Save Britannia

by Britannia Sailing Trust in Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

Save Britannia

Total raised £1,970

Gift Aid
+ est. £425.00
£100,000 target 24 days left
1% 8 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 19th August 2024 at 7:00am

This is an urgent appeal for your support, to help stop our heritage restoration project from running aground.

Project by Britannia Sailing Trust

The inflation-fuelled, rising costs of heritage materials, mean that our voluntary team will have to down tools in October if we can’t raise additional funds. You can Save Britannia with a donation to help us turn the tide on our rising costs.

Britannia Sailing Trust is a maritime heritage charity, centred around the restoration of a 108-year-old sailing vessel, Britannia. After a decade of dedication from our volunteer-led team, the restoration project is finally on the brink of completion!

With sea-worthy condition within reach, we invite you to help preserve Britannia’s legacy, sustain heritage crafts skills, and provide opportunities for vulnerable youth at the most pivotal moment of the project.

Without your support, we will be forced to halt our operations, leaving Britannia unfinished. Not only would this be a monumental loss to British heritage, it would also jeopardise our apprenticeships, and threaten the invaluable community benefits Britannia is uniquely positioned to provide. Britannia is the last of its kind, and the vessel has a long and interesting history in British maritime.

Can you make a donation? Please?

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Britannia is one of two functional examples left in the world of a Class One East Coast Smack - a large traditional fishing boat of a type built and sailed on the Norfolk coast for centuries. 

Dating all the way back to 1914, Britannia was the largest and fastest vessel in its fleet. Having traced the timber ribs to oak trees in Royal Sandringham Forest grown over 400 years ago, the ship’s history is nothing short of brilliant. From astounding encounters with a German U-boat in WW1 to saving many lives at sea, her history must be preserved. You can help us with a donation.

Several boats in a harbor  Description automatically generated“A ship is more than the sum of her parts; she’s brought to life by the hearts and hands of those who lovingly care for her”

You can read about the full history here: History – Britannia Sailing Trust


Leading the ‘Save Britannia’ restoration project are Sam and Vicki Samuels. Restoring her once already while raising their family on board and sailing across the world, the now 80-year-old couple are keen to reach the culmination of their life-long passion project. After selling Britannia in 1996, they crossed paths again in 2013, finding her in a state of complete disrepair. Unwilling to let history die with her, Britannia was transported overland from Cornwall to Devon, saving her from “near oblivion”. 

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Already, the restoration project has brought together volunteers of all ages and walks of life. Huge progress has been made and Save Britannia has become a hub of activity in the small village of Winkleigh, where Britannia has harboured a safe space for the community.

Can you be part of our village? A donation is all it takes.

On 24 September 2023, we hit a major milestone…

Having not touched water since her rescue 10 years prior, Britannia was launched in Exeter Heritage Harbour! Exeter Quay and Canal Trust organised a Heritage Festival to mark to occasion and welcome Britannia's arrival.

Having taken countless hours, unwavering expertise, and boatloads of tea, the launch was a huge achievement and an emotional moment for all the Friends of Britannia.



Progress: 2018-2023


In the last three years, referrals to youth mental healthcare services in the UK have risen by a staggering 53%. Having seen the impact that the restoration project has had on the wellbeing and resilience of young people in our community, we want to expand our outreach.

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Sam and Vicki founded the Britannia Sailing Trust in 2014, a charity that supports disadvantaged young people, fostering moments of triumph and self-discovery, through boatbuilding and sailing. Britannia offers the opportunity to get really stuck in, engage with the natural world, and forge meaningful relationships, empowering people to reach their full potential. 

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It has also become just as important to us to pass on the ancient traditions and endangered heritage skills of wooden boatbuilding and seafaring to a new generation. All the while, raising awareness of the modern environmental threats to our oceans and seas at a time when 12 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into the ocean every single year. 

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Our restoration efforts cost an average of £10,000 per month. With funding set to run out in October, we may have to abandon the project

With it inches away from completion, we want to offer you this once in a lifetime opportunity to support Britannia at the most pivotal point in its rich history


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This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£500 or more

Your Name, Permanently Engraved on Britannia

We will permanently engrave your name within the boat on a dedicated bulkhead, visible to anyone who tours or uses the vessel, providing lasting recognition of your support and a place in Britannia's legacy

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