Cariad

Builder: E Rowles, Pill, near Bristol 

Build Date: 1904

Length on Deck: 47 ft (14.33 m)

Beam: 12.75 ft (3.89 m)

Displacement: 30 Tonnes

Thames Tonnage: 25

Draught: 7.50 ft (2.29 m)

Present Location: Dartmouth

Owner: Ken Briggs

Website: www.cariad.org

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CARIAD (welsh for loved one) was built in 1904 by Edwin ‘Cracker’ Rowles at Pill near Bristol for the Cardiff pilot, Thomas Richards, and she was registered at Cardiff on February 9th 1905. When the Cardiff pilots were amalgamated in 1913, Cariad was sold, with all the other Cardiff pilot cutters, to the Steam Pilot Boat Company (Cardiff and Bristol Channel) Limited. Cariad was one of four pilot cutters kept in service pending the arrival of the steam cutters that were to replace them. On February 6th 1914 the company resolved to sell Cariad, and she was duly acquired by a Bristol pilot, Enoch Watkins of Pendarvis, Pill. After the death of Watkins in 1916, ownership stayed with his widow, and Cariad was used by other Bristol pilots, namely George Thomas, Christopher Case and Leonard Vowles. Cariad’s station was near the Breaksea lightship, and it was here on Tuesday December 12th 1922 that the era of sailing pilot cutters came to a close, when the steam cutter Queen Mary came down channel to relieve her.

Cariad was sold to a Lieutenant E.N. Waugh of the Naval Reserves. He put an engine in her, but she had been laid up for 18 months by the time he sold her. The buyer was Frank Carr, who went on to be a notable maritime historian and director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. She featured in Frank Carr’s book ‘A Yachtsman’s Log’.
She was preserved afloat at the Exeter Maritime Museum in the 1970’s and despite good intentions she fell into disrepair. In 1997 she was rescued by Ken Briggs and underwent restoration in Portishead, just a few miles from where she was built. Cariad was re-launched in 2006.