Tag: brixham

Pilgrim is charity owned and operated and we rely on volunteers to sail the vessel and support our professional Skipper and Mate. We are now recruiting volunteer sailing crew for the 2019 season.

Pilgrim crew
Crew raising sails on Pilgrim of Brixham BM45

Ideally our volunteers have some sailing experience but it is not essential. We provide training for suitable candidates. Candidates for volunteer crew need to be able to satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Be physically fit
  2. Be willing to attend training sessions and assessment sailings on weekdays and weekends in March and April
  3. Be able to commit to scheduling at least two long weekends and two further separate weeks of crewing between April and October
  4. Be willing to take on other crewing activities including vessel maintenance tasks, helping to serve meals, washing up, housekeeping and cleaning duties
  5. Be 18 years of age or over. No upper limit for those who are really fit and active. Many of our crew volunteers are energetic retirees with a sense of adventure!

Pilgrim crew for the King George V Perpetual Cup 2018

In return we provide:

  1. Sailing tuition and experience
  2. All meals during voyages
  3. Accommodation in our communal crew cabin
  4. An opportunity to sail the stunning coats of Devon and Cornwall and the chance to go to the Channel islands, Brittany and out to the Isles of Scilly..
  5. Good company and lots of fresh air
  6. The satisfaction that you are helping to keep a 124 year old heritage sailing trawler in commission for the benefit of the community today and for generations to come

Scilly Isles Sailing Holiday
Pilgrim crew enjoying their Scilly trip!

Pilgrim is the oldest surviving sailing trawler that was built and rigged in Brixham and is a member of the National Historic Fleet.

Applicants need to complete our online registration form here:

http://bit.ly/PilgrimCrewApplication

If you would prefer an informal discussion first please mailto:mailbox@pilgrimofbrixham.org .uk and provide contact details.

The closing date for applications is 28th February 2019.

Sailing trawlers, like Pilgrim typically carried a crew of four or five. There was a skipper, a mate, an apprentice and a boy or ‘fisher lad’. Sometimes there was a third hand as well. In the mid-Victorian period the boy could be as young as ten but towards the end of the nineteenth century he was more likely to be twelve or thirteen. Going to sea at that age meant “Growing Up Fast!”

Pilgrim’s skipper, Silas Pine, although brought up in Brixham, is reported as having gone to sea on the East Coast at the age of nine! Boys often came from workhouses up country or from the local orphanage, Grenville House. Others came from Brixham fishing families, although it was more common for them to start as apprentices at about the age of fourteen as had been the case with Silas Pine’s younger brother Bertie.

The boy had to cook for the whole crew and keep the cabin and kettle and utensils clean. He was expected to keep hot tea on the stove in winter and water in the summer months. That was only the start of it though….boys had to keep the tools, fenders and other boat gear tidied away. They had to help make and mend nets and were responsible for taking the helm when the trawl was being shot. Later, as the warp was winched in, the boy had to be below decks to coil, or flake, the warp as it came in. It was six or seven inches in diameter and up to nine hundred feet long. In rough weather it could take two or three hours to haul it in and all that time the boy had to coil the wet, heavy warp below decks in a pitching boat often on a rough sea. Together with the deck hand or apprentice the boy would also see to the trimming and placement of lamps and also deal with flares and the foghorn. Finally, the boy was responsible for clearing the deck of all fish scales and the fish ‘brash’ brought up in the trawl.

Boys and apprentices were not paid as such and just got their keep. Some were given ‘stocker money’ where they were allowed to keep the proceeds of the sale of the female crabs, oysters and squids caught in the trawl up to a maximum of two shillings and sixpence. The boy was often limited to one shilling and sixpence.

In this day and age, it’s difficult to conceive of boys starting at such a young age. We recently had a group of school children aged ten and eleven on board and they were stunned to imagine they might have been going to sea on Pilgrim as cook!

References:

Grenville House, Brixham built in 1863 and founded by the ‘British Seaman’s Boys’ Home’ charity as an orphanage

Sailing Trawlers  –  Edgar J March M.S. N.R. 1953

BM45 Pilgrim  –  Bridget Cusack 2013