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Sail from Falmouth to Oban on a Celtic Adventure on the Brixham Trawler Leader

A perfect delivery trip under sail for those who enjoy extended periods of time at sea and the sense of adventure travelling from Cornwall to Scotland. Join the original Brixham trawler, Leader in Falmouth Cornwall and sail up the Celtic coast to Oban in Scotland with potential stops in the Isles of Scilly, Ireland, Isle of Man and enjoy the beauty of the Scottish Islands and the Hebrides. 

Sun, 12-05-2019 - 09:00
Sat, 18-05-2019 - 13:00
6 Nights
Voyage No.

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: Per Person. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 725 GBP. BOOK NOW

Leader - Cornwall to Scotland Milebuilder


Join an epic voyage onboard historic Brixham Trawler, Leader as she embarks on her West Coast Adventure. This is the perfect trip for those who enjoy extended time at sea, who may wish to build their sea miles or just see a wide-variety of locations in one fantastic voyage up the Celtic Coast. No sailing experience is necessary, as you will be given full training. However, this is a passage trip and will involve extended time at sea. This voyage is suitable for adventurous beginners or those with more experience who know they will enjoy spending several days at sea. 


  • Mile Building from Cornwall to Scotland
  • Six Days of Sailing North up the Irish Sea
  • Potential Stops in Northern and Southern Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man. 
  • Great Scenery and Famous Landmarks 
  • Step Back in Time for a Hand's on Adventure
  • Long Passages 
  • Great Experience for Coastal Navigation and Pilotage
Leader Under Sail


At the end of May, you will join Leader in the pretty Cornish harbour town of Falmouth before she spend six days sailing up to the west coast of Scotland. Once round Land’s End, there is the chance to visit the Isles of Scilly, north Cornwall, Wales, southern Ireland and south-west Scotland, before finishing in Oban. Leader’s highly-trained, friendly and professional crew are on hand to ensure maximum comfort and enjoyment, with a dedicated on board cook preparing your food to an excellent standard. She is a gaff-rigged former sailing trawler and can carry up to 12 guests.

Leader Crew on Deck

On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.

Lands End & Scilly

If the ship has made good time, you might pay a visit to the Isles of Scilly, but you need the right combination of wind and swell for a sheltered spot. Leader has explored the islands before so there are several options.

Anglesey & Llyn Peninsula

Anglesey is steeped in ancient history and you can sail under huge sea cliffs near Holyhead with world class climbing routes like 'dream of white horses' or anchor in remote bays like Porth Wenn with its ruined copper mine. There are awesome unspoilt beaches on the Llyn Peninsula if you run out of wind.

The coast of Pembrokeshire is a UK National Park, so if your route passes close you have more landmarks to admire. Milford Haven is like a huge fjord where outgoing and incoming oil tankers look strangely out of place in the vast natural harbour.

Isle of Man & Phosphorescence

The Isle of Man has alternatives to the capital Douglas like port St Mary or Peel with its Castle, and the waters around this surprisingly rugged island are rich in marine wildlife. In June, the Gulf Stream and warming seas bring plankton blooms and all the sealife that comes with it so it is a great offshore voyage to see Basking shark or dolphins.  On calm nights you may see phosphorescence in the bow wave or ship's wake. We have even seen the glowing trails of dolphins going under the ship at night.

Lure of the Guiness

Stangford Loch would be quite a tricky diversion with its narrow entrance. Bangor is a welcoming rest port, but Dublin or its fishing port of Howth would be the favourite.

Ireland to Oban

You may head straight through the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland, keeping well clear of the overfalls and white horses around the Mull of Kintyre or the strong tides around Rathlin Island. There are a few quirky places you could stop at this stage like Sanda Island with its pub for visiting summer yachtsmen and no permanent residents.

As you head around the Mull of Kintyre a whole host of wonderful islands are available for visiting. Islay and Jura both have whiskey distilleries and a walk on the Paps of Jura will stretch your sea legs. Further off is Oronsay and Colonsay with their remoter communities.

Finally heading up into the Firth of Lorne you have Mull to the north of you and numerous small islands on the south eastern side of the Firth.

Oban is a grand wee town and often described as the gateway to the Highlands.

