Preview: The Pilot Cutter, Past and Present

The history of the traditional pilot cutter is detailed in this terrific video. Prior to the industrial revolution, pilot cutters assisted the abundant wooden sailing ships arriving upon Great Britain’s shores for trade. Today these beautiful vessels are being brought back to life at Gweek Quay Boatyard. Thanks to OCH memer Peter Brackenbury for bringing this to our attention.

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8 Responses So Far to “The Pilot Cutter, Past and Present

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    Trevor Gunning says:

    Wonderful video and story. I am a Yorkshireman by birth and an Aussie by adoption. I too share the sentiment of living in the wrong century…oooh well never mind… We too are suffering from the same sentiments down here in Perth Australia; the old cray fishing industry boats were built out of jarrah. So many of them lost to neglect. The new Endeavour and the new Gilt Dragon were built here in Fremantle. however the traditions and skills are dying out.
    Thanks for keeping the dream alive.

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      Bert van Baar says:

      Was not de VOC ship Duyfken als built in Perth?

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    John Almberg says:

    Why is this video credited to Gweek Quay boatyard? It’s actually made by Luke Powell of Working Sail, builder of several traditional pilot cutters, including Agnes, from which much of the video is shot.

    I know, because I had the pleasure of sailing with Luke and his wife this summer (2014). Fabulous sail across the English Channel and around the islands off Brittany. Highly recommended.

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    Thomas Buzzi says:

    As a young man I chanced to read Sterling Hayden’s book,”Wanderer”. In it he referred to himself as being “sea struck” in that he felt he was born in the wrong century so great was his love of sailing ships and all things nautical. I too had my spell of that from age 10 through 20 so I know how the fellow being interviewed in this video feel. He is probably the last of his breed being a wooden vessel shipwright.
    This is a great film and certainly one of the reasons I joined OCH.
    Thanks for the viewing.

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    Martin Gregory says:

    I was lucky enough to have owned “Kelpie” a William Garden design based on the English Pilot Cutter. Wonderful boat built out of yellow cedar from the original forest in Alaska. She is now on Flathead Lake, MT. Here is the link to Wooden Boat
    Only 6′ wide she sailed leaning over, but straight as an arrow and could take any weather.

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    simon lippett says:

    What a lovely video! I was lucky enough to do my Day Skipper course on Eve of St Mawe which is one of Luke’s boats and is shown in this video. When you sail his boats you feel as though you could be in a different age, absolutely wonderful.

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    Brian Mosher says:

    Excellent video and story. My dad was a Master Mariner and finished up his active career as a pilot in Halifax Harbour. He started in fishing schooners fore n’ aft gaff rigged out of Lunenburg, NS.
    We have a few good boat builders in this province today and one of them recently built a beautiful pilot cutter similar to those shown in this video. I hope we continue to build in wood so that the art never dies!
    Thank you for the great story.