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The Building of Agnes

Luke Powell has built 9 pilot cutters

The Building of Agnes

In 2001, three lorries laden with timber arrived in Gweek, Cornwall.  After extensive research, the 46’ pilot cutter Agnes was built to lines of the original Agnes of 1841. In her heyday, Agnes was the top pilot cutter from the Isles of Scilly. Her dimensions are 46’ on deck x 13’ 3” beam x 8’ 6” draft and she displaces 26 tons. Luke Powell, now Owner and then original builder of Agnes was not entirely sure if building a chunky square forefoot and square lute stern replica of a Scillonian Pilot cutter was going to make her sell-able or how she would sail under canvas but he was determined to fulfill his dream.

During the build an American called Shel visited Cornwall and bought Agnes for a sail training project on the East Coast of America. Sadly, Luke waved goodbye to Agnes as she set sail for the United States and her new life. Luke could always build another boat! 

Two pilot cutters being built at once Hesper and Agnes
Taking on apprentice shipwrights helped Luke build Two pilot cutters at once - Hesper and Agnes

Whilst building the next pilot cutter 'Ezra' for a client who wanted a Scottish charter boat, Luke was contacted by a friend of Shel's and informed him that Agnes needed saving. She had unfortunately gone aground, sank and in the attempt to dry her out had caught fire. With a minimum of fuss and some negotiating Luke bought Agnes and sailed her back across the Atlantic to Cornwall in 2005. 

To read more about Agnes and all the other boats that Luke has built and his adventures do read his book Working Sail. It is a wonderful read and will appeal to all ages. 

Shipwright Luke Powell helming another one of his pilot cutters Freja
Shipwright Luke Powell helming another one of his pilot cutters Freja


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