged now just as she was when she fished under sail early last century. 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, mizzen topsail 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).

Core Collection - National Historic Ships Register


Provident is an original  Brixham Trawler built in Devon in 1924 and was one of the last sailing trawlers to be commissioned. She is one of the medium-sized 'Mule' class trawlers, with sleek lines compared to her bigger sister ship Leader. Provident is 70' long on deck, and 95' overall. She displaces about 85 tonnes in sailing trim. She has a beam of 18' and a draft of 8'6", which gives her a fantastic size interior for charter. Provident would have needed a lot of sail power to haul a deep sea trawl and she still carries an impressive 2750 square feet of sail in a glorious tan colour with a gaff ketch sail plan.  Provident was built on the River Dart at Sanders Yard in Galmpton as a replacement for an earlier Brixham Trawler with the same name that had been sunk by a German U Boat in the First World War. She fished out of Brixham for 10 years before being sold to a wealthy American and converted into a private yacht.

crew in action


Provident Vessel Details Download (PDF)537.24 KB

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