Pilgrim BM45 Restoration Project

(Last Updated On: February 13, 2014)

Brixham sailing trawler PILGRIM was built in 1895, by J W & A Uphams, one of Brixham’s most famous yards.  PILGRIM was one of six similar vessels built at Uphams during that year. Brixham; an extremely busy Port at this time, with over 300 similar red sailed, wood built vessels: played a huge part in the development of trawling which places both Port and these famous trawlers at the pinnacle of Britain’s maritime heritage.

Pilgrim in Sweden 1970’s, Brixham Sailing Trawler, History of Brixham Sailing Trawler, Historic vessel Pilgrim
Pilgrim in Sweden 1970′s
Costing just under £640 to build,  she was owned by Silas John Pine, the youngest Trawler owner at the time and trawled out of Brixham until 1912.  Then PILGRIM was sold to Lowestoft and again onto Sweden where demand for Brixham sailing trawlers was high. She was sold several times in Sweden being used as a fishing boat, cargo vessel, private yacht and sail training vessel. During World War 2 her sails were to prove invaluable as fuel became scarce and many stories abound about PILGRIM, mostly passed down by word of mouth, include that she may have participated in gun running and been shot at by the enemy, she certainly had the Swedish flag painted on her side to show she was “neutral”. Bought and sold several times in Scandinavia until, in 1999, she was re-discovered in Sweden, a shadow of her former self, in poor condition by Bill Wakeham.

Pilgrim, Brixham Trawler, Traditional Brixham Fishing Trawler, Fishing, Trawler, gaff rigged ketch, red sails
Pilgrim Sailing in Torbay prior to Refit
Pilgrim Preservation Project Ltd (PPPL), a group of like-minded people, led at the time by retired Brixham fisherman, Bill and with the agreement of previous owner Johan Skibdahl, returned PILGRIM to Brixham.  With a shortened stern and only a  mizzen mast she was nonetheless unmistakably a “Brixham Trawler”. PILGRIM soon attracted local interest and work began to get her into a fit shape to sail.

The work proved to be more than could be achieved without major investment, so changes were made to the constitution of PPPL to clarify it’s “not for profit” status and a charitable Trust,  Pilgrim BM45 Trust Ltd, was also formed to work alongside PPPL to help raise funds.  A major Heritage Lottery Fund grant was received in 2008 and restoration is now in progress.

PILGRIM is very rare, there being only about four similar vessels in existence that were built and rigged in Brixham and trawled as part of that impressive fleet of the 19th century.

Please vote to support Brixham trawler ‘Pilgrim BM4’ before Feb. 16th. It won’t take a minute to support this wonderful LOCAL project :



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