Classic Boat


Pellew is the ninth pilot cutter to be built by Luke Powell in the past quarter of a century, but what sets her apart from the others is her size. With a hull length of 68ft (20.7m) she is significantly longer than the 46ft (14m) Agnes, the biggest of the previous eight. But it is in displacement terms that she really stands out: at 74 tonnes, she is triple the size.

The previous boats were based on Isles of Scilly pilot cutters, whereas Pellew is a replica of the Vincent, a Falmouth pilot cutter. The Scilly boats were generally smaller than their Falmouth cousins, which often carried as many as eight pilots. One thing they have in common is that no original boats of either type survive today.

The was built with a hull length of 55ft (16.8m) by Richard and Hugh Hocking at Stonehouse, Plymouth in 1852. Her first owners were William, John and Joseph Vincent, from a family of pilots based in St Mawes. According to Merchant Shipping records, in 1877 her hull was lengthened to 68ft, by cutting it in half and inserting a new mid-section. “Lengthening boats in that way was quite common practice, and with cargo vessels it was quite straightforward,” said Luke. “But with a boat like a pilot cutter, the drag of the keel, the changing midship sections and the shape of the sheer would have made it very complicated. It could be that they just scrapped the original boat and built a new bigger one,

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