Class B Luggers
Smaller, inshore fishing vessels – usually crabbers, long-liners, netters and the like – generally open boats, under 30-ft in length, known to be sailing and invited to our regatta.
Mike Brown’s 30-ft (with bowsprit and bumkin) two-masted boat, with her Dipping Lug rig, can usually be found on the River Tamar.
A pleasure vessel, she now cruises extensively, taking in as many regattas and festivals as possible, but she was originally built for pilchard netting and crabbing at the turn of the century. Quite a fast little sailer, she is a welcome regular to Cornish Lugger Association regattas. Not much is known of her early history, but in 1971 she was taken from Mevagissey to Newlyn, near Penzance, and re-named.
By 1986, she had fallen into disrepair and eventually ended up in Hampshire where she was restored. Mike, who lives at Ottery St Mary, acquired her in 1989.
Les Arkell’s gaff cutter is thought to be an original Looe-built boat which left the port bound for the Falmouth Oyster beds in 1919.
If the research is correct, her original name was Bessie, but she has had several name changes through her working career – from Bessie to Winifred, Vivian to Fanny.
When brought back to Looe from Falmouth in 2001 – after being out of the water for several months – Les found quantities of Oyster shells or ‘Cultch’ in her bilges.
He renovated her with new oak deck beams and a mahogany and teak laid deck. Les was advised with the sail rig design by internationally renowned naval architect Alan Pape.
Look out for the ‘ship’s cat’ figure head mounted on the bow sprit. Carved by Les, it’s modelled on his pet cat Captain Pugwash, complete with black eye patch.
Nigel Daniels’ 17-ft Lug rig boat is clinker built and based at Axmouth.
A fast sailer, she has won many prizes and cups at regattas and festivals around the region and is another regular visitor to Looe’s biennial event.
HELEN B MERRY
A 22-ft gaff cutter built as a Mevagissey Tosher by the Frazier brothers in the 1920s or ’30s, and owned by a Mr Lord for about 20 years.
She is now owned by Gordon Bartlett, of Plymouth, who has lovingly cared for her since 1984.
Following her working days, she was discovered rotting on a beach at Hooe Lake in Plymouth, where at times she was underwater, and after a few people attempted restoration, Gordon has completed the job to a high specification.
He has fitted a new half-ton iron keel and deadwood which, together with the internal ballast, makes her stiffer.
Willie Wallace, of Plymouth, owns this delightful white-hulled 22ft Mevagissey Tosher, which now sports Bermudan rig.
She was built by the Frazier brothers in 1950 and fished out of the Mid-Cornwall harbour before ending up as a leisure boat for the late Walter Crowther, the former Plymouth Lifeboat coxswain, on a Plymouth Mayflower Sailing Club mooring in 1970.
She was later discovered rotting away in a field at Millbrook before Willie, who fished out of Looe with Charlie Jaycock and Billy Hocking, set about restoring her.
She’s now kept at Stonehouse and is a very pretty little vessel.
Bob Brown fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition in 1992 when he bought an 18-ft 6-in French boat working boat… in Dartmouth!
In years of travelling through France, he had discovered Doëlan, a little fishing harbour south of Concarneau but never realised that he would end up owning a 1980 wooden boat which Marcel Helle Gouarch had built to a traditional design on the quayside.
The fully-decked crabber of mahogany on oak, has a bowsprit and a high-swept bow.
She features two hatches, one for a fish hold and the other for the engine room.
She is rigged with a lug ketch main and a mizzen and was owned by naturalist Tony Soper in the mid-1980s. Yealmpton-based Bob is an accountant whose forebearers were fishermen.
This 18-ft 6-in Cornish-built Tosher, owned by Ivan Langford of Yealmpton, was built in the late 1880s. She is quite possibly the oldest Mevagissey Tosher still afloat and has been restored as a labour of love over a good many years.
She was a working inshore fishing boat and crabber and is now based on the Barbican at Plymouth.
David Gard’s 19-footer has a fore-lug and mizzen, and is usually crewed by teenagers from Falmouth School where he teaches.
A past cup winner here, the sail training open dayboat, with a centre-plate, was built in the early 1990s by Jonathan Craig, of Penryn.
Constructed of larch on steamed oak frames, she follows the lines of a traditional beach boat and is described as an open pilot cutter.
Built in 1896 for a Mr Ralph, this 18-ft open fishing boat was used for trawling in the summer and drift-netting for herring off Thorpe (now Thorpeness) Beach, in Suffolk in the winter. The Three Sisters was one of about 300 such boats but she is now the only one still sailing.
Sometime during the 1930s, an engine was fitted and she was fished by Percy Westrup until about 1952 when she was sold to the Brinkleys at Orford and used as a work boat until she was laid up ashore damaged. The hulk was bought by Robert Simper, and Frank Knights (Shipwrights) at Woodbridge totally re-built her in 1994.
Robert Dearn, who runs the Seachest bookshop on Queen Anne’s Battery Marina in Plymouth, restored this 25-footer, with her nine-foot bowsprit, which is one of the few Polperro Gaffers still sailing.
Rob discovered her at Mixstow, near Fowey in 1992.
She was sold on to Ireland in 2000.
Formerly called Maggie, she was probably built in Looe by Peter Ferris in the early part of the last century.
She would have fished under sail with her unique Polperro gaff rig.
Owned by Marsha and Chris Rees, formerly of Millbrook on the Cornish side of Plymouth Sound, near Torpoint, this most attractive Polperro Gaffer, is now based in Southern Spain but sailed to Looe for the 2003 regatta.
She was built at Looe by Peter Ferris in 1898 and was formerly the Muriel, owned by the Searle family of Polperro. Her change of name came when she passed into the Curtis family and was re-named after two of the owner’s daughters.
She fished out of Polperro until the 1950s. She was then sold to a Plymouth where she fished for a number of years, later being sold out of fishing to be converted to a yacht.
During her lifetime, she has cruised extensively, travelling as far afield as Australia, and her new owners, who discovered her at Gweek in West Cornwall, now have plans to sail her to the Pacific isles.
She is now lug rigged.