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Protecting Britain’s maritime heritage

Published: 2 August 2013 - Joe Bush

Flexicon has supplied 150m of flexible conduit to protect critical power and data cables during the restoration of a Brixham sailing trawler, which first entered service in 1895.

The aptly named Pilgrim was one of 300 similar red sailed, wooden vessels built in the historic port of Brixham in the 1800s. The port and the famous trawlers were at the pinnacle of Britain’s maritime heritage.

In the 1800s, labour and wood were both cheap commodities, so the boats only had a life span of around 20 years, meaning that the Pilgrim is probably the last remaining of the original 300 Brixham built and rigged red sailed wooden boats. The Pilgrim trawled out of Brixham until 1912, when she was sold to owners in Sweden. Owners changed numerous times over the years until 1999 when she was returned to her birthplace for restoration by the Pilgrim Preservation Project, a new company formed by her then Finnish owner, Johan Skibdahl and Bill Wakeham a former Brixham fisherman.

After 13 years, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, South Devon Coastal Local Action Group, Pilgrim BM45 Trust and individual donors, a dedicated group of volunteers have brought the Pilgrim back to her former seafaring glory. The vessel now has a little help from a generator and a large bank of batteries and instead of being navigated by the stars, radar and chart plotters have also been installed. Due to the critical nature of the power and data functions, the selection of the right flexible conduit system was vital.

The risks of data and power interruptions are highlighted when considering the harsh environment of a boat at sea, particularly a wooden vessel. The damp, vibration, condensation and high risk of salt corrosion presented many different cable protection hazards, for which over 150m of Flexicon’s FPAS flexible conduit and fittings provide protection.

The FPAS system is well suited and was specified because of its vibration and shock resistance, having been tested to EN 61373 Cat 2. The nylon sheath provides excellent corrosion and condensation resistance while its temperature range allows optimum operation between -50°C to 135°C.

Andy Keatley, a key member of the restoration team, commented, “Because the Pilgrim is a wooden sail boat, the vessel is able to breathe, meaning that damp and condensation can be a problem. With so much data and power running through the vessel, the supply of the flexible conduit that met our demanding specification was a huge help in the overall restoration.”

Colin Legg, marketing manager for Flexicon said, “We are very proud to put our conduit to the test in this demanding application, especially when it is being used for a good cause. Being a ‘Made in Britain’ company, we were delighted to support the restoration of a piece of our British maritime heritage.”

Flexicon are the cable protection specialist, offering 48 different flexible conduit systems. The UK manufacturer supplies quality products that are independently tested to highly demanding standards, ensuring its flexible conduit can withstand the most challenging environments.

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