Pioneer CK18, a 1st Class Essex Smack, is unique in being the very last of the larger size Essex smacks to survive, although only her bottom and parts of her other structure were salvaged as a basis for reconstruction. To give scale to the vessel, for her presents dimensions are 64ft registered length (about 71ft overall length) and about 15ft beam has been restored by the Trust. The Trust provides sail training and recreational activities to persons who have need of such facilities in the interests of social welfare by reason of their age, youth, disability, infirmity, poverty or social or economic circumstances. Boatbuilder apprenticeships are provided to train young people for future employment.
Priscilla a smaller smack is also available for smaller groups built as a general 2nd class sailing smack in 1893 at the “Stone Brothers” of Brightlingsea and is the oldest “Stone” built vessel in existence. Despite having now been developed into a Marina, the Stone Brother’s yard was a prolific boat building business employing many local people up until closure in 1988.
Harker’s Yard is a purpose built training facility that provides work experience and apprenticeships for young people wishing to enter the marine industry. Along with a base for Pioneer during the winter months, it also provides a quay and fuel barge facility for working vessels. The yard specialises in training apprentices in the restoration of historic vessels and the manufacture of the East Coast Rowing Gig, as part of the expansion of coastal rowing.
The East Coast Rowing Gigs are at various stages of production. The rowing gigs are designed to be rowed by four oarsmen and a cox in coastal waters. The Trust has developed both wooden and composite gigs to engage communities in coastal rowing ,offering advice and hands on opportunities for new clubs setting up.
The Pioneer Sailing Trust has developed ‘Harker’s Yard’ on the Shipyard Estate, Brightlingsea, with the aim of benefiting and developing the local area’s marine industry through training.
Pioneer Sailing Trust works closely with life development trusts, training agencies, councils, social services and other organisations devoted to improving the life prospects of young people, many of whom deal with difficult circumstances. Young people often find time at the trust opens new windows of opportunity.
The trust offers Sailing, apprenticeships, expertise of gigs, gig building, rowing, Residential trips, Corporate days and team building days.