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Leader 1892 - ship history

Leader at Stirling and Son Boatbuilders Naval Dock

Brixham Sailing Trawler Leader - sail part of our maritime heritage

Leader is an impressive surviving example of the 'Big Sloops' that played their part in revolutionising the UK fishing industry in Victorian times. Launched in 1892, Leader was one of the largest Brixham sailing trawlers ever built at Gibbs Boatyard on the river Dart. In her fishing heyday there were nearly 3000 similar gaff rigged beam trawlers fishing the offshore waters of Northern Europe. Today only a handful survive, and it is not a coincidence that the Brixham sailing trawlers still sailing are mostly involved in adventure charter or youth sail training. They make great expedition ships with big wooden decks, a sailing rig that offers lively sailing in a strong breeze, and that feeling that the tons of oak that create the hulls of these powerful workhorses will look after you well in a blow.

Core Collection of UK Historic Ships Register

A core collection vessel on the UK Historic Ships Register, Leader has spent longer now as a charter vessel than her former fishing life, so she has undergone many restorations to keep her in tip top condition, and ranges far and wide from her home port of Brixham.

Sail Training Vessel - Perfect for tough Conditions

Leader has had a fascinating life since her launch in 1892. She fished in UK waters until 1907, when she was sold to new owners in Scandinavia. She remained there as a working vessel until the 1960's, when she became a sail training vessel under the flag of the Swedish Cruising Club.

In 1985, she was taken to the West coast of Scotland, where she was used for sailing charter holidays by Don Hind. She carved a niche under the name Lorne Leader, offering sailing with other themes like music, wildlife, art and hill walking.

Leader was once called Lorne Leader and based in Scotland
Leader was once called Lorne Leader and based in Scotland

The Brixham Years - Back to Her Home Port

 In 1996 she was brought home to South Devon, and operated from Dartmouth until 1999, when she returned to Brixham to become the flagship of a Devon based charity offering charter and youth group sailing. Earning a living in charter waters stretching from Deon to Brittany and North to Scotland and Norway, she has earnt her keep, and undergone several restorations over the years. New decks, and deck beams, re planking and new masts and sails ....all helping keeping Leader in her prime 


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