Crew on the deck of Leader


There are some serious miles to cover, so at the end of each hop you can feel proud of your efforts when you step ashore to explore., The temperature out at sea is always colder than ashore and prepare for potentially rough conditions in the Irish Sea and high winds are also quite likely at this time of year. 


Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.


We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.


Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.


  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance
  • Hire of Waterproofs


  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Towels
  • Personal Travel Insurance



Leader in Scotland

Falmouth, Cornwall

Latest port updates

We now have several vessels that use Falmouth as a joining or leaving port. As every vessel is different, and we do not have our own pontoon there, all joining instructions are slightly different. Any changes will be communicated to you before your voyage start date. 

This is a list of the likely joining locations for each vessel, but sometimes they can also be at anchor. It is always best to call the ship's phone on the day. 

Custom House Quay next to the Chain Locker is the usual place for joining Grayhound, Irene and Eda Frandsen. 

Pendennis Marina behind the Maritime museum is the usual place for joining Agnes, Leader, Provident and Pilgrim. 

Port Pendennis is the small marina behind the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and the nearest rail station is 'Falmouth Town' (3 mins walk). The Maritime Museum has a big tower like a lighthouse so aim for that and at the entrance, turn right and walk down the side of the museum. The gate to the marina is behind the museum building.

Custom House Quay is a stone quay enclosing a small wet dock in the Centre of Falmouth Town. It is used for some of the foot ferries to St Mawes in the peak summer. Only 5 minutes walk from Falmouth Town Station if you head towards the town centre. Situated at the Maritime Museum end of the high street and has its own short stay car park between Trago Mills Store and the Chain Locker Pub if you are driving (see long term parking below) and want to drop your bags first. 

Falmouth Visitors Yacht Haven is about 100 yards beyond Custom House Quay but if walking from the rail station towards town it is best if you walk accross Custom House Quay short term car park  and nip through the alley tunnel through the Chain Locker Pub. The yacht haven is a small marina only yards from Falmouth main shopping street (Arwenack St),  tucked away down the bottom of Quay Street.

How to get here

By Road & Parking

The A30 is the best route into Cornwall for Falmouth.

There are short stay car parks at Custom House Quay for the Yacht Haven to drop your bags.

Likewise for Port Pendennis there is a short stay car park by the Maritime Museum event square.

Once you have dropped your bags you can normally find free parking within ten minutes walk of any harbour point in Falmouth by just parking in local residential streets.

Long stay parking

There is a small, private, car park owned by Port Pendennis Marina, off Tinners Walk (TR11 3YL). You can pay for a week, using change at the pay and display ticket machine, for £35 approx. (No credit card facility YOU MUST HAVE CHANGE)

There is a long stay car park with a daily fee of £3 or a weekly fee of £18 (pay and display machine so bring change) off Tinner Walk close to the Falmouth Docks entrance and the RNLI station.  This is a private car park owned by Port Pendennis Marina but you will still be expected to pay - even if the vessel is in the marina.  Please do not risk the free berth holders car park next to the tennis courts.  

Rail & transfers

Train to the Falmouth Town Station which is on the branch line from Truro (or next halt is Falmouth Docks if joining a vessel in the docks). Trains come into Cornwall to Truro from many parts of the UK.

Air & transfers

Newquay Airport (NQY) is about 40 miles away and about £55 taxi fare, or you could get a taxi to Truro for about £30 and jump on the train to Falmouth from there. 

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

The Chain Locker

The Chain Locker pub in Falmouth is right on the water's edge and a perfect place to stay for joining your vessel, no matter which pontoon.

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

Oban, Scotland

Latest port updates

For joining your vessel in Oban, the North Pier in the map shown below will be the best place to meet the crew. Your vessel will either be tied up alongside the wall, or out at anchor. Make sure you take a note of the ship's number found in your confirmation in case of any problems on the day. 

How to get here

Getting to Oban

By Train
ScotRail has trains for Oban that also leave from Buchanan Street Station.

By Road:

Head up the A82 from Glasgow and keep going all the way past Loch Lomond. When you get to Tyndrum turn to port (left) onto the A85 for Oban. Find the North Quay and then further into Town and near Tesco you will find secure parking at Oban Car Hire which does have to be paid for. Please call 01631 566476 for opening times and charges.

