Builder: J Slade and Sons, Polruan 

Build Date: 1911

Length on Deck: 52 ft (15.85 m)

Beam: 13.7 ft (4.17 m)

Displacement: 30 Tonnes

Thames Tonnage: 33

Draught: 7.3ft (2.22 m)

Present Location: Plymouth

Owner: Tony Winter


J Slade and Sons built Cornubia for Pilot Morrice of Barry who sailed her from Fowey to Barry to start work. Off Lands End they fell in with a steamer bound for Barry so Morrice shipped aboard and so the boat was earning good money before she even arrived at her home port.

She was sold out of the pilotage service around 1917 when steam cutters took over and the pilots amalgamated. She had a succession of owners including one who owned the island of Hirta in Scotland and he renamed the boat after the island as she took his shooting parties there. During the WW2 she was lent to the Sea Cadets on the Clyde as a training vessel and so made her modest contribution to the war effort.

Perhaps her best known owner in recent years has been Tom Cunliffe who together with his family cruised her extensively for many years and included visits to Greenland and the US amongst many more, with trips for TV series as well. She became famous under Tom’s ownership and so it was with some trepidation that the decision was taken to revert to her original name when rebuilding became necessary.

The rebuild was accomplished over many years with the attempt to get as much original design and fabric into the restored vessel. In fact only 8 pieces of original timber were eventually saved, but these do include the 1911 beam carving of her official number and tonnage. Also original is much of the ironwork on the mast, the chainplates, her brass builders’ plate and a charming copper and brass shield of the coat of arms of Cornwall with ship’s name and build date , presumably presented to her owner by the builder. It was not possible to use the original mast but a sound section of it was cut down to make the boom, the old one of which was similarly used to make a bowsprit.

She was rebuilt by T.Nielsen and Co. at Gloucester and relaunched in 2010.

Winner Cock o’ the Bristol Channel Race, BCPCOA race series, May 2010.

Winner Pilot Cutter Review St.Mawes June 2010.

Based Plymouth and coded by MCA for commercial work, which this year has included filming, charter trips and specialising in sailing for disabled children (please see PDF downloads for more information)

Sailing on Cornubia, report 2016

Sailing on Cornubia, report 2015