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Pilot Cutter Review - otherwise known as the Pilot Cutter World Championships

Voyage Number Vessel Starting Port Ending Port
EV250516 Eve of St Mawes St Mawes, Cornwall St Mawes, Cornwall
Booking fee Voyage duration Start date and time End date and time
GBP £20.00 5 days
25/05/2016 - 15:00 to 30/05/2016 - 10:00
25/05/2016 - 15:00 to 30/05/2016 - 10:00
Berth Type Availability Price Special Price
Per Person Provisionally Full GBP £695.00 n/a
Voyage Description:

The Classic Sailing Pilot Cutter World Championship 2016

Find more about this years Pilot Cutter Review and dates here. 

Now in our 11th year, this event is organised by ourselves, with a lot of help from local businesses and the pilot cutter owners themselves. Many of the vessels are owned by private owners but Eve of St Mawes is a charter vessels you can become part of the race crew on for this event.

What is it Like Racing Eve ?

Eve is usually one of the smallest cutters racing, but she has a big heart and upto 5 sails to set and trim. You don't need any experience as our skippers are used to training novice crews and you have a day and a half to get used to the boat by sailing her from St Mawes to the first welcome party in Fowey on the Thurday night. The passage on Friday is offically a Sail in Company so it gives your spectacular photography opportunties and a chance to break yourself gently into the idea of competing. We do time the passage, so you can treat it as a race if you want to.  The sailing on Eve is fairly energetic and there are no winches, but the decks are wide enough to walk down, even in rough weather, with a decent bulwark and guard rails to keep you safe. 


Creating Scenes from the Past

prime cellars and Hesper setting sailYes there is plenty of racing at the annual Pilot Cutter World Championships, but it is a lot more than a summer sailing event. It’s about creating evocative scenes out on the water and in the ports where the fleet gather each evening. The beauty of our two venues Fowey and St Mawes for the fleet of pilot cutters is their timeless quality and intimate scale. Visually you could travel back in time to a period where vessels had to set sails to move off the berth or weigh anchor.

Owners of pilot cutter Hesper provided the artists setting for the welcome party in Fowey... Prime Cellars with its twisted slate roof nestling under the Polruan woods has its own stone quay – ideal to lay a pilot cutter or two against the wall but originally used for salting the fish catch. Fowey Harbour Commissioners allowed visiting pilot cutters to raft up in the river 20 yards from our hosts and we all rowed over for the free beer from St Austell Brewery, local cheeses and apples. Looking through the sea of masts, deadeyes, blocks and tackles it was hard to believe virtually all the pilot cutters attending this year were replicas.


Celebrating Boatbuilding & Restorations

Eve of St Mawes, Hesper, Agnes Amelie Rose and Freja are all built by Luke Powell of Working Sail. As a former owner of Charmian, Luke could claim he designed the prettiest half of Charmian too (He rebuilt the aft half of this historic wooden working boat in that famous fan tail counter style that became the inspiration for his first pilot cutter Eve).

Other Cornish wooden boatbuilding is also represented well by by Cockwell’s Modern & Classic Boatbuilding Ltd, builders Polly Agatha and Merlin. Bristol built boats include both the historic original Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters like Mascotte, Cornubia, Olga, Peggy, Marguerite – all regular festival racers…as well as recent replica pilot cutters like Pegasus and Edith Grey.

Kochi was built in India and in 2015 Le Harvre pilot cutter Jolie Brise will be attending the Review again.


St Austell Brewery Tribute Passage Race

St Austell Brewery have been very supportive each year offering free beer to crews in Fowey and a passage race cup. The sail out the entrance of Fowey is a stunning sight and the 20 miles along the coast is more of a Sail in Company than a race and a great way of training the guest crews for the next few days racing. It is also a photographers paradise.

St Mawes Bay – Historic Base for Pilot Cutters

Open to the South West, St Mawes Bay provides a clear view of the Manacles and down towards the Lizard. Gaining a head start on the Falmouth based pilot cutters, several large pilot cutters were based in the village, and its boatyards were famous for building fast pilot gigs. Classic Sailing created the pilot cutter review event to celebrate the local pilot trade connection, and the local community gets a great thrill from hosting the ‘big’ pilot cutter racing as an extra annual event to complement its Falmouth Working Boat ‘World Championships and various gig boat events.

St Mawes Bay is less than half a mile wide and with hills all around makes a perfect amphitheatre for visitors and locals to watch the start and finish of each race. The Social Club provide supper – one of their favourites is a huge paella crew supper with locally caught fish on the terrace.

Saturday Pilot Cutter Racing

If you want to show off your boat then anchor it in the middle of the bay, not alongside in a marina. St Mawes Pier & Harbour Company have girls crew at Fowey pilot cutter gatheringsponsored the event every year, allowing the fleet to anchor just off the historic harbour wall, and amazing the tourists as pilot cutter after pilot cutter come around the headland on Friday afternoon and drop anchor after the finish line off St Mawes Castle.

On the Saturday we typically have two short races with a pursuit start in St Mawes Bay so the start is not too crowded but the later racing is spectacular. All finishes are back into St Mawes.

The cutters then usually find a good spot to raft up or anchor for a BBQ and bit of boat comparing and a sing song or two. The River Fal is a popular spot but it might be the Helford River - depending on the wind direction.

Sunday Pilot Cutter Racing

If both races have been completed on the Saturday, then there is only one race on the Sunday, with time afterwards to all head for St Mawes Sailing Club and the prize giving.  Our voyage on Eve includes Sunday night, so you can travel home in the morning.

2015 Event Programme

Our office sales travel consultant Georgia sailed as crew on Eve at 2011 event, so read about her first experience of sailing Classic Sailing's tiny flagship.Georgia's story



PDF icon VN - Pilot Cutter Review 2012.pdf906.39 KB

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