Northern Ireland sailing charity Silvery Light Sailing is awarded £244,975 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a boat restoration workshop and Tall Ship sailing project.

Northern Ireland Sailing Charity, Silvery Light Sailing, has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £244,975 for the acquisition of the 1892 built Heritage Tall Ship Leader and a further expansion of their traditional boat building skills workshop and community sailing programmes.  The 130 year old Brixham trawler will sail into Newry in the coming weeks.

The project opens a new chapter in the long history of Leader, a survivor of the fleets of sailing fishing boats that once fished in the Irish Sea.  The heritage vessel is again destined to become a familiar sight in Northern Ireland’s ports providing a unique sailing experience for local youth and community groups, public open days and festivals.  Maintained and crewed by volunteers, the project will help preserve an important link to the area’s rich maritime and fishing past.

Gerry Brennan, Chair of Silvery Light Sailing said: “We are a maritime charity providing an annual programme of residential voyages that give youth and community groups from across Northern Ireland an opportunity to experience and benefit from a taste of life at sea on a traditional sailing ship.  For many it can be a life changing, challenging experience, discovering new strengths and self-confidence whilst making lasting friendships.”.

Ten community and youth groups from across Northern Ireland will follow a programme of heritage workshop skills and a five day residential voyage.  They will form the crew sailing the ship using the power of the wind, learning about the traditions of the sea, how to cook, clean, maintain  and care for both themselves and the heritage vessel.

Leader's new role builds on her history as a fishing trawler.  Uniquely during each voyage, crews will undertake sea sampling experiments using mini trawling methods to determine the level of micro plastic pollution around the coastline.

Through community workshops, Silvery Light Sailing practice traditional skills and methods for the maintenance of Tall Ships like Leader and the restoration of several smaller heritage boats which have a local connection.  This new National Lottery funded project has not only secured an important part of Northern Ireland’s maritime heritage but allows for the expansion of workshop activities and the opportunity to bring in more volunteers.

For further information on available opportunities to volunteer as a crew member or to learn about boat restoration, visit or email
Follow @SilveryLight on social media for news of future public events and opportunities to get on board Leader.  

Leader is expected to arrive in Newry around the 29th March 2022. 

Source: Press release



Leader Region Northern Ireland