Provident is a 1924 Brixham Trawler. As part of the national historic fleet she is one of the most treasured vessels operating in UK waters today. Owners and crew Steve and Morag aim to share the experience of being on this amazing boat. To infuse their guests with a love of sailing and to show them some amazing and beautiful places.
The crew have life-long experience sailing round the islands of Scotland, and aboard a ship as strong as Provident there’s no better combination for an unforgettable sailing holiday.
Length On Deck
Vessel Type / Rig
Provident is the perfect boat for exploring the islands and lochs of the west coast of Scotland and is ideal for the first-time sailor. Comfortable and stable with lots of deck space and at 90 tonnes she absorbs the waves so everyone on board has an easy ride.
On Provident, every day is an adventure. To us adventure is an endeavour with an outcome that is, at least in part, subject to forces beyond our control.
Where we end up each day depends just a little on chance.
We always know where we are and have a plan about where we are going but we’re always willing to tear up our plan and replace it with a new one.
The weather conditions, the tides, or, as a group, our appetite for action are constantly changing. We continuously asses all these things and allow a small amount of uncertainty to shape our plans.
Sometimes it’s straight forward. A current that flows faster than our top speed or wind in the “wrong” direction can make choices easy. At other times we can’t be so sure. Sometimes we set off in a particular direction but with various possible anchorages in sight. Let’s see how we get on. Sometimes certainty just isn’t available and our plans are modified several times during a single day.
By being adaptable we put ourselves in the best place to find the best place. It may be a fantastic sailing experience, a beautiful anchorage, a walk ashore or an encounter with amazing sea life.
This approach is particularly suited to the wonderful seas off the west coast of Scotland. With thousands of miles of coastline, lochs and islands, it’s as if we’ve been handed a fistful of lottery tickets with all the correct numbers filled in. To be winners we only need to abandon certainty about which ticket we cash in first.
On Provident our itinerary is a collaboration with nature. We think that not knowing precisely where we are going or when we will get there is the essence of adventure. As the 19th century Scottish adventurer John Muir wrote…
“All the wild world is beautiful, and it matters but little where we go, to highlands or lowlands, woods or plains, on the sea or land… through all the climates, hot or cold… So universally true is this, the spot where we chance to be always seems the best.”
There is no pressure on anyone to pull up sails and her glazed deck house means you can shelter from the wind, watch the seabirds fly by relax and enjoy tea and fresh cakes from the galley.
Hands on Experience
If you’re looking for a more hands on experience, there is a traditional rig to explore and up to 8 sails to put up. We love people to get involved in whatever way they choose. We know some of you will want to take part in every sail change, manoeuvre or anchor drop. Others may find that taking the wheel is their thing or they enjoy helping to keep watch for other boats at the bow.
Navigate if you want to.
Some folk want to learn navigation and although we have all modern technology on board, a paper chart, a tide table and a compass can make you feel at home with the voyage. There is also nothing the skipper likes better than setting you a dead reckoning challenge – so let him know if you are up for it. If you
want to keep the cook happy why not try and land some mackerel for dinner?
Support to Sail
Not everyone needs to be young and nimble on Provident. We have crew who can bounce up the rigging if necessary.
Provident is a great boat to come on if you are worried about your mobility or have some physical or other challenge but don’t want to give up on adventure!
We have lots of experience of taking all kinds of people sailing and Provident does just fine for many folk.
Secluded anchorages and historic harbours
Provident is small enough to anchor in small bays but big enough to sail there easily. We can cross open seas in comfort to get to the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
Some of our favourites are Loch Nevis which borders the Knoydart peninsula, Loch Kishorn and the charming village of Plockton and Loch Duich – home to the famous Eilean Donan Castle. Of if you feel like a bit of shopping or visiting the local hostelries Provident can come into harbour at Portree on Skye, Tobermory on Mull or Castlebay on Barra and drop anchor alongside all the local and visiting boats.
Treats of visiting Scotland by Sail
The Scottish islands are a treat for all visitors. Each has its own character – from the spectacular hills of Rum and Jura, to the sandy beaches of Barra and Mingulay. Watch out for the sea bird colonies of Canna and the Treshnish Islands.
A trip to St Kilda is hard to resist where the small archipelago is home to both puffin and gannet colonies and once ashore the history of the original (and sadly long gone) St Kildans comes alive.
Supporting local communities
With Provident we aim to be part of the communities that we visit. We get to know our island friends, support their economies as we can and respect their way of life. We don’t leave Rona without some of Bill’s venison sausages and Canna can be relied upon for a lobster or two.
Ways to explore ashore
There are many ways to go ashore, and we encourage you to explore – it might just be to the local pub or a short walk along the shoreline, but some of you might also feel like a longer walk, perhaps up the Sgurr of Eigg or around the beautiful fresh water Loch Coruisk in the heart of the Skye Cullins. You may even want a swim.
Guide or no guide
We have lots of ideas about where to go and what to see on the way; we will come ashore with you and take you to our favourite places or let you wander your own way.
Time seems to move at a different pace on a boat; soon you will find that Provident will have done her job and your land based worries may fade away…
The vessel we see today was a replacement for the original Provident which was sunk by a U boat in 1915.
The first attempts at trawling under engine took place in the 1870s and by the ’20s trawling under sail was beginning to fade into memory. Provident was one of the last sailing trawlers ever built.
In 1930 she was sold to a wealthy American and converted to a yacht under the guidance of yacht design legend, Morgan-Giles. The lines and rigs of many work boats of this period went on to be highly influential to the design of new pleasure and racing yachts.
Having spent many years as part of the Trinity sail training fleet, Provident is now under new ownership and plying her trade on the beautiful West Coast of Scotland.
