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Eve's Skippers

Eve's Skippers

Eve of St Mawes Sailing Schedule - voyage descriptions, dates and prices

Eve's new skipper Melissa

Skipper Profile - Melissa Williams

At Classic Sailing we are thrilled to welcome back Melissa Williams as skipper for our pilot cutter ‘Eve of St Mawes’ in 2016.

For the last two years Melissa has been the mate and occasional relief skipper on 56ft cutter Eda Frandsen. With owner/skipper James and cooks like Mhairi and Chloe they made a formidable team, but the time has come to be the ‘boss’ on a smaller boat, and do it all.

Melissa has skippered Eve before, and in a very short space of time she has proved her traditional boat credentials with a wide variety of charter and sail training vessels and freelance opportunities. Apart from full on seasons on Eda Frandsen in Scotland and Cornwall, She has crewed on 3 masted lugger Grayhound in the Canaries and Cape Verde a few winters ago and before Eve’s 2016 season starts she will be sailing 84ft Bessie Ellen back from the Canaries as mate.

Melissa has also donned the white t shirt and entertained Hotel Tresanton guests for a season as skipper of the famous hotels exceedingly elegant 8 metre yacht ‘Pinuccia.’ Blocks and tackles, charter guest crews who really muck in with the sailing and wooden working boats you can live on are truly her passion now.

In her life before sailing she was an assistant in a commercial art gallery in London which she left to embark on an adventure of a life time sailing around the world as part of the 2009/10 Clipper Round the World Race. On her return she didn’t look back and has been sailing ever since. She has already spent a summer sailing around the West Coast of Scotland as a mate on Gordonstoun School 80’ oyster Ocean Spirit of Moray, who was based a short distance (by water) from Mallaig. She then made the move to the south coast to learn the art of traditional gaffer sailing and fall in love the coast of Devon and Cornwall.

Like so many sea captains through the ages, Melissa has chosen Falmouth as her home port…and just bought a house in the even older seaport of Penryn.


Skipper Profile - Debbie Purser

Debbie is Co Founder of Classic Sailing and RYA Pprincipal of Classic Sailing School.

I went on a tall ship when I was 18, after a difficult decision to drop out of university, and the experience changed my life.  I became heavily involved in sail training and youth work with young people on tall ships and large ocean going yachts.  I did go back to university, but a love of the seaDebbie Dreams about skippering a tall ship ! was ever present, and eventually it got me !

I met Adam on a tall ship in Scotland and we began to explore ways to create adventure sailing on tall ships and traditional boats for adults - not just disadvantaged youths.  Many years later we created Classic Sailing together to provide just that and I am still very proud of what we have achieved in the last 15 years and the choice of vessels and destinations we now offer for anybody with a spirit of adventure (and if you think you have'nt got one - we'll find it)

In the early days I would skipper Eve every other week and run the office for the week in between. I don't spend as much time skippering Eve now as there are heaps of other exciting sailing experiences that need promoting through our website. When I do find myself on Eve as skipper - once or twice a month -  I really appreciate how special it is to be based in Cornwall with a gorgeuos looking boat, nice company and go exploring this stunning coastline.


I am currently developing Artists voyages on Eve and maybe Bessie Ellen, investigating voyages to Iceland and Greenland and developing  a marine photography voyage with photography lecturer Tony Hopewell. Love walking our dog Rio on the beaches of the Roseland.

I did a tri-athlon last year and was almost last, so training to do better this year (mid life crisis).

Georgia on Falmouth Working Boat EvelynGuest Skipper - Georgia Witchell

Georgia is no longer working for Classic Sailing but survived a heroic 5 years in the office as our sales manager

Whilst she worked for us she ws a part time skipper and RYA cruising instructor on Eve, and in her last summer with us was skippering about a third of all of Eve's voyages.

Whilst Georgia now has other projects ashore, we suspect the call of the sea will bring her back for some guest appearances before long.

Georgia never wastes a moment to add new sailing experiences in her weekends and holidays. She races local on Falmouth Working Boat Evelyn and modern yachts and has been the mate on a trans atlantic voyage on gaff cutter Chloe May.  Georgia also acts as a relief skipper for pilot cutter Agnes which is a fair bit bigger than Eve. 


Apart from teaching aerobics, Georgia is a keen runner and seems to catch more fresh fish on board Eve than the rest of us. In 2014 she did a Seafood Cookery course at the Philleigh Way, and this winter she is learning how to cook Indian food.


Guest Skipper - Lara Caine

Lara worked for us full time as Eve's skipper in 2008, and has regularly returned to sail her favourite blue pilot cutter.  She is currently teaching the Navy how to sea and navigate out of Dartmouth.

We are very proud of her skippering Eve to come 4th in the 2012 Pilot Cutter World Championships (Pilot Cutter Review) overall out of a fleet of 13 original and replica pilot cutters, and gaining a 2nd on handicap on the passage race from Fowey to Falmouth this year. After Charmian, Eve is the smallest and only 30ft on the waterline and we race with you - the lovely guest charter crew.  Having fun with charter guests is what Eve is designed for, but through the hard work and suggestions from Lara, James, Diggory and Patrick Selman the Sailmaker we are improving Eve's racing performance all the time.

Lara is a RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and has taught Yachtmaster Theory on an ocean going yacht in the Southern Ocean and Chilean Fjords.  She also skippers larger traditional boats like Tectona, Moosk and is relief skipper on pilot cutter Pegasus, working with another of our former skippers Diggory Rose.

Guest Skipper - Diggory Rose

Digs was Eve's skipper for two years and involved in the business side of Classic Sailing as we searched for a larger fleet of traditional sailing opportunities for adults. He left us to become commissioning skipper for a brand new pilot cutter Pegasus, being built by the sail training charity Island Trust. Digs ran Canary Sail for a year but in 2015 will be back in the UK skippering another pilot cutter Amelie Rose and running Folk Voyages with Phil Beer from Show of Hands. Now a RYA Examiner Digs has been examiner for Yachtmaster candidates on Eve, and a guest appearance on Eve during the Pilot Cutter Review last year. 


Guest Skipper – James Mackenzie

I learnt the ropes of a gaff rig prior to my travels when I spent 6 years working for Trinity Sailing as mate and then skipper of Provident a 90ft gaff ketch. Since then the gaff rig has always drawn me back, as much as I love going fast in modern race boats my real passion lies in the beauty and peace of sailing a traditional boat, as it should be sailed. This is what draws me to Eve, a beautiful boat of a size that can be ‘played’ with, where you can really get to know the crew. All this in a sailing ground that allows me to indulge my love of exploring small anchorages and harbours.

My Passions

Gliding silently and smoothly into a small anchorage, dropping anchor, and sharing a glass of wine while the sun sets. I’m rarely happier than when playing with a boat, working out how to get yourself into that elusive anchorage under sail, or alongside the quay under sail or oar without a bowsprit based mishap! Some of Eve’s crew have already found out that she can be rowed easily, a wonderful way to arrive, despite the slightly harder work! My passion for traditional sailing extends to navigation, while offshore my sextant is a constant and trusted companion.

James pioneered our Pure Wind Power Challenge voyages and was responsible for proving that Yachtmaster Exam Prep Courses could work well for students on a 14 ton pilot cutter with a 13ft bowsprit. James will be running a few Eve voyages as guest skipper-instructor in 2013, when he is not sailing his own boat Eda Frandsen.

Pure Wind Power Challenge Voyages





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