Brixham Heritage Fleet
Devon TQ5 9BP
In the 1890s Brixham had about 300 individually owned fishing trawlers and it was known as the ‘Mother of Deep Sea Fishing. In the early days, the fleet was under sail and the design of Brixham's Sailing Trawlers was admired throughout Europe. The distinctive red-sailed trawlers helped establish the great fishing industries of Hull, Grimsby and Lowestoft.
Red ochre mined in Brixham was painted on the canvas to protect it from sea water. This process was carried on in the barking yards. The ochre was boiled in great cauldrons together with tar, tallow and oak bark. The hot mixture was painted on the sails which were then hung up to dry.
This same ochre was used to make a very special paint. This was invented in Brixham in about 1845 and was the first substance in the world that would stop cast iron from rusting.
Red Sails in the Sunset
The song ‘Red Sails in the Sunset’ is purported to have been written aboard the Brixham sailing trawler Torbay Lass. This is disputed but it is quite possible that the song does refer to sailing trawlers with their red sails returning to port at sunset. ‘Torbay Lasses’ was a generic name given to trawlers from Brixham.
The trawlers were improved again, being powered by a steam driven engine and latterly, diesel. Fortunately, some of the old sailing trawlers have been restored as a heritage fleet based in Brixham.
During the summer they are often moored at the Town Pontoon on the eastern side of the harbour.
Several companies run sail training programmes, holidays and cruises on these beautiful old boats. To see what is available click on the following links:
Trinity Sailing weblink External Link
Vigilance of Brixham weblink External Link
For Visitors who wish to see these unique vessels in friendly competition go to:
Brixham Heritage Sailing weblink External Link
An interesting project in Brixham is the restoration of 'Pilgram' sailing trawler
Pilgram weblink External Link
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here: External Link
Google Maps - Brixham Heritage Fleet