Tag: Dartmouth

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!

Ecclesiastical volunteer Visit
Pilgrim volunteers on deck with visitors Ellie & Emma

We don’t usually have visitors on board while volunteers undertake our winter refit work in Dartmouth. Typically, we’re in boiler suits and often doing all sorts of dirty jobs! However, today we were delighted to welcome Ellie and Emma from Ecclesiastical Insurance. They travelled down from Gloucester as part of a project they are working on with the Maritime Heritage Trust. They are investigating the roles played by volunteers on heritage vessels like Pilgrim and wanted to find out how we recruit new volunteers and organise our activities. A key part of their project is to explore how we can all better engage with young people to broaden our volunteer base and to secure the commitment of future generations to look after these wonderful and important heritage vessels.
   

Pilgrim had a delightful encounter during the first weekend in June. On arrival in Dartmouth she was faced with ML1387 on the Town Pontoon.

Although it may seem unlikely both vessels have quite a bit in common. They are both historic wooden vessels proud to feature in the National Historic Fleet. They have also both benefitted from Heritage Lottery Funding to enable them to have major restorations. Both are now in superb condition and are operated by charities to  ensure their long term operation and preservation for public benefit.

Medusa had Pilgrim in her sights
Pilgrim entering Dartmouth Harbour with Medusa on the Town Pontoon

ML1387, HMS Medusa, is a Harbour Defence Motor Launch built in Poole in 1943, one of 480 vessels designed to provide an offshore anti-submarine screen for harbours. Entirely built of wood, and powered by diesel engines, they were not fast but had huge endurance. The original concept was for them to be transported to where they were needed as deck cargo but soon they were making the passages themselves from the UK to the Mediterranean, West Indies, South Africa and the Far East.

The Medusa Trust, a registered charity, exists to preserve HMS Medusa, ML1387, for future generations. Their mission is to keep Medusa operational and at sea for as long as possible as a tribute to the veterans, for education of the public and as an inspiration for the young.

There is a further local connection as Medusa participated in Operation Fabius on nearby Slapton Sands in early May 1944. This was a follow up exercise to the ill-fated Operation Tiger the previous month. The objective was to provide realistic practice D-Day landings including a similar length sea passage for troops based in Dorset.

So, on a gorgeous sunny day 75 years after her launch, Medusa finds kindred spirits with Pilgrim. She’s a bit longer in the tooth at 123 years young and on her restoration in 2009 they removed bullets from her planks and frames from incidents in her distant past.

Medusa made passage onwards to Alderney and Cherbourg. Pilgrim returned home to Brixham prior to making passage to Falmouth and onto the Scillies and Brittany for her summer adventures.

For further details of Medusa, her history, war service and restoration visit: www.hmsmedusa.org.uk