Torbay Lass

Brixham Trawler built 1923 by Jackman, R & Sons, Brixham

Ensign House flag

95

National Historic Fleet


Fishing Vessel

Trawler


Brixham Trawler

Maldon


Ongoing conservation

Restoration


No

No


04/02/1996

20/01/2015



Gallery


Propulsion

Sail

Twin diesel


None

None


Dimensions

To be confirmed

18.59 feet (5.67 metres)


76.95 feet (23.47 metres)

8.98 feet (2.74 metres)


31.00


History

Torbay Lass was built in Brixham in 1923 by R. Jackman & Sons for Alfred Lovis a well-known Brixham fisherman. She is of special significance as she was the last of many hundreds of Brixham sailing trawlers built from the late 19th century onwards. In view of this symbolic significance, she holds the present status of being one of some 200 vessels of all types and functions listed in the National Historic Fleet.

Her construction marks the beginning of the end of fishing under sail from Brixham and her configuration was traditional and basic. She had no engine, but did have a coal-fired steam boiler to power the hauling winch for the nets (a feature common to sailing fishing vessels from around the coasts of the UK from the early 20th century). There was no deck house, with the crew of four being accommodated in the aft sail lockers with very basic provision for sleeping and eating.

By 1938 Torbay Lass’s fishing days were over. However, records show that she had a distinguished career and was a notably good sailing vessel, being involved in 1935 in rescuing the disabled sailing collier Welcome by towing her under sail away from Pendeen Head back to Newlyn. In 1936 Torbay Lass was awarded the King George V Cup for winning the Brixham Trawler Race in that year, thereby demonstrating her capabilities and turn of speed.

Under new ownership in 1939 and having undergone a refit as a pleasure yacht which included the installation of 2 engines, it would appear that Torbay Lass served out the war years in Lowestoft as anti-seaplane cover and accommodation. In June 1940 Alfred Lovis won the Distinguished Service Cross at Dunkirk where he was skipper of Paxton. In 1944 it was recorded by Lady Genesta Hamilton (who subsequently bought her in 1945) that Torbay Lass was perfect for private use, with a large aft saloon, four big double berth cabins, two lavatories, a roomy fo’c’s’le and a deck house. Lady Hamilton renamed her Kenya Jacaranda in view of her intended new home on the East African seaboard, but it is not clear that she ever made it to the Indian Ocean.

In 1951 “KJ” as she came to be affectionately known, began her life as a sea cadet training vessel, with some 3,500 cadets experiencing life on board up to 1980, when a more formalised body – Mayflower Sail Training Society was set up. In the same year KJ was subject to a further extensive refit, since when up until 2005/6 she carried a further 5000 youngsters on sea voyages developing both sailing and social skills. She therefore has had a significant role in engaging young people in the sailing traditions of the United Kingdom for over half a century.

Source: various sources edited by Martyn Heighton, Director, NHS-UK.

Debretts Register of Yachts (1982) pub: Debretts
Old Gaffer's Association Member's Handbook and Boat Archive (1993)
Ships Open Day Souvenir Programme; (2 July, 1995) pub: East Kent Maritime Trust
Classic Boat (Nov, 2001) Trawler Kenya Jacaranda stuck in port at Tilbury
Classic Boat (May, 2010) Kenya Jacaranda rises again
Maurice Weaver, Daily Telegraph (24 June, 1996, pp20) Sailing charity hits cash storm

Previous names

  1. 1923 – 1939Torbay Lass
  2. Kenya Jacaranda

Key dates

  1. 1923 Built by R. Jackman of Brixham as the fishing vessel TORBAY LASS
  2. 1949 Returned to the UK and based on the Thames
  3. 1950 Bought by the Mayflower Sail Training Society and used as a sail training ship
  4. 1980 Major refit carried out
  5. 2007 Awarded a Conference & Training Bursary of £401 for courses on sail and rigging maintenance
  6. 2015 Ownership has transferred to the Heritage Marine Foundation. The vessel has been moved from Tilbury to Downs Road Boatyard in Maldon where she is laid up in a mud berth awaiting restoration and rebuild. She will be renamed Torbay Lass. Source: The Heritage Marine Foundation

Bibliography

    Torbay Lass was built in Brixham in 1923 by R. Jackman & Sons for Alfred Lovis a well-known Brixham fisherman. She is of special significance as she was the last of many hundreds of Brixham sailing trawlers built from the late 19th century onwards. In view of this symbolic significance, she holds the present status of being one of some 200 vessels of all types and functions listed in the National Historic Fleet.

    Her construction marks the beginning of the end of fishing under sail from Brixham and her configuration was traditional and basic. She had no engine, but did have a coal-fired steam boiler to power the hauling winch for the nets (a feature common to sailing fishing vessels from around the coasts of the UK from the early 20th century). There was no deck house, with the crew of four being accommodated in the aft sail lockers with very basic provision for sleeping and eating.

    By 1938 Torbay Lass’s fishing days were over. However, records show that she had a distinguished career and was a notably good sailing vessel, being involved in 1935 in rescuing the disabled sailing collier Welcome by towing her under sail away from Pendeen Head back to Newlyn. In 1936 Torbay Lass was awarded the King George V Cup for winning the Brixham Trawler Race in that year, thereby demonstrating her capabilities and turn of speed.

    Under new ownership in 1939 and having undergone a refit as a pleasure yacht which included the installation of 2 engines, it would appear that Torbay Lass served out the war years in Lowestoft as anti-seaplane cover and accommodation. In June 1940 Alfred Lovis won the Distinguished Service Cross at Dunkirk where he was skipper of Paxton. In 1944 it was recorded by Lady Genesta Hamilton (who subsequently bought her in 1945) that Torbay Lass was perfect for private use, with a large aft saloon, four big double berth cabins, two lavatories, a roomy fo’c’s’le and a deck house. Lady Hamilton renamed her Kenya Jacaranda in view of her intended new home on the East African seaboard, but it is not clear that she ever made it to the Indian Ocean.

    In 1951 “KJ” as she came to be affectionately known, began her life as a sea cadet training vessel, with some 3,500 cadets experiencing life on board up to 1980, when a more formalised body – Mayflower Sail Training Society was set up. In the same year KJ was subject to a further extensive refit, since when up until 2005/6 she carried a further 5000 youngsters on sea voyages developing both sailing and social skills. She therefore has had a significant role in engaging young people in the sailing traditions of the United Kingdom for over half a century.

    Source: various sources edited by Martyn Heighton, Director, NHS-UK.

    Debretts Register of Yachts (1982) pub: Debretts
    Old Gaffer's Association Member's Handbook and Boat Archive (1993)
    Ships Open Day Souvenir Programme; (2 July, 1995) pub: East Kent Maritime Trust
    Classic Boat (Nov, 2001) Trawler Kenya Jacaranda stuck in port at Tilbury
    Classic Boat (May, 2010) Kenya Jacaranda rises again
    Maurice Weaver, Daily Telegraph (24 June, 1996, pp20) Sailing charity hits cash storm

Grants

  1. 2003-2004 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £50,000 for restoration work
  2. January 2013 A Sustainability Award of £1500 towards the cost of a survey was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships UK.
  3. September 2013 Awarded Round 1 pass from Heritage Lottery Fund, providing funds with which to carry out temporary repairs to the vessel and draft the detailed application for the major grant. Source: Heritage Lotttery Fund, Sep 13
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

parrel:

a rope, chain or iron collar which attaches the yard to the mast but which allows vertical movement