Provident is a 1924 Brixham Trawler. As part of the national historic fleet she is one of the most treasured vessels operating in UK waters today. Our aim is to share the experience of being on this amazing boat. To infuse our guests with our love of sailing and to show you some amazing and beautiful places.
At 70 ft on deck, 90 ft overall and weighing in at nearly 90 tons Provident provides a tremendously safe and stable platform. These boats were developed and sailed before the advent of paper charts. Today we have the latest electronic navigation on board but the gaff rig would be completely familiar to a 19th century sailor. With a choice of up to eight sails at a time the canvas can be set to make the most of any weather.
During the 19th century the fishermen and shipwrights of Brixham developed a new kind of vessel, the deep sea trawler.
Massively strong, with a deep, straight keel, upright stem and fan shaped stern they revolutionised fishing, enabling bigger catches from further off shore. These sturdy vessels typically had ketch or “dandy” rigs offering tremendous power but, being split between two masts none of their distinctive red sails were too big or difficult to manage. The boats had to be enormously strong to brave any weather, stable to allow the hard work of fishing, powerful to haul the trawl through the waves and fast to get the catch back to harbour.
By 1887 there were more than three thousand such vessels registered around English and Welsh waters. One hundred and fifty nine at Brixham. Today only a handful remain.
Painting: A Brixham Trawler, William Aldophus Knell, 19th Century
When you come on board Provident you will be one of eight guests and four crew.
On deck Provident retains her traditional rig and sail plan and once the captain has given us our safety briefing, you’ve learned how to put on a life jacket and you’re full of tea and scones, we will be off.
There are quite a few sails to put up on Provident and the more help the better. As the voyage goes on everyone will feel more confident about what happens on deck and when you take Provident’s wheel you will feel in command!
Going ashore is a big part of a Provident trip.
We will aim to get ashore at least once a day and have a good sturdy dingy that can take you from the anchorage. Some of the party might choose to walk over a headland to be picked up in a new bay; others might fancy a swim or a walk to the seabird cliffs. There is usually too much choice. We think we are good at figuring out what our guests would enjoy and as we get to know you, we can adapt our voyage around your interests as well as where we can make the boat go.
Provident is a sailing ship and we aim to sail whenever we can. We want to impact on the environment as little as possible. We think the sea mammals like that better and our movement through the waves often attracts dolphins to play in our wake. The wind and weather will dictate the direction of our voyage and you will find the skipper checking the weather and tides before discussing the next day’s possibilities with us all.
Some trips might involve some night sailing. This can be a special treat especially at midsummer in Scotland because it hardly ever gets dark. Sailing at night means that we need to take it in turns to be up and keeping watch. We can discuss the watch system if we do a night sail and you can decide
if you want to join in.
Food is a big part of the Provident experience. We have hearty breakfasts, lunch according to our activities – packed lunch for those going ashore – soup and salads for those on the boat – and everyone gets lots of cakes!
We aim to source local food when we can so the menu will change if we catch mackerel or get a chance to buy some free range pork or local cheese. We will have a hearty dinner every night – no special diet is too much trouble. Just let us know before you come.
Solo travellers, couples and groups are all welcome. If you’re travelling on your own we may ask that you share a cabin with another traveller of the same sex. With four separate 2-person cabins we have much more flexibility with this than ships with a single large sleeping area.
Provident’s cabins are cosy, but there is plenty of room for your bag and a good night’s sleep! There is also heating and lighting throughout, and separate space for any wet gear so you can keep your cabin nice and dry.
The saloon has enough space for everyone on board to eat and relax together, sharing Morag’s famous three-course dinners around the beautifully varnished table (and perhaps enjoying a wee dram before bed).
There are two sea toilets (“heads”) on board, both electric, as well as a shower so you can get freshened up before a jaunt ashore.
You can charge your technology and each bunk has a light and some storage space – although it’s still a boat… don’t bring too much stuff!
Dry in the Rain
And did we mention the deck house? This is one of the best features of Provident; no need to get wet and cold if you don’t want to.
Steve started sailing dinghies as a boy. Later he started sailing with the family on a cruising yacht around the Scottish islands. He has skippered boats in British waters as well as in the Greek and Italian Med and in France. He has been involved with deliveries of boats in the Caribbean and Mediterranean and has sailed thousands of miles on the beautiful 1939 Fred Shepherd yawl Amokura. This culminated in an exhilarating Fastnet race in 2021. Steve was half of the two handed crew and they were given a gong for being the oldest boat to cross the line.
Now a fully qualified commercial Yachtmaster, Steve originally trained as a wood-worker, working for many years in film and TV production and in the construction industry. He’s very practical and can fix just about anything. He’s passionate about boats and sailing. His enthusiasm is infectious. He believes that everyone has something to give and something to gain from sailing and he loves to share the excitement with people new to the world of boats.
Morag gave up her job in the NHS five years ago to pursue her passion for sailing and the outdoors. She has been around boats and the west coast of Scotland all her life. Adventuring is in her soul – her crazy parents took her canoeing in Greenland when she was three years old. This left her with a strong desire for adventure with comfort!
She is the intuitive one. She can tell when you are hungry, sea sick or cold. She reminds Steve to head for a calm bay when everyone has had enough of the Scottish weather and wants to go ashore or settle down with tea and scones and a good book.
Food is nearly as important as sailing in Morag’s life. All harbours are an opportunity to chat to fisherman or find some locally grown produce. She trained as a cook in 2018 and loves it!
Delights Of The Sound Of Mull PV021025
Late Season Exploring the Lochs of Morven and Mull - PV250925
Late Season Exploring the Lochs of Morven and Mull - PV180925