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Luke's Latest Creation - Pilot Cutter Pellew

Boat building in Cornwall. Luke Powell is training apprentice shipwrights and building his biggest pilot cutter yet

Building Modern Day Pilot Cutters

Luke's company Working Sail are builders of classic wooden sailing vessels recreating and bringing to life traditions and beautiful craftsmanship that has to be retained for the future.  Pellew will be their 9th Pilot Cutter. Others include Eve of St Mawes, Lizzie May, Agnes, Hesper, Tallullah, Ezra, Amelie Rose, Freja. Luke still owns 46ft pilot cutter Agnes and she offers sailing holidays and short breaks through Classic Sailing. See the current voyages below.

Luke Powell is back to work in the new Rhoda Mary Heritage Yard in Truro, Cornwall where he has started to build a 68ft Falmouth Pilot Cutter along the lines of a vessel called the Vincent. The Vincent was built originally in 1852 for the Vincent family in St Mawes. She had a long career out on the water until 1922 when she was retired and finished up being a houseboat up the Percuil River near St Mawes. The new boat will be called the Pellew in honour of a local hero, a great frigate Captain of the Napoleonic wars.

Ship building in wood. It begins with lofting

Pilot Cutter Pellew - Launch Date 29th February 2020 (Leap year day)

The Pellew is being built for The Falmouth Pilot Cutter CIC. Set up with Brian Pain, owner of the Thames Barge Lady of the Lea, with the aim of resurrecting Cornish Maritime heritage by training a new generation of young people in the art of wooden boat building. Over the three year build, the project will develop as a vocational training platform for maritime skills. Once launched the vessel will take young trainees out sailing.

All Luke’s boats are individually designed and Pellew will be no exception. She will be built using only traditional materials and methods of construction. With a hardwood backbone, solid grown oak frames, generous scantlings and fastened throughout in bronze. The hardwood decks are caulked with oakum and pitched in the traditional fashion while the hardwood capping rail, coachroof, skylight and hatches are brightly varnished.

Selecting the right shaped tree limbs to create curved frames
Pellew April 2017 - keel, stem and stern posts go up first
Pellew April 2017 - keel, stem and stern posts go up first


Pilot Cutter Pellew in 2018 - a not for profit project with apprentices
Pilot Cutter Pellew in 2018 - a not for profit project with apprentices. Photo Andy Weimer

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