Agnes in her historic sailing grounds -The Isles of Scilly
The main economy of the Scillies was the pilot trade for over 100 years. Agnes is a replica of the last wooden pilot cutter to work out of the Isles of Scilly. The original Scillionian pilot cutter Agnes was built in 1831 and operated out of St Mary's under Captain Jenkins.His grandson's Alf and Barry launched Agnes in 2003 so this beautiful 26 ton vessel has strong links with the islands and sails there every year.
This is a paradise governed by the wind, waves and tide. Exploring the islands offers an intensive lesson in practical seamanship and navigation for adventurous beginners and experienced sailors alike. The passage from St Mawes or Falmouth, around the Lizard, past the lonely sentinel of Wolf Rock and way out west beyond Lands End, can be challenging or totally benign. The Atlantic Ocean frequently rewards you with sightings of dolphins, pilot whales, sunfish and basking sharks. The islands reveal themselves in tantalising stages as each island becomes distinctive on the horizon. The islands are unique with its beautiful landscape of islands surrounded by golden beaches and unbelievably clear blue seas.
Once nestled in an anchorage, your landing stage is usually a beach so bare feet and sandals are the order of the day. The pace of life is so relaxed it can take a few days to adjust to this small scale world. At first, crews stride out to circumnavigate an island, but after a few hours the islands magic lowers the stress levels and you will be happy beach combing, sketching or snoozing amongst the sea pinks. With over a dozen anchorages in the archipelago to choose from and the ever changing Atlantic Ocean all around, no Scillies trip is ever the same.
Read more about the Isles of Scilly as a destination, the wildlife and things to do ashore
30th Anniversary of the World Pilot Gig Championships in 2019
There is an early season sail to the Isles of Scilly on Agnes this year, to be amongst the islands during the 30th anniversary of the World Gig Championships in 2019.
The 60 miles around the Lizard, across Mounts Bay and beyond the yellow granite of Lands End could be a bit hardcore at this time of year, but you can also be lucky. Last year the weather was stunning and flat seas. If you have never seen 100 wooden pilot gigs on a race start line you are in for a treat. The main island of St Mary's is buzzing with hundreds of gig rowers but the off lying islands are wonderfully quiet during this 3 day event, especially if you are living on a boat and can anchor in the more secret anchorages. A mix of watching the racing, exploring ashore and sailing amongst the islands would be a perfect balance. This is a good time of year for wildlife too with waders on the sand flats, puffins on Annett and other ocean birds coming ashore to breed.
There is racing on the Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. The first race on Saturday involves about 2.8km race with over 100 boats on the start line.