Skip to main content


Sail as guest crew onboard the Pilot Cutter Agnes, the flagship of Luke Powell's fleet. Short taster voyages are perfect for exploring the Cornish coastline, whilst longer voyages can see you explore the Scillies and the Brittany coast. 

Agnes is a 46ft wooden pilot cutter, owned and built by Luke Powell in 2003 and flagship of his boat-building company. Traditionally rigged from her lofty topmast to her barrel windlass Agnes is sailed with a certain panache as she explores the stunning coasts of the West Country, the Isles of Scilly and Brittany. The professional and friendly crew of two are always thoughtful hosts, effortlessly sharing a passion for sailing and the good life, promising beautiful anchorages, amazing sunsets, delicious wine and feasting on freshly prepared meals. 

Latest voyages
Vessel Start Date End Date Start Port End Port Price
  • Length overall : 64ft
  • Length on deck : 46ft
  • Year built : 2003
  • Vessel type/rig : Gaff Cutter
  • Guest berths : 6
  • Crew berths : 2


The Experts View: What Agnes Does Best

Agnes is a powerful 46ft pilot cutter offering adventure holidays in Cornwall and beyond
Agnes in full flow. photo by Nic Compton

Summer Cruising with Style

If you have ever fantasised about living on a wooden boat and sailing under canvas to wherever the winds take you, then a voyage on Agnes comes close to that dream. This comfortable and spacious vessel is a joy to live on as she boasts full standing headroom below decks with large skylights which fill her with sunlight. The beautifully crafted interior has the modern additions of a fridge, freezer, wood-burner and a washroom with shower. Her accommodation is light and airy and with a maximum of 8 people on board there is room for all to socialise in comfort or find your own little bolt hole. The uncluttered wooden decks provide enough space to stride confidently to a task at the mast or sunbathe under the bulwarks. Many of us would love to steal her.....but you can pretend she is yours for the voyage.

Showcasing Wooden Ship Building

If you respect craftmanship and have an interest in maritime history then sailing on Agnes will the place to learn more. Concerned by the lack of sailing examples of the working sail boats that once graced Britain's shores, her boat builder and creator Powell Luke has been trying to re-dress the balance by researching and building historic replicas. The original Agnes was built in 1841 and was the last pilot cutter to work out the Isles of Scilly.  In building new wooden beauties like Agnes, Eve, Lizzie May, Hesper, Tallulah, Amelie Rose, Ezra, Freja and now Pellew he has created a future for British wooden boat-building which has spread beyond one company.....and it also means there are a lot more traditional charter boats out there for us to sail.

Agnes on her 'summer holidays' in Galicia, Northern Spain
Agnes on her 'summer holidays' in Galicia, Northern Spain

Sharing a Life Under Working Sail

Luke will be a rare sight on Agnes as he will be skippering his latest build - the mighty 68ft pilot cutter called 'Pellew' from 2020. The torch has already been passed to skipper Brendan who revels in sailing Agnes around the coast of Cornwall and beyond with panache and humour. His relief skipper is the Captain of barque Europa Jelte Hibma, who loves to sail a smaller boat with guests in his tall ship leave. Unsung hero Jo Powell runs the charter side of Luke's boat building 'empire' and helps keep Agnes true to her ethos by recruiting the best sea staff. If you are lucky enough to have her as the mate/cook on Agnes she cooks delicious meals. Other Mate/cooks on Agnes include Holly Latham, Jame Steevenson and Melissa Williams who are all equally proud of cooking freshly cooked meals and have salty tales to tell. You cannot help be drawn into their life of linseed oil, perfect sail trim, rowing tenders and oil lamps. 


Had the best sail ever on Agnes...with Luke as Captain. he's a great artist, sailor and fun guy to be with and Joanna's tasty fish stew and homemade scones and jam made it perfect...and Agnes - her spirit so strong and powerful, yet graceful and gentle - a true goddess of sail. I would trust Agnes in any sea and any weather - Shes Cosmic ! Jeanette, Tuscon, Arizona.