Other Parking Options:

Since 2018 there is now no long stay Council Parking or free car parking. Please let us know if you find anywhere that might be suitable for sailors on an Oban to Oban voyage

There are private secure car parks for a fee.

For larger vehicles like motor homes, the Visitor Centre suggests contacting the following companies for parking:

Stoddards Campsite - offers parking

Hazel Bank Motors (otherwise known as Oban Car Hire) - offers car parking

McQueen's Self Storage - offers car parking

By Coach

CityLink offer connections from Glasgow Buchanan Street train and Bus Station and Glasgow Airport.


Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Oban has been described as one of the most scenic travel destinations. The sheltered port of Oban (“little bay” in Gaelic) is surrounded by views of earth, sea and sky, which have enthralled artists, authors, composers, and poets for centuries.

Known as the gateway to Argyll and the Western Isles, Oban is the perfect origin for your own journey to discover the enchantment of the west coast of Scotland. Oban has always been known as the traveller’s rest. As a small town with a resident population of 8,500 this unofficial capital of the West Highlands often swells with large numbers of visitors.

Oban is renowned for its glorious gardens, its fabulous views, the ocean promenade, islands all around, ancient monuments and castles, and outdoor activities such as diving, hiking, fishing, bird-watching – even whale spotting - especially from pilot cutters and tall ships. Queen Victoria visited the town and gave it the royal seal of approval when she described it as "one of the finest spots we have seen".

There are lots of places to stay in Oban, The Official Oban Tourist Office has the best local directory.


If you are looking for a long weekend doing something completely different or keeping up your maritime skills, then original 1892 Brixham Trawler Leader offers a variety of voyages from one day to ten! This fabulous versatile ketch ensures a very stable boat with large decks and high bulwarks. With 12 fellow guest crew, a skipper, mate and fabulous cook you are promised a unique experience.



  • Length overall: 100ft (30.5m) 
  • Length on deck: 80ft (24.4m)


  • Year built: 1892
  • Vessel type/rig: Gaff Ketch 


  • Guest berths: 12
  • Crew berths: 5


The Experts view: What Leader does best 

Leader welcomes experienced and novice sailors who wish to sail a traditional ship.
Team Work!

Helps You Gain Confidence through Teamwork

Sailing Leader will fill your novice sailing boots with confidence as the Captain and crew welcome you on board for either a day sail or a longer voyage. Leader is 110 tons of British working history and you are encouraged to join as a team player and help hoist the sails by block and tackles, steer this mighty vessel and of course enjoy time relaxing on the spacious deck, or perhaps explore ashore after a busy day sailing. The sails and ropes are huge, and first impressions are 'how on earth at we going to hoist that mainsail.' Despite being a historic fishing boat in a working fishing port, the professional crew are not all hulking great fishermen types. Quite a few of the crew are women, including Leader's current skipper Emma. They are used to motivating youngsters, old salts and tiny sailors into hoisting 3150 square feet of canvas.....but perhaps not all at once. Feel your pride grow when you realise that whatever your strength, you are needed and a valuable part of the crew. The cooks freshly baked afternoon buns or cakes are legendary if you feel the need to replace the lost calories. 

Deep Sea Trawler - Ideal Expedition Ship

You will see several of our medium sized vessels described as good expedition ships. What we mean is they are self sufficient for at least a weeks adventuring without going near a marina or shop. They have big anchors and lots of chain for Norwegian fjords, Scottish lochs and the big tidal ranges in Brittany and the Channel Isles. It you want to explore wilderness areas with a small carbon footprint sailing ships like Leader are ideal. Leader visits the Highlands of Scotland most years and has made many trips to the Western Fjords of Norway. She often sails with a walking guide, musician or popular wildlife experts like Kenny Taylor.

