Moonrise Voyages

Simply Sailing

Pilot Boats, Old and New.

Saturday 02 July 2016        Falmouth, UK.

Ships’ captains are expert mariners but cannotL K Mitchell
possibly know every port in detail.
That’s where the pilots come in. They are locals who know their areas intimately. They go aboard ships as they approach port and guide them safely in. Nowadays pilots go out to their client ships in pilot boats like the one on the right, the 17m long L K Mitchel.

In former times pilots used boats like the one below. This is Kindly Light, surely the most perfect example of a traditional pilot cutter. Kindly LightShe was built in 1911 for the pilot Lewis Alexander at a cost of £500, a fabulous sum and 40% more than any other pilot boat of her time. She’s 16.5m long, gaff-rigged, and has no electrics and no engine, relying solely upon her sails. Indeed, she has absolutely nothing that may be considered superfluous. She is purely functional, as simple as possible and very beautiful.

In those days pilots operated on a first come first served basis. Kindly Light was so much faster than all her contemporaries that Alexander got to the incoming ships before the other pilots and thus got more jobs than anyone else. He earned almost three times the cost of building Kindly Light in her first year alone and went on to become a very wealthy man.

Kindly Light was privileged to find herself moored adjacent to Moonrise today.

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