View Full Version : falmouth pilot sloop?

09-07-2002, 04:52 PM
I've just bought a 25' wooden boat built 1976 somewhere in the Cowichan Valley B.C. Can. I was told it is a Falmouth Pilot sloop but l cann't find any info on the web. Does such a design really exist or was l misinformed? Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me any info

ken mcclure
09-07-2002, 05:52 PM
Can you get us pictures? Can you get a list of previous owners? (perhaps through your gov't agency that handles registry) Did you get any documentation/paperwork with the boat? Is there a builder's name plate affixed inside the boat?

That name sounds familiar as a type, if not a specific design.

09-07-2002, 08:41 PM
Hi J;

There is a type called the Falmouth Quay Punt, plum stemed with a vertical transom, fairly beamy, with deep & fine sections. Curlew is one famous example.

Roger Taylor book "Good Boats" includes a design called the Falmouth 26. Which is 26'6" LOA and 21' waterline. Beam is 8', and draft is 5'. A bald-headed gaff sloop rig of 410 sq. ft. is shown. Displacement is listed as 4.4 tons. She was designed by the Falmouth Boat Company in consultation with Nigel Warington Smyth.

All the best, Tad

09-08-2002, 09:06 AM
thanks for the response.I didn't get any paper work with the boat. As it only has a 7 hspower motor it was never registered. I'll see if the library has the book you mentioned. 'Relentless' doesn't have a bluff bow.
Any more suggestions would be appreciated.

09-08-2002, 02:24 PM
Not quite sure what makes a pilot a genuine pilot (how it gets used, I presume) or what if anything differentiates a Falmouth from any other, but the name is a salty old traditional one, and there's a number of contempory boats made to the classic pilot lines. The Sam Morse Co. makes a couple of fiberglass beauties at 22 and 28 feet that they call 'Falmouth 22 and 28, and the do it yourselfer Glen-L Amigo looks an lot like the Morse 22 footer. Got a pic of your boat?

John Gearing
09-09-2002, 08:18 PM
As I recall Lyn and Larry Pardey's "Seraffyn" has a 24-foot WL, and her designer Lyle Hess took his inspiration from pilot cutters, Falmouth Quay punts, et al. It's possible you have one of Hess' designs. 7hp motor sounds like a transom-hung outboard, which fits the Hess 24 (Seraffyn had no motor). But of course it's impossible to tell much of anything without seeing the boat in person or pictures at least. Your local library may have a copy of one of the Pardey's books, which typically have some photos of Seraffyn which you might find useful for comparison purposes.

Bob Cleek
09-09-2002, 08:40 PM
The term "pilot cutter" has become pretty misused in recent times. Thank old Lyle Hess, I guess. "Pilot cutter type inspired" would be a more accurate way to put it. Just about every English port had its indigenous craft which evolved to carry pilots out to incoming vessels, so there probably is such a thing as a Falmouth pilot cutter. Falmouth quay punts were small vessels, in the size range of yours. Pilot cutters, on the other hand, started in the 50 foot range and up. A 25' boat wouldn't be what you would want to go out in foul weather to board a pilot. Moreover, as piloting fees were earned on a first come first served basis, speed was of the essence. A small boat wouldn't do. (Sorry, Lyle!) Sounds like you have a nice little boat, there, though. Give us whatever details you can. (Length, breadth, depth)

Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-10-2002, 06:46 AM
Speaking of pilot cutters, I have a 27', LOD 1923 bristol channel pilot cutter.

It's documented, or rather was, in England. you guys know how to find where she was built?

09-10-2002, 11:12 AM
I'll stir up the pot a bit...
There were no original Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters built at 27' on deck. What type of 'Documentation' do you have? Perhaps we can figure out what you have from that.

As Bob said, the name 'Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter' has been borrowed by many designers that have applied it to vessels that often bare very little resemblance to the original ones (of which there are less than 20 survivors of the several hundred built), or to somehow endow the design with the famous qualities of the originals.
Examples of the real thing can be seen here:


I have seen a 'Falmouth Pilot Sloop' in Sidney BC, that was rebuilt after being owned by someone on Quadra Island. She was in really rough shape in Heriot Bay. But when I saw her in Sidney she looked like a totally different boat! Someone really poured their heart (and wallet!) into her. Perhaps this is the same boat. At any rate the design looked very distant from anything resembling a BCPC.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-10-2002, 11:19 AM
The Falmouth Pilot, as correctly noted above, was a "standard" series built type wooden sailing yacht, built in the 1950s and 1960's by the Falmouth Boat Building Company, which was owned by Rodney Warrington-Smyth, and designed by Nigel Warrington-Smyth. Built in two sizes, six tons, 26ft LOA, usually bermuda sloop rigged, which is the boat you have, or gaff rigged as in Roger Taylor's "Good Boats" book, and nine tons; the latter often ketch rigged. Looks a bit like a Vertue. Perfectly nice boat; you have a good buy there. Well done.

A boat which was built in Britain and first registered here will have her Register Tonnage and her Official Number carved in the mainbeam; an enquiry to the Registrar of Shipping and Seamen at Llantrisant Road, Cardiff will produce a Transcript of the Register with her details in it. They do charge for this.

[ 09-10-2002, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: Andrew Craig-Bennett ]

09-10-2002, 01:06 PM
A minor point, the "Hess 24" was designed for an inboard engine, as was the "Hess 30" ("Talisian") was also. The Pardeys just never bothered to install one in either boat.

