The Boat - Golden Vanity
In August 2020 (of all years!) we, First Class Sailing, purchased Golden Vanity with a view to using the boat for sail training and cruising. The boat had been for sale for a while and was in need of a good home.
Golden Vanity was built in 1908. At the time of writing that makes her 113 years old. She is a Mumble Bee class of Brixham Sailing Trawler. She is from an era of working sail that no longer exists. There are a handful of other Brixham Sailing Trawlers left but only one other Mumble Bee.
She was built on the River Dart in Devon for a renowned marine artist, Arthur Briscoe, who used the boat as a way to get out amongst the fishing fleets to paint and record some of the last days of working sail. He also sailed the boat regularly with close friends one of which was spy novelist Erskine Childers, who wrote Riddle of the Sands.
Since then she has passed through a number of different owners and charities and one owner sailed her single-handedly across the Atlantic.
She is part of the National Historic Register and within that part of the National Historic Fleet alongside ships such as HMS Victory and HMS Warrior!
We have a team of volunteers and paid helpers working on her.
She is currently having all her paint scraped off her hull below and above the waterline before new paint is applied.
Her ballast is being stripped out (circa 3.5 tons of peculiarly shaped lumps of iron) to allow a good inspection; lots of her interior is being repainted; hot water is being fitted; the heads are being reconfigured; a lot of the decks are being recaulked to stop her leaking; the engine is being lifted out into the saloon to allow a new drip tray to be fabricated and the engine mounts to be changed, at the same time sound and fire insulation will be fitted to the engine bay; a lot of her electrics are being replaced; areas of her decks are being recaulked to stop her leaking and the original capstan is being given a makeover.
The spars are being varnished; some of the standing rigging will be changed; all 26 blocks are being stripped and oiled. The list goes on!
Money and more volunteers are needed.
Once the work is complete she will sail again and only minor annual refits will be needed for a long time.
Sailing a boat such as Golden Vanity gives people the opportunity to learn about themselves, to deal with some kind of personal challenge, to work in a team situation and discover hidden strengths and talents. It improves sustained social confidence and people's ability to work with others. It gives people an opportunity for adventure, for making new friends, to have a break from whatever their life situation may be.
And of course, people learn about the maritime environment and seafaring.
You will be helping a well-established business that cares greatly about what it does and the experience it offers people. A business that has been knocked sideways by Covid but has taken on this project of Golden Vanity in order to
- preserve an historic vessel,
- to give as many people as possible the opportunity to sail on her,
- strengthen the company's offerings.
Plus there are also rewards to be had depending on how much you donate!
A Business Case
First Class Sailing is an RYA Sea School that was formed in 2001. We offer RYA sailing courses on yachts in the Solent and sailing adventure holiday voyages to places like Norway and across the Atlantic. We own a number of our own boats but for some of our bigger voyages, we charter in yachts more suitable for long-distance sailing. This has worked well but Covid has emphasised to us the need to be less dependent on yachts belonging to other companies.
Like many businesses, we have been hit extremely hard by Covid. We had to cease all water-based activities during lockdown 1 and 2. We adapted as best we could and ran some online navigation classes but the income generated from this was nowhere near what it should have been like at these key times of the year. Our usual winter income from Atlantic voyages is not there this year.
So we purchased Golden Vanity. This is a move to diversify offerings that do not involve the use of yachts from other companies and to offer something unique that will give opportunities to people from all walks of life to benefit from sailing on such an historic and traditional sailing vessel. At the same time, we are playing a part in the preservation of a beautiful historic vessel.