Boatbuilder Luke Powell from Working Sail Ltd has won the Classic Boater of the Year award at the Classic Boat Awards 2021.  

The Classic Boater of the Year award was won by Luke Powell of Working Sail, the Cornish shipwright who has built nine pilot cutters, the largest of which, Pellew, was launched last year.  The boat was built by Powell and a team that included apprentice shipwrights.

From 1997-2012, Powell built eight traditional Scillonian-style pilot cutters.  After buying Agnes back from her owner, he and wife Joanna spent the last few years chartering.  In 2020, Luke completed his ninth pilot cutter Pellew, three times the displacement of his next biggest.  He now runs the Rhoda Mary Shipyard in Truro, where Pellew was built, as a traditional boatyard and training centre and, as soon as Covid allows, will charter both Pellew and Agnes.  As a builder of large, traditional vessels, he is unrivalled.

Powell thanked those who voted and paid tribute to his wife Joanna, saying: “She does everything. Without her I’d be sitting in a corner wondering what to do.”

Pellew itself was also runner-up in the Traditional New Build category.  Pellew was built for Falmouth Pilot Cutter CIC, one of our Shipshape Network South West projects.  She is a faithful recreation of one of the longest-surviving and best-documented of the cutters, the Vincent; built in 1852 for the Vincent family of St Mawes.  

Pellew is the largest traditional gaff cutter in the country built using traditional skills.  Using drawing plans and an original builder's model found in St Mawes and given to Ralph Bird, Devoran Pilot gig binder, Luke Powell has also been able to bring his own experience of building Scillonian Pilot cutters to the project.  

Pellew was launched on 29th February 2020, and in June and July 2021 she will be heading North to explore the west coast of Scotland.  A perfect playground for her with great sailing to be had alongside some perfect opportunities for exploration ashore.  The team always enjoy their summer adventures and look forward to heading out to the Outer Hebrides as much as possible and hopefully even St Kilda is the weather allows.  Check out Pellew's 2021 sailing schedule.

Find out all the winners


Luke Powell