I have heard that Larry Pardey would now like to put an engine in "Talisian" as they're getting on in age, but Lynne objects out of fears that it would tarnish their image :D

Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-10-2002, 01:09 PM
There is one documentation number carved into one deck beam and another carved into a second.

the smaller beams has a few numbers followed by 2 1/18, the larger deck beam, just aft of the mast says 8 and something tonnes, preceded by more numbers. the travel lift guy said that he estimated her mass between 10 and 11 tons, but I find it hard to believe a vessel of that size weighed that much.

When I go check on her tonight, I will copy down both sets of documentation numbers. I assumed one was British, and one was American.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-10-2002, 01:34 PM
It's the larger deck beam, just aft of the mast, that you are after. The Tonnage is the nett register tonnage and has nothing to do with her weight; it is the volume in hundreds of cubic feet below the weather deck, less deductions for allowable spaces.

This bean (the main beam) will have:

"Off.No XXXXXXX XXX/100Tons"

on it.

The other beam may be carved with an "allowable space" tonnage, eg Mirelle has, on a half beam under the starboard side deck "Cert. Chart Space 1.56/100 Tons"

The Official Number is unique to the boat and identifies her.

Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-11-2002, 07:04 AM
The main beam says (I left the number on the boat as I wrote it down after christening the boat)

reg number XXXXXX 2 18/100 tn

the first number had six digits.

The number on the second deck beam was unreadable due to poor lighting, but it was on the beam just for'd of the forehatch. I'll try and get it the next time I check on her.

Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-11-2002, 07:06 AM
by the way, she looks exactly like these vessels, and is rigged nearly the same.


my ivy has a slightly higher peaked gaff and the spreaders are higher on the mast.

09-11-2002, 09:47 AM
Some more thoughts regarding the 27-foot 'Ivy' of 1923:
This is an example of the smallest size BCPC to be built. Note the transomed-stern. Does your boat have similar dimensions?
Also, many of these boats were pitchpine and oak above the waterline and English Elm below.
The Cariad was the last cutter to work under sail in the Bristol Channel, being taken out of commission in December of 1922 to make way for the power-driven vessels.
Hopefully when you run your Documentation numbers thru the registry you will find more history on your vessel - maybe she is older than you think! Can you post some more details and pictures here?

Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-11-2002, 10:21 AM
she is planked pitch pine all the way to her garboards that are oak. when she was partially replanked the planks were replaced with mahaghany.

these planks included the first and second broads, so it's possible that they were oak as well.

the frames are 4 by 4 double sawn about every 18 inches with bent frames inbetween.

I haven't scrapped them down to determine their wood type yet.

she was galv. fastened with galv. floors. these were replaced with brownze screws, copper rivets, and wood floors.

the transom is identical to that vessel, but the stem is ever so slightly arched...not dead straight and plumb.

also she has running back stays, but I don't think that they are original.

Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-11-2002, 11:49 AM
also, Ivy (ex Meg 2) has cast iron ballast, an ancient, possibly original roller reefer on the boom, and a pitch pine or doug fir deck.

09-11-2002, 11:53 AM
hmmmm - interesting and exciting! I think your boat may indeed be older than you think. If you don't get anywhere with your deckbeam numbers, I suggest you write the BCPC Owner's Association:
9 Ashby Road
Vale of Glamorgan
CF64 5SH
tel:029 2053 0341
fax:029 2053 1602
email: bcpcoa.secretary@virgin.net

09-11-2002, 12:10 PM
...and if you haven't already, get ahold of this book:
The Sailing Pilots of the Bristol Channel
by Peter J Stuckey

http://www.seachest.co.uk/acatalog/Sea_Chest_Sailing_Pilots_of_the_Bristol_Channel_13 23.html

Ed Nye
09-11-2002, 03:54 PM
Another view!!!


Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-13-2002, 08:25 AM

so the main beam says off no 163565 reg tons 2 18/100

and the for'd beam say something similar to:
ERT Boats wains store 8.1 tons

there seamed to be letters missing, as it is very worn, and shallowly carved.

any ideas on translations?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-13-2002, 06:02 PM
She is no 163565, which makes her older than Mirelle (166102) her nett register tonnage is two and eighteen hundredths of a ton and that figure is after an allowed deduction of a certified space for a bosun's store ("CERT. Bosun's Store") of some number of tons. She almost certainly was originally on the British register.

Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-16-2002, 06:41 AM
was almost certainly on the British register?

what does this mean? was she a pilot cutter? could she have been built as a yacht?

does this information go hand in hand with the boat having a mass of just under 11 tons (as the travel lift guy estimated)

Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
09-16-2002, 06:43 AM
and what year is Mirelle?

09-17-2002, 08:07 AM
Yes, the number is consistent with the British registration numbers. Both yachts and working boats were registered, and the tonnage is the displacement, not the actual weight. The following is from the thread "Copper bottom".

Andrew Craig-Bennett
Member # 506

posted 06-27-2002 07:50 PM
That's not a Lloyd's number, that is her Official Number, together with her Nett Register Tonnage on which her Light Dues and Port Dues would have been paid, because she was registered as a British Ship under Part One of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, or in her case the equivalent section of the 1864 Act, and if you write to the Registrar of Shipping and Seamen at Llantrisant Road, Cardiff, Wales, with a cheque, quoting the number and tonnage, they will send you a Transcript of her Registry, with her full history until she left the Register.