Brixham Heritage Sailing Regatta and Rally
A celebration of vessels from a bygone era
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The online home of the Annual Brixham Heritage Sailing Regatta
BRIXHAM HERITAGE REGATTA HISTORY
 
Working trawler races have been sailed off Brixham since the early 1800's. They were always fiercely competitive, with the boats being driven extremely hard. In strong winds in 1927, the winning trawler 'Valerian', averaged over 12 knots around the course!
In 1914, King George V presented the Perpetual Challenge Cup also popularly known as the 'King George V Cup' or the 'Kings Cup'. This was to be raced for by Brixham registered sailing trawlers over 40 tons but due to the First World War was not presented until 1919. This Cup was then competed for annually from 1919 until the advent of the Second World War in 1939. 
 In 1919, Sunny Isle was the first winner of the King George V Cup. Lord Churston, presided over the earlier events and in his letter to King George V, he sent the good wishes of the fishermen of Brixham and personal reassurance that, 'The gift will ever be held as a link between the Port of Brixham and the Throne'. The original title of the Regatta was the ‘Port of Brixham, Torbay, Royal Regatta’. Following this auspicious approval by Royalty, the local trawlers competed each year until 1939, when war broke out. Valerian (of which there is a model in Brixham Yacht Club), was particularly successful with Vigilance, (winner 1933) and Torbay Lass winner in 1936 also successful in this racing event. During the heyday in the 1920s and 30s, the racing was an incredible spectacle, with not only a large fleet of big ketches, but also a fleet of the great classic yachts, including King George's yacht Britannia and several of the famous J-Class yachts. 
 
After the war, racing lapsed and as sailing trawlers became commercially outdated the fleet slowly disappeared. However, through the efforts of local skipper Toni Knights, and with the involvement of the Devon Gaffers and several local restoration projects, in particular the Vigilance Preservation Society, Trinity Sailing Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust, the Brixham trawler fleet re-emerged from 1997 to sail once again for the Perpetual Challenge Cup ( King George V Cup ). The modern event has had racing in five classes, allowing traditional sailing vessels of all types, shapes and sizes to take part. Since 2011 the Regatta has a sixth class for yachts of any type of construction or rig, who are over 30 years old. The event is now a highlight of the traditional sailing calendar. The Heritage Regatta is organised by a team of volunteers, many with nautical experience of both modern and classic boats.