Charter sailing
Charter sailing

Vigilance of Brixham

Heritage and Preservation

Brief History

The restored sailing trawler Vigilance BM76 is a piece of living Brixham history. Built in Brixham in 1926, she worked with the local fishing fleet before seeing war service as a barrage balloon mooring vessel. Since then Vigilance has been used as a gentleman's yacht, film vessel, charter boat and adventure training craft in France, the Faeroe Islands, Ireland and the Isle of Man. She has now returned to her home port and is proudly owned, maintained and sailed by Brixham people. An excellent article on her history was printed in the September 1999 issue of Classic Boat magazine. There is also an excellent booklet "History of Vigilance" by marine historian Janet Cusack.


OWNERSHIP. Vigilance is owned by The Vigilance of Brixham Preservation Company Ltd., a company dedicated to the preservation and use of the last Brixham sailing trawler built. The shareholders are mainly local people with a love of historic sailing vessels. The company runs with charitable aims and objectives. Shareholders give their time voluntarily.

OBJECTIVES. The company aims to keep Vigilance based in Brixham, Devon, England, and to use her for the benefit of the people of Brixham. It is hoped that as many Brixham residents and visitors as possible will visit her and enjoy the unique experience of a voyage on this classic sailing boat. The owners actively encourage local schools and youth organisations to visit her as a living museum. In summer months Vigilance is frequently moored on a public access pontoon on the Southern side of Brixham harbour. If anyone is on board, please ask to be shown around.

RESTORATION & MODERNISATION. Vigilance has recently been refitted, restored and sympathetically modernised. The differing requirements of modernisation and restoration have been satisfied by providing comfort below decks whilst preserving the exterior looks and sailing qualities of this historic vessel. She is certified for commercial charter sailing. All safety and emergency equipment are to the latest standards. Her sails are progressively being replaced with sails of the original colour. Modern radar, GPS, echo sounder and VHF radio equipment is fitted. All cabins have been refurbished with comfortable bunks. There are three heads (marine toilets) each with wash basin with hot and cold running water.


MAINTENANCE. The owners intend to keep Vigilance in a seaworthy and shipshape condition, sailing as often as possible. The costs to date have been borne by the philanthropic owners. Visitor half day sailings and a limited number of charters are carried out each year to help with the substantial maintenance costs.

In winter 2003/4, a new engine was fitted.
In winter 2004/5, work included fitting a new mainmast, upgrading the electrical systems, installing an EPIRB, fitting new heads, renewing the anchor chain, a total rigging overhaul and replacing a large section of the aft-deck and supporting timbers.
In winter 2005/6, both bowsprit and mizzen mast were refurbished, the mizzen gaff was renewed, battery capacity was increased, new deck lights were fitted and the saloon stove renewed. In addition we purchased and felled a tree that is now being seasoned before eventually becoming a new mizzen mast.
In winter 2006/7, work included replacing the water tanks and associated pumps, renewing the main boom, refurbishing the forward cabins and moving the sail storage, fitting an inverter, fitting a chart plotter, replacing a faulty battery charger, overhauling the rigging.
In winter 2007/8, work included replacing some hull and deck planking, re-caulking much of the hull and deck, removal of gribble in the stern post and rudder and overhaul of some more of the rigging.
In winter 2008/9, work included replacing the stem and apron and various side planking and some round the stern.
In winter 2009/10, work included replacing overhauling the main heads and re-painting most of the accomodation.
In winter 2010/11, work included replacing the mizzen mast, renewal of the standing rigging for the main mast.
In winter 2011/12, work included an upgrade to the navigation system including the addition of AIS and refurbishment of the small jib and the staysail the staysail.
In winter 2012/13, work planned includes work on the rudder, reefing provision, and the usual hull cleaning and antifouling.