Agnes under sail in Cornwall

What to Expect

Style of Sailing

Agnes carries a lot of sail with no winches. Even the anchor windlass is an authentic barrel windlass with spokes to turn. Agnes' crew like to travel under sail as much as possible, so if you are looking for a real hands on sailing holiday on a very powerful cutter then Agnes is one to try. Her wide decks and high bulwarks (wooden walls around the deck) give a sense of security so she is equally a great choice for those new to sailing. You will learn a lot of old fashioned seamanship, simply by sailing the Agnes way.

If you are sailing overnight on a longer passage, you will be part of a watch rota with the skipper or mate, but many of the trips make the most of daylight hours for sailing and aim to relax in an anchorage over night.

Agnes' cruising style is adapted to give guests a wonderful chance to visit natural environments far from the madding crowd, and after a good day spent out in the elements you will be able to retreat to the warm and cosy saloon to enjoy a freshly prepared meal cooked with local produce. The skippers and crew specialise in searching out unspoilt and quiet coves for anchorage, where Agnes can create a scene from another century. 

Barrel windlass, female crews and learning to steer on Agnes
Barrel windlass, female crews and learning to steer on Agnes

Life on Board

Onboard Agnes, you will never go hungry as the food supplied will be delicious, fresh and if possible locally sourced. As well as being an experienced traditional boat sailor, the chef, Joanna Powell has a great love of cooking and and is clearly evident in the food she prepares on each voyage. Guest cooks like Diana also effortlessly whistle up meals below, whilst the guest crew gather with anticipation around the helmsman's long thwart seat, enjoying tea and cake or when anchored pre supper tapas with a glass of wine.The ambience of sharing freshly cooked meals on board with locally sourced ingredients is an important part of the experience and style that is the Powell family trademark. Lookout for the special gourmet voyages featured in Agnes' voyage schedule.

Agnes sleeps 6 guests with 2 crew. Below deck there is spacious headroom for most guest crews with 4 bunks in a forward cabin, two bunks opposite the washroom, and a comfortable saloon and galley area for socialising in.  Please see the accommodation page for photos and full details. 

Luke and Jo Powell share their passion for good food and wine on board.
Luke and Jo Powell share their passion for good food and wine on board.


Pilot Cutter Agnes has a light interior with big skylights and hatches for a 46ft vessel
Forward hatch: Agnes has a light interior with big skylights and hatches for a 46ft vessel


Below Decks 

Beautifully crafted Agnes is a homely and spacious vessel with full standing headroom below decks. The unusually large skylights maximise the feeling of space as the sunlight streams below into the comfortable saloon. For chillier or more inclement days the wood-burner will provide a warming backdrop to enjoy your evening glass of wine. With a maximum of 8 people on board there is plenty of room to socialise together or if you wish to have a moment to yourself there is always a little nook to retire too. 

Agnes sleeps 6 guests with 2 crew. For guests, there are 4 bunks in a forward cabin and 2 bunks opposite the good sized washroom complete with shower. There is plenty of hot water and the bunks are all made up with linen, duvets and pillows! 

Many of us would love to steal her.....but you can pretend she is yours for the voyage.


Agnes - interior. Saloon looking forward
The saloon is free of sleeping berths (except an upper pilot berth used occasionally).


Agnes interior - Saloon looking aft towards companionway and skippers cabin
Saloon looking aft towards companionway and skippers cabin beyond
Agnes being built at Gweek, Cornwall.
Agnes being built at Gweek, Cornwall.

Agnes was built by Luke Powell in 2003 to the lines of the original Agnes of 1841, a top pilot cutter from the Isles of Scilly. Originally 46' on deck by 13' 3' beam by 8'6 draft and weighs 26 tons Agnes is a gaff rigged vessel where her main port is Falmouth in Cornwall. 


Meet the Skipper & Crew

Jo and Luke Powell are great hosts On Agnes Pilot cutter.
Luke and Jo Powell are great hosts on Agnes.

