Building A New Legend

Based at the Rhoda Mary Shipyard on the bank of a river where so many fine wooden sailing ships were built, The Falmouth Pilot Cutter CIC is recreating a traditional environment where we hope many projects of historic maritime importance will take place.

The Falmouth Pilot Cutter CIC plans to nature and train young people in the art of shipbuilding, and create a new generation with skills and knowledge of the seas. Once launched, the Pellew will remain based in Truro and sail the seas giving opportunities for apprenticeships in the traditional trades and seamanship associated with such a vessel.

A Great Cutter Reborn

Pellew SailplanFor many years there has been a desire to resurrect a legendary Falmouth Pilot cutter; and rekindle wooden shipbuilding in Cornwall. We have chosen to faithfully recreate one of the longest-surviving and best-documented of the cutters, the Vincent, built in 1852 for the Vincent family of St Mawes. She worked successfully for 70 years until being retired in 1922, ending her days as a houseboat at Freshwater on the Percuil River. Our vessel will be named Pellew in honour of the great Cornish maritime hero.

Built for Speed and Strength

Cornish pilots developed their profession to a high standard. With a good cutter they could earn well, but if their vessel was slow, there were no wages; only the best survived. This demand created a most beautiful vessel, fit for purpose, fast to compete with the other cutters and yet seaworthy to survive the harsh conditions. The Cutters would sail west into the Atlantic beyond the Isles of Scilly in search of ships. Each carried eight pilots. They would return to port only after all pilots were placed. At times, if a further sail was sighted, the skipper of the cutter would also ship off as a pilot, leaving just the boy to sail the large pilot cutter home.

The Cornish Cutter Legacy

Ships sailing in from the Atlantic heading towards the rocky coasts of Cornwall had rudimentary navigation, giving them only a rough idea of their position. Seeking a safe haven, they eagerly sought local maritime knowledge. In all weathers Cornish folk would put to sea in their cutters to find incoming ships to put a man aboard. Over the centuries Cornish cutters were made to perfection, developed to survive and sail in some of the wildest conditions in the seafaring world. A Great Cutter Reborn

A Cornish Hero: Edward Pellew

(c) Royal Albert Memorial Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Admiral Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, was the son of a Cornish packet captain who died when Edward was young, leaving the family impoverished. Edward, aged 14, ran away to sea from Truro Grammar School. Showing great daring and ability in the American War of Independence, he rose through the ranks. In the Napoleonic Wars he became the greatest frigate captain of all time. Based at Flushing across the waters from Falmouth would sail to to attack the French, capturing and bringing home enemy frigates as prizes. He showed great humanity to both his crew and the enemy, becoming good friends with the French captains he fought. The Pellew