Sailing yachts

Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter

(REF: 18319)


  • Designer: Traditional
  • Builder: Bowdens of Porthleven
  • Year: 1909
  • Location: Gloucester
  • Length on deck: 38'
  • Beam: 11'6''
  • Draft: 6'
  • Tonnage: 18TM

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Full specification

Wooden Ships Comments on this Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter

Built in 1909 by Bowdens of Porthleven as a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, one of the smaller boats in the fleet but no less seaworthy than her bigger sisters.  She was launched from the same yard in the same year as Olga, another well know Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter.

Her history is well documented with many long distance adventures, in the present long ownership she has sailed numerous times to northern Norway, Svalbard and Greenland and has proven herself with many voyages through incredibly rough weather.

She had a thorough survey in 2017 after sustaining damage to her mast.  The result of this was a new mast fitted in 2018 plus a lot of work to the hull and decks to get her into shape.

In 2022 she has had significant professional repairs to the aft deck, deck beams and transom.

A smaller Pilot Cutter like this has many attractions, not least how easy she is to handle compared to the larger boats.  Her rig is that much smaller so there is less weight and power to control therefore requiring a smaller crew to sail her safely.  This will be a huge attraction to many buyers as the difficulty of getting crew is something which haunts many boat owners.  Her interior still has up to 6 berths with good headroom and enough storage space for supplies and equipment on long passages.

A pedigree pilot cutter with a long rich history which is in good sound condition and ready to sail.  2017 survey available along with a list of work carried out recently.


Length on Deck                 38′

Length Overall                   52′

Length Waterline             38′

Beam                                    11’6″

Draft                                      6′

Thames Tonnage             18TM


  • Planked in Larch, fastened with galvanise dumps to heavy grown and sawn oak frames.
  • Grown oak floors across the centreline.
  • External Iron ballast keel fastened with galvanised steel and wrought iron bolts, a selection last drawn in 2014.  Some internal lead ballast, total ballast weight approximately 5 tons.
  • Straight laid solid Douglas Fir deck caulked and payed in the traditional manner.  Much of the deck has been professionally renewed in 2018.  Bulwark all round on stanchions mounted through the coverboard.
  • Small coachroof with varnished mahogany coamings and bronze portholes.
  • The large cockpit is deep and safe with thwarts either side giving access to deep lockers.  Tiller steering with a transom hung rudder.  Not the traditional small Pilot Cutter cockpit but it is far more practical for offshore voyages as the crew can shelter safely in it without interfering with the helm.


  • Gaff cutter rig on a keel stepped varnished spruce pole mast.  Mast was new in 2018.
  • Varnished wooden bowsprit, gaff yard and roller reefing boom with the usual large Appledore roller mechanism found on Pilot Cutters.
  • Galvanised wire standing rigging new in 2014, parcelled and served with dead eyes and lanyards to external galvanised chain plates.  Forestay new in 2016.
  • All halyards and sheets on tackles, a well planned rig that has been improved over many long voyages to make it as simple and strong as possible.
  • Mainsail, staysail and 2 jibs all from 2014 by Patrick Selman, made from Clipper Canvas.  Topsail and large staysail from 2000.


  • Beta Marine 43hp 4cyl diesel installed new in 2003.
  • Hydraulic gearbox with single lever controls to a centreline 4 blade bronze propeller gives 5 knots cruising speed at 1 gallon/hour.
  • Overhaul on the engine in 2018, All engine electrics replaced including control panel and loom and gearbox rebuilt by manufacturer.
  • 1 engine start battery and 2 x 100ah domestic batteries, all charged from the engine alternator.
  • 180 litre fuel tank plus a 30 litre day tank.
  • 20 gallons of fresh water.
  • 1 manual bilge pump and 2 electric bilge pumps.


  • 6/7 berths including a large double with over 6′ headroom in the saloon.
  • Steps down with a galley to starboard and chart desk to port.  Large quarter berth to port.
  • Galley has a new 2 burner gas stove, double stainless sink and large work surface.
  • Cosy saloon with nice panelled joinery.  Settee berth either side and a central saloon table.
  • Diesel fired cabin heater plus a hot air heating system off the engine.
  • Forward cabin with a large double to starboard and stowage beneath.  single berth to port with a pipe cot above.
  • Heads in the fore peak with a manual sea toilet which discharges directly overboard.  Lots of storage space in the forepeak.


  • Steering compass
  • Garmin GPSmap 5017 chart plotter
  • AIS
  • Log and sounder


  • ENO 2 burner gas stove
  • Bunk and berth cushions
  • Diesel cabin heater
  • Baby Blake sea toilet


  • Mainsail
  • Working staysail
  • Large staysail
  • Working jib
  • Large jib
  • All sails 2014 and in good condition
  • Topsail from 2000 but useable
  • Square sail with yard, approx. 9 years old


  • 2 x fishermans anchors
  • Plough anchor
  • 100m x 1/2” chain
  • Manual anchor windlass


  • 6 person life raft – needs service


  • Engine spares
  • Rigging spares inc. rope and blocks


  • 4 person inflatable dinghy

Wooden Ships classic yachts brokers have an extensive database of boats for sale. With a wide range of sailboats, classic yachts, motor yachts and small classic boats, Wooden Ships has one of the largest selections of traditional wooden boats and yachts for sale in the UK.


These particulars have been prepared in good faith from information provided by the Vendors and are intended as a guide, Wooden Ships cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. The Purchaser should instruct his agent or surveyor to validate all details as necessary and satisfy himself with the condition of the vessel and its equipment.

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