Leader in Scotland

Takes Channel Crossings in her Stride

Based in Brixham, South Devon for much of the year, Leader is an old hand at crossing the Channel to Brittany or Normandy. It is only 70 miles to the Channel Isles too and the sailing track from here is often a beam or broad reach. With the prevailing SW or Westerly winds this is the fastest angle to the wind for sailing ships and a better starting off point that the Solent or Cornwall if you want to maximise your sailing and exploring time ashore in France.  The likely cruising speed is a reflection of waterline length so with a decent breeze or force 4 or above 80ft Leader can really eat up the miles with an incredibly stable deck compared with a typical charter yacht. She has incredible stability so you get a slight angle of heel and the high sides (bulwarks) make Leader feel like the authentic sailing ship that she is. You can stroll down the vast wooden decks in conditions where you would be on your hands and knees on a lighter yacht. Leader and her sister ship Provident have been taking charter crews to France for years, so the crews know many great anchorages in places like Sark, and the ship often winds its way up North Brittany rivers to favourite street markets and cafes in places like Treguier or Lezardrieux.

If it was a bit lumpy in the Channel and I wanted to reach the delights of Lezardrieux or Treguier and enjoy the crossing, I'd chose a Brixham Trawler every time" Julie P.

Brixham Trawler Leader offshore under full sail


What to Expect on Leader

Style of Sailing

Leader is rigged as she would have been when first built, as a gaff ketch to haul a fishing beam trawl. She is 80' long on deck, and 105' overall. She displaces about 110 tonnes in sailing trim. She has a beam of 19'6" and a draft of 10'. There is no cockpit like a yacht. Just a huge deck with high bulwarks. Leader is rigged now just as she was when she fished under sail, over 100 years ago. She has a 'Gaff Rig', indicating that the Main and Mizzen sails are hoisted using a 'gaff', a spar attached to their upper side. The Ketch rig (two masts) was used to divide up the sail area, making each sail easier to handle by a small crew. The large number of sails (up to eight) makes it easy to 'change gear' by hoisting or lowering sails as required, depending upon the strength of the wind.

The Ketch rig is very versatile; good in light winds, when extra sails can be set (such as flying jib and mizzen staysail), good in heavy winds (she can sail under mizzen and staysail alone) and good for manoeuvring (the mizzen can be used to help to balance and turn the boat).

At night there is no array of electronic displays. Helming Leader by an antique compass and following a star is a similar same experience as it was in 1890's when she was built. Leader was converted from huge tiller to wheel steering many years ago, but you can have a lot of fun with a ships wheel that takes 18 turns from hard to port from hard to starboard. 

professional crew on Brixham Trawler leader
Professional crew on Brixham Trawler Leader

Life on Board

Whichever voyage you have chosen to experience on Leader we can promise you that you will have an adventure under friendly and experienced crew plus a great chef! 

The skipper and crew are experienced at running both adult adventure charter and personal development voyages for young people, so they are very thorough with their safety briefings and seamanship training, with lots of hands on opportunities for you to immediately try your new skills. 

Leader's short breaks are an ideal introduction to yacht sailors or any newcomer to big boat sailing. Sailing trawlers like Leader are ideal teaching platforms in all weathers to learn how to handle ropes and blocks and tackles safely, understand a bit about navigation or just revell in helming a powerful sailing ship, with someone close to hand if you need help. 

Leader's staff to guest ratio is high so they are also a good option for total beginners who don't want to do a formal RYA course but are looking for adventure. You will be learning similar skills to a RYA course like steering to windward or on different 'points of sailing' and the crew can explain the theory behind it all if you want to know more, but the emphasis is totally practical i.e. actually getting the trawler to go in a reasonably straight line to the next anchorage, using the wind to full advantage.  How much you want to absorb is up to you, but the crew are always happy to answer questions and love to explain as you sail, or afterwards as a teaching session.

Hauling with blocks and tackles on Leader
Hauling with blocks and tackles on Leader

If you are already hooked on  sailing, or have maybe done a Competent Crew course and looking for your first offshore experience, then the voyages up to Scotland from the West Country have a host of exciting experiences, longer passages and night sailing. There is plenty of challenge for experienced sailors - watch keeping, understanding the lights of ships at night, helping with the pilotage and recording the ships progress in the ships log and on the chart. Leader was built for fishing in all weathers so she offers a much more stable platform than a yacht in strong winds and waves.

