Cornwall Maritime Heritage
photo: Pilot Cutters in St Mary's Isles of Scilly
Preserving Our Maritime Heritage
Classic Sailing has always felt that the best way to conserve our maritme heritage is for the general public to be able to sail on historic ships and authentic replicas. Within the fleet Classic Sailing promotes for your enjoyment we have many original vessels that have been lovingly restored for the rough and tumble of charter sailing.
UK Historic Ships Register
Five of the vessels you can sail on are on the UK Historic Ships Register and part of our National Core Collection. Unlike the Cutty Sark, they roam far and wide on the deep blue sea...and all of them are wooden vessels in superb condition and fully safety coded for commercial charter. They are Irene, Bessie Ellen, Leader, Provident, and Golden Vanity.
Read more about our vessels on the the Historic Ships Register
Re-building Examples of our Working Boats
The British Isles has a huge varity of sailing conditions from sheltered creeks and estuaries to the 'ground swell' seas of the Western Approaches and the tidal races and whirlpools in rock strewn Scillies or NW Scotland. This challenge for boat building resulted in very distinctive types of vessel being built in different parts of the country and a hugely rich variety of working boats for local fishing and cargo transport. Sadly very few examples of these traditional craft have survived, compared with the hundreds that once worked our coasts and inshore waters.
Historic Replicas You Can Sail
Classic Sailing now have quite a collection of wooden replicas of the types of working craft that were once common around UK shores.
Within the fleet we represent Classic Sailing has pilot cutters, revenue luggers, privateers, sailing trawlers and tall ships of all shapes and sizes. The ships today are run by dedicated individuals who care passionately about our maritime heritage and don't need convincing of the need to preserve the craftmanship and seafaring skills that is needed to maintain and sail those ships. Many of those skills are not obsolete activities but skills that can be transferred to modern yachts or or 21st Century careers.
Sail a Lugger in Cornwall
If you want to learn to sail a lugger and find out why they were so fast, the come and try 108ft three masted lugger Grayhound. If you don't know what a lugger is, or want a mored educational page about the history of luggers in Cornwall then see our pages on Luggers in Cornwall
Luggers in Cornwall - page to be written
Cornwall Sailing on West Country Trading Ships
1904 Bessie Ellen and 1907 Irene are the only surviving sailing examples of a fleet West Country Trading Ketches that carried cargoes around the British Isles and Europe. Their cargo holds are now providing characterful accommodation space for charter crews but both ships occasionally carry a token cargo to publicise green transport or promote quality goods like organic food, whiskies or olive oil. In the last century Bessie Ellen would have carried bulk cargoes upto 150 ton and you can still see her cargo manifesto.
Sail Pilot Cutters in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly
We founded our sailing company by commissioning the first wooden pilot cutter built by Luke Powell of Working Sail.
'Eve of St Mawes' might be only 38ft on deck but is still our 'flagship,' Luke went on great success and built 8 pilot cutters, and spawned a whole new wooden boat building industry making replica pilot cutters. There are now over 30 pilot cutters - replicas and restorations out on the water, and many come to Classic Sailing annual Pilot Cutter World Championship in Fowey and St Mawes. In recent years Luke Powell has bought back one of his own designs and now runs charter voyages on 46ft pilot cutter Agnes.
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