A bright Spring day in Brixham marked the transition from restoration to operations for ‘Pilgrim’ BM45 one of the last remaining Brixham trawlers. Built in 1895 in Uphams Yard in Brixham, Pilgrim cost less than £640 to build, which today has translated into a £1.3 million refit.

After launch in 1895 she worked in Brixham for owner Silas Pine until being sold in 1912, eventually ending up in Scandinavia where she spent the next 80 years working as a fishing boat, cargo carrier and training vessel.

She was discovered in 1999 by retired Brixham fisherman Bill Wakeham and brought back to England where the restoration started, first to Plymouth in 2004 and then following the award of several grants for restoration including one from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to Butler & Co in Dartmouth who were contracted to carry out the hull restoration. Aided by many volunteers restoration continued and in 2011 she returned to Brixham for completion of deck, masts, rigging and internal works.

The aim of the restoration has been to return her to near original external appearance and preserve her as a working example of Brixham’s Maritime Heritage for both enjoyment and education. Below decks she is well equipped with state of the art systems to ensure full enjoyment including innovative power systems to allow ‘silent running’ while still allowing the use of modern essentials.

An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future programme has been submitted that could see some 30 apprentices from South Devon College work with Pilgrim to provide training in heritage skills over a five year period.

Pilgrim will be MCA Category 2 coded in the next couple of weeks and then starts work with a series of cruises booked throughout the 2013 season including an appearance at Dartmouth’s Try A Boat Free on Sunday 26th May.

To find out more about this unique project and vessel visit Pilgrim of Brixham or email info@pilgrimofbrixham.co.uk or email info@pilgrimofbrixham.co.uk

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