Leader in Scotland is typically more day sailing and a quiet anchorage for the night, somewhere beautiful. The deep sounds between the islands are full of wildlife and the Outer and Inner Hebrides offer quite a bit of flat water. The wind finds its way over and between the mountains so your rarely lack wind, but the islands cut off the Atlantic swell. 

Leader has a large inflatable ships boat with outboard for getting ashore.  Everybody helps hoist it back on deck.  The anchor has a hydraulic windlass so you can afford to put down lots of chain and anchor in interest places that would be impossible for a smaller yacht.

Leader carries a dedicated ships cook (as well as a skipper, mate and bosun) and you can buy bottles of wine on board, on charter voyages.  Three meals a day, BBQ's ashore you don't have to pack for, and possibly the smell of cake or bread baking are all the advantages on sailing on a ketch with 4 professional crew.

Apart from a team effort with washing up, domestic chores are generally done by the ships crew too, but you might like to help scrub the decks for exercise (good for the core muscles and keeps the deck seams tight)


Crew BBQ in the Scillies
Photo by Debbie Purser: Crew BBQ in the Scillies

Accommodation on Leader

Skipper Toni finds a better use for the chart table on Leader
Skipper Toni finds a better use for the chart table on Leader

Below Decks

Down below there is plenty of headroom and Leader has accommodation for twelve guests and five crew. There is a large saloon area, a galley with a large gas cooker, two heads and a generator that supplies a ring main with 240v electricity. Leader has a well equipped navigation station with a chart table big enough for teaching or in skipper Toni's mind - an perfect easel for painting.

The main companionway is relatively steep and takes you down to the Navigation area and the galley is on the opposite side. This is a wide vessel so you can see the saloon from here and its big enough for a 'dinner party' plus a few friends.

Beyond the saloon is a bulkhead (wall) so you can escape to your bunk early if you have had too much fresh air for the day! All the guest berths are all in the same communal area however, as Leader is so spacious down below decks the bunks are arranged similar to cabins with storage cupboards, two bulkheads and curtains creating a bit of privacy. Each bunk has its own reading light and a bunk curtain so you have another level of privacy.

There are two hot water showers with water heated by a water heater. Depending on your specific voyage there could be opportunities to go ashore for a shower. As Leader’s voyages are sometimes in remote areas of Scotland, Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly then your alternative shower might be wild sea swimming so bring your swim suit!

Safety, Communications and Navigation

Leader has modern navigation equipment including Radar, GPS and DSC VHF Radio. Most of the time she is UK certified for Sail training and commercial voyages up to 60 miles from a safe haven, but when she wants to go further afield like across the North Sea to Norway, she has a stability rating good enough for offshore voyaging and can easily increase her coding to category 1 and 150 miles from port.

Leader has lots of room down below decks.
Freshly cooked meals are enjoyed in the large saloon down below decks.
setting sail on leader

Leader was one of the largest of the Brixham sailing trawlers, a class known to fishermen as the ‘Big Sloops’. A gaff ketch with two masts, Leader was built in 1892 at W. A. Gibbs’ yard at Galmpton on the River Dart in Devon where she then fished in UK waters until 1907.

Built 1892  
length overall (sparred length) 100ft 30.5m
length on deck 80ft 24.4m
beam 19ft 5.9m
draught 10ft  
displacement 100  tons 110 tons
GRT   53.21 tonnes
Sail area 2390 sq ft 222 sq metres
Engine 160hp  


Swedish owners bought her and she operated on Sweden’s west coast until 1970, when she became a sail training vessel for the Swedish Cruising Club.

In 1985 she moved to the west coast of Scotland where, as ‘Lorne Leader’, she was used for sailing holidays and charter for ten years. In 1996 she was brought home to South Devon, and operated from Dartmouth until 1999, when she became part of the Trinity fleet, based in Brixham.

Since that time, Leader has undergone a programme of restoration culminating in a £250,000 project to replace her decks, bulwarks and stanchions. The ‘Leader Project’, which was completed in May 2012, was part funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £170,000 and the cheque was handed over the Trinity by the Eastender’s actor Larry Lamb.

