Brixham Trawler built 1924 by Sanders & Co, Galmpton

Ensign House flag


National Historic Fleet

Fishing Vessel


Brixham Trawler


Commercial Activity

Sail training





Web site








To be confirmed

18.03 feet (5.50 metres)

91.93 feet (28.04 metres)

9.18 feet (2.80 metres)



PROVIDENT was built by Saunders & Co at Galmpton on the River Dart in 1924. She was one of the last trawlers to be built for working under sail for the skipper William Pillar. She is of the medium size Mule class with a gaff-ketch rig. She fished for six years, with a crew of three men and a boy, and was then sold to an American, Captain R H Lagarde, who had her converted to a yacht design by Morgan Giles.

PROVIDENT had three more owners in the West Country, during which time she had an engine fitted. She spent the war years on the Helford River in Cornwall.

After the war she continued cruising, including Baltic ports and eventually arrived in Salcombe in 1951 to be put up for sale. She was purchased by John Bayley who, with PROVIDENT, founded the Island Cruising Club (ICC). She continued under Club ownership until 1971 when the newly formed Maritime Trust bought her and chartered her back to the ICC so that she could continue her sailing career.

In 1986 it became apparent that PROVIDENT's condition was such that she had to be taken out of commission. A major fundraising campaign was launched and the refit work commenced. She was launched and started sailing again at the end of 1990. The interior joinery was fitted and PROVIDENT was fully commissioned in May 1991.

In 1993, The Maritime Trust sold PROVIDENT to the Exeter based charity The Island Trust, who continued to charter her to the ICC on a similar basis.

Norman J Brouwer, International Register of Historic Ships (Edition 2, 1993) pub: Anthony Nelson
M and Small, E Langley, Lost Ships of the West Country (1988) pub: Stanford Maritime
Old Gaffer's Association Member's Handbook and Boat Archive (1993)
Dick Sullivan, Old Ships, Boats and Maritime Museums (1978) pub: Coracle Books
John Corin, Provident and the Story of the Brixham Smacks (1980) pub: Tops'l Books
Dan Houston, Classic Boat (Oct, 2005) The provenance of Provident
Daphne Morgan Barnicoat and Peter Rolt, Classic Boat (June, 2004, pp46) Brixham trawling for Funding
Richard Johnstone-Bryden, Maritime Heritage (Sept-Oct Volume 2.3, 1998, pp53-5) Salcombe's Historic Vessels
Ships Monthly (July, 1994, pp33) A-Z of Sail; Provident


  1. What is the vessel’s ability to demonstrate history in her physical fabric?

PROVIDENT was built in 1924 by Saunders & Co. on the R. Dart at Galmpton, Devon as one of the last such trawlers to be commissioned for working under sail. After 6 years working as a trawler she was converted by a new American owner into a yacht to a design by Morgan Giles. This fit-out and subsequent works, including having an engine fitted, reduced the amount of material surviving from her build. By 1986 PROVIDENT, by then owned by the Maritime Trust and chartered to the Island Cruising Club, was in very poor condition and was taken out of commission. A major refit in 1990/1991 which included internal joinery work resulted in a significant replacement and reworking of the vessel’s original structure and fittings. However the hull and rig  retain her original form alongside general arrangements reflecting her use as a sail training vessel.

2.      What are the vessel’s associational links for which there is no physical evidence?

PROVIDENT has several strands in her associational links. Built to replace an earlier vessel of the same name sunk by a U-boat in the First World War, apart from her time during the Second World War and subsequent cruising in the Baltic, she has sailed for almost all her life in and around Tor Bay and the Kingsbridge estuary, becoming a familiar sight to locals and visitors alike. John Bayley, who bought her in 1951 was a pioneer in developing sailing for young people, setting up the Island Cruising Club (ICC) in 1951, thereby placing Provident at the forefront of the sail training movement. She took part in the first Tall Ships race run by the Sail Training Association out of Torbay in 1956, and continued under ICC ownership until 1971, when the newly formed Maritime Trust acquired her in order to secure her future,  chartering her back to the ICC which continued to operate her. After the major 1991 refit, The Maritime Trust  sold PROVIDENT in 1993 to the Island Trust which in turn sold her in 2002  to another sail training body – Trinity Sailing – which remains her owner. Therefore the tradition of being a major force in the sail training movement continues to this day, informing how she is repaired, maintained and used, and playing a significant part in defining this vessel’s significance to the UK.

 3.       How does the vessel’s shape or form combine and contribute to her function?

Despite extensive rebuilding, PROVIDENT retains the hull form of the traditional sail-driven Brixham trawler designed both for speed, and to work well in the short seas of Torbay and the English Channel. PROVIDENT therefore incorporates a straight stem, slim deep hull, projecting counter stern and relatively generous side decks  reflecting her fishing pedigree. Her rig, originally designed to be handled by 3 men and a boy, is ideal for sail training as trainee crews have a multiplicity of tasks to be done as they learn the characteristics of this particular type of wind-driven trawler. An engine has been retained to meet modern training safety requirements. Down below, the fish hold and basic crew accommodation has been reconfigured to provide appropriate berths and facilities for trainees and professional crew.

4.      Status

 PROVIDENT is listed on the National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV) as being of national significance and  is one of 6 Brixham trawlers with National Historic Fleet (NHF)  status. The Fleet comprises some 200 vessels of outstanding national significance out  of a total of 1200 vessels registered on the NRHV.


Subsequent Developments

  1. June 2011 Visited by National Historic Ships on the 27th May. Vessl is in very good condition and continues to offer adventure and sail training to the public, including youth and disadvantaged groups. Source: Paul Brown on behalf of National Historic Ships
  2. March 2016 PROVIDENT is due to relaunch in May after being kept out of service for more than a year by her current owners, the Trinity Sailing Foundation. Thanks to fundraising efforts, the vessel has now been fitted with a new engine - Perkins 215c - as well as other restoration works carried out.  Source: Torquay Herald Express, March 2016

Key dates

  1. 1924 Built by Sanders & Co of Galmpton, Devon
  2. 1930 Bought by an American and converted to a yacht design by Morgan Giles 
  3. 1951 Bought by John Bayley who used the vessel to found the Island Sailing Club
  4. 1971 Bought by the Maritime Trust and chartered back to the Island Sailing Club to continue her sail training career
  5. 1986 Refit commenced after major fundraising campaign
  6. 1990 Re-launched for sailing use
  7. 2012 Participated in the Avenue of Sail at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations


  1. 1978 Old Ships, Boats and Maritime Museums - Sullivan, Dick
  2. 1980 Provident and the Story of the Brixham Smacks - Corin, John
  3. 1988 Lost Ships of the West Country - Langley, M and Small, E
  4. 1993 Old Gaffer's Association Member's Handbook and Boat Archive
  5. 1993 International Register of Historic Ships - Brouwer, Norman J
  6. 1994 Ships Monthly A-Z of Sail; Provident
  7. 1998 Maritime Heritage Salcombe's Historic Vessels
  8. 2004 Classic Boat Brixham trawling for Funding
  9. 2005 Classic Boat The provenance of Provident


  1. January 2013 A Sustainability Award of £1000 towards the costs of restoring the keel was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships UK
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact

hawse eye:

tubular metal fitting in the bows of a vessel through which the anchor cable passes