Skipper, Business Partner, Mate and Chef - Joanna

Joanna Powell creates a classic Agnes sailing holiday more than anyone else. Since Agnes became a charter boat, Jo has shaped the style of voyages, and been your host, creator of feasts for gourmet voyages and a vastly experienced ships mate. 

Jo may modestly introduce herself as the ships cook if Brendan or Jelte are on board as skipper, but she is also the boss! 

Jo will only be sailing a small selection of voyages this summer but will continue to be a strong influence on the way that Agnes is run under skippers Brendan and Jelte

Skipper- Brendan Stewart

Brendan Stewart the new skipper from Agnes in 2019

 Brendan has been the skipper for several years now on Agnes. Having grown up on the Northumbrian coast and been at sea all his adult life working on Sail training boats, traditional charter sailing boats, tug boats and offshore fishing boats he is more than excited to take over the tiller of Agnes and explore Cornwall, Brittany and the Isles of Scilly.

Sailing is in his blood and his love and pride for the boats he is in charge of is obvious for all to see. Brendan works tirelessly to refit Agnes in readiness for each season in the Rhoda Mary Shipyard in Truro. Formerly the skipper of the Brixham trawler Pilgrim he is renowned for his larger than life character and passion for sailing. He is looking forward to getting out on the water and getting to know Agnes and the sailing grounds around Falmouth.

Agnes race skipper Jelte Hibma
Agnes race skipper Jelte Hibma

Guest Skipper - Jelte Hibma

The ever popular captain of 56 metre barque Europa, Jelte has sailed with us as skipper and race crew for the last few summer’s. He loves spending time out on the water in smaller boats in his time off from wandering the world's oceans with guest crew on Europa. He has the ideal professional skills to be relief skipper on Luke's largest pilot cutter Pellew, but will also be skipper on Agnes for some voyages.

Mate James Steevenson

James did his yachtmaster exam on pilot cutter Eve, has worked as mate on Eda Frandsen and Bessie Ellen and is a traditional boat sailor through and through. He has been spotted water ski-ing behind Eda Frandsen on a fast blast whilst wearing a tuxedo. His smile is infectious and his cooking is pretty special.

Mate - Holly Latham

If you want to sail with a female boat builder then Holly Latham is the real thing. She is sailing as mate on Agnes from mid summer in 2020. Holly is also a former marine biologist/ fisheries biologist and Marine advisor to the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)


 Mate - Melissa

Many years ago, Melissa decided that a career in sailing was for her and left her gallery assistant position in London for the shores of the West Country and has not looked back since. Melissa started teaching sailing in Scotland and now has numerous crewing and skippering adventures to boast about. From the shores of Cornwall to Spain Melissa is a very experienced and passionate mate for traditional sailing boats and has been skipper on Eve of St Mawes, 8 metre Pinnucia and relief skipper on Eda Frandsen and Agnes. She now has a role mostly ashore but will be out on the water on some trips this summer.

former skipper on Agnes and occasional relief skipper Melissa Williams
former skipper on Agnes and occasional relief skipper Melissa Williams
Current sailing grounds
Explore the Coast on a local boat, wooded creeks, smugglers quays, secret coves & waterside inns

What others say about us


Facebook reviews

"A life changing experience with talented crew who gave us hope for mankind ...and biscuits"

Customer comments

Read what the press say about our holidays

Magazine articles


Why book with Classic Sailing?

The call of the sea

Destinations for sailors & explorers

Over 300 voyages a year

11, 051 customers introduced to

traditional boats and tall ships.

Tell us your sailing dreams


Office Team of Skippers

6 Times Around the World between Us

Selling Holidays for 22 Years

2 Dogs to make us laugh

Contact Us

How to Book

Voyage Applications Online 24 /7

How to book a voyage

Terms & Conditions   Travel Insurance

Loyalty Discounts & Price Match

Frequently Asked Questions