Leader is rigged now just as she was when she fished under sail, over 100 years ago. She has a ‘Gaff Rig’, indicating that the Main and Mizzen sails are hoisted using a ‘gaff’, a spar attached to their upper side. The Ketch rig (two masts) was used to divide up the sail area, making each sail easier to handle by a small crew. The large number of sails (up to eight) makes it easy to ‘change gear’ by hoisting or lowering sails as required, depending upon the strength of the wind.

The Ketch rig is very versatile; good in light winds, when extra sails can be set (such as flying jib and mizzen staysail), good in heavy winds (she can sail under mizzen and staysail alone) and good for manoeuvring (the mizzen can be used to help to balance and turn the boat).

The current full time skipper of Leader: Mark Ehlen

Name: Mark Ehlen


What is your role? I’m the Skipper of Leader.


What are looking forward to most about the upcoming season? Getting back on board a classic sailing vessel. I have spent a few years on a wide variety of different vessels and it is a privilege to be invited into the Trinity fold and to sail a genuine historic vessel.


What’s your best piece of advice for someone who has never been sailing before? Arrive with an open mind and prepare to enjoy yourself.


When you’re not sailing, what else do you enjoy doing? Anything outdoors, particularly motorcycle touring. I like to learn about other cultures and traditions. Nature is a big draw for me.

Mark on Leader


Skipper – Emma

Emma was mate on Provident and Leader last year and is looking forward to flying the flag for female skippers as she takes command of Leader in 2018.

Emma has worked on tall ships and traditional sailing vessels for many years. The photo above is Emma working on Bark Europa on a Trans Atlantic heading for Brazil and Patagonia. She has driven zodiacs with guests amongst the ice in Antarctica, so she is well travelled and worked with all ages of guest crew.

The Skipper has overall responsibility for the vessel and crew at sea. They have a minimum of Yachtmaster Offshore commercial endorsement if not higher.  Leader’s Skipper is very much at home on board this beautiful traditional sailing vessel and have a strong track record in sail training and sailing instruction. The skipper will also have many other skills and qualities involved with working with a diverse group of clients and taking these vessels to sea.

To sail one of these traditional vessels the Skippers have to be a highly skilled and a passionate sailor and this is rewarded by the opportunity to become one of the few people who have the chance to manage one of these unique vessels.


Toni Knights has skippered most Brixham Sailing Trawlers including Leader
Toni Knights has skippered most Brixham Sailing Trawlers including Leader

Relief Skipper - Toni Knights

Mate -

The Mate is the second in command. They mainly run the deck when at sea making sure everyone is safe and delegating jobs to make sure the boat is sailed efficiently. They will hold a minimum of Coastal Yachtmaster with commercial endorsement and probably a keen ambition to become a skipper for a traditional wooden vessel.

Cook – Robin Maddex

The Cook will produce healthy nutritious meals three times a day with numerous delicious cakes and pastries in between. All the food is cooked fresh and is locally sourced and many delicious meals will be enjoyed after a great day under sail.


This is primarily a training role. They are trained on aspects such as the rigging, systems and engine, and will also be taught navigation and sail handling and be given the opportunity to practice and refine these skills. They will often start with us by learning the core sailing techniques and skills but by the end of the season they should have gained their RYA Watch Leader & Day Skipper certificates.

5th Hand

This position is made up of Deckhands, Bosun’s or Assistant Cooks. This is an ideal role for someone new to Trinity and allows then to settle in to the general sailing of the vessel and learn enough to be a useful hand around the boat without the pressure of a more senior role. This is the first step on the ladder to becoming part of the professional crew.


Current sailing grounds
The Hebrides is a familiar sailing ground for Leader. Adventure weeks & themed voyages with experts

Leader - Kit List

What to wear for sailing holidays

Kit List for Leader 


  • Duvet
  • Pillow
  • Sheets, pillow case
  • Lifejackets and harness line
  • Offshore waterproof jackets and trousers are available on request. Either enter your requirements on the booking form or call us on 01872 580022, or you can bring your own.

What is Not Included: 

  • Alcohol to have with meals when not sailing. (the ship generally has wine you can buy on board)

What to Bring

Please limit yourself to one soft bag or rucksack (no suitcases!) as there is limited storage pace on board. 

  • Hats for sun and cold weather.
  • At least two sets of warm clothes - layers e.g. tracksuit bottoms, shirts, fleece jacket, wool jumpers, thick socks, and neck scarf. It can get cold at
  • sea even in mid summer.
  • Swim suit, towel, and suntan lotion.
  • Flat shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes. Sailing boots or wellies as the sea can come over deck if rough.
  • (An alterative to boots in summer is to bring another pair of flat shoes with a good grip in case the first pair get wet).
  • All terrain type Sandals are great for dinghy trips ashore – but you do need shoes which protect your toes for sailing.
  • Camera, binoculars, sketchbook, a relaxing read.
  • Passport for all Voyages. (UK Customs Vessels can do spot checks anywhere around the coast, even if the ship is not going abroad. If you don't have a passport please contact us for advice)
  • (an EHIC Form from Post Office - Reciprocal Free Health Care in Europe)
  • Any medication, spare spectacles. Seasick tablets - check with your Doctor, which brand if you suffer from asthma or are on medication.
  • RYA Cruising Logbook for RYA Courses.
  • Musical instruments are always welcome. 



Leader - Reviews

Customers on Brixham Sailing Trawler Leader

What was the best bit?

Sailing the return leg to Brixham and the food was excellent. The photo of Emma and Katie with Provident alongside
epitomises the trip! Very friendly crew and we were blessed with ideal weather (apart from a shower in Dartmouth)" Ray H. 2018 21st April 1 night cruise out of Brixham. 

Leader and Provident
Ray H. Customer Feedback Photo

Spent 10 days aboard Leader and had a wonderful experience sailing Oban to Falmouth in August 2017. Sunsets, sun raisers, dolphins, seals, exhausting watchers, rough seas and into mill ponds and sun drenched islands. WOW. Gina T Aug 2017

Having decided to risk the notorious Easter weekend weather, my wife, son and self returned yesterday from three nights aboard Leader; her first cruise of the season. We’re still buzzing with the sheer joy of the whole experience.

As it turned out, the weather decided to pleasure us with some nice sailing wind and plenty of sunshine: so no complaints there. The skipper, Stan, was as cool and professional as only years of experience can forge, the crew were all likewise faultless. The Devon scenery was spectacular and the pubs we visited during our jaunts ashore in the evening were all that they should be. The food aboard, meanwhile, included freshly baked chocolate cup cakes on Easter Sunday, served on deck and under sail with piping hot tea and fresh coffee. As for Leader herself, it was both an honour and privilege to sweat and tail her sheets and halyards, to take her helm and feel her breath, to berth aboard while riding at anchor and to sit at her copious dinning table surrounded by lovely company after long days filled with pleasant adventure.

If looking to find fault however, the aroma below decks, of wood and tar and history, might not be to everyone’s taste. As for myself, I miss it already. Carl G. April 2017

Just had a wonderful Easter trip aboard Leader sailing around Devon. A very big thanks to Sam and the rest of the crew - your enthusiasm and passion was fantastic and made the trip that much more enjoyable. A big credit to all at Trinity Sailing for preserving the fleet and allowing us the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful old girl!"  Andrew P. 5 star facebook review April 2017


As long as the voyage is not about to start, Classic Sailing can reserve your place for 7 days without payment or financial commitment, whilst you talk to your boss, find a home to look after your dog, or check flight prices.

All Classic Sailing need from you is a completed booking form to start the process: We check availability, approve your booking form, and provisionally reserve a berth.  You place is confirmed and booking terms apply, only when you have paid the deposit. We strongly recommend you do not purchase flights or travel tickets until your voyage is fully confirmed.

Solo Sailors and Solo Occupancy

The majority of our sailors sail on their own. The boats will always ensure that solo sailors sharing the same cabin are the same sex. Sole occupancy is available on some vessels which will have an extra % charge which varies by vessel.

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Why book with Classic Sailing?

The call of the sea

Destinations for sailors & explorers

Over 300 voyages a year

11, 051 customers introduced to

traditional boats and tall ships.

Tell us your sailing dreams


Office Team of 4 Skippers

6 Times Around the World between Us

Selling Holidays for 22 Years

3 Dogs to make us laugh

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