Certificate no 2128
Status Registered


Function Fishing Vessel
Location Bristol
Vessel type Looe Lugger
Current use Unknown
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Pearce, Richard, East Looe
Built in 1926
Hull material Wood
Rig Gaff Ketch
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 2
Propulsion Sail
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Inboard diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
12.00 feet (3.66 m)
6.00 feet (1.83 m)
Length: Overall
40.00 feet (12.20 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



White Heather, built by Richard Pearce at East Looe, Cornwall, in 1926, was first owned by the four Thomas brothers at Mevagissey, but later fished out of Falmouth for various owners before being laid up on moorings in the Fal.

Norman Laity, of St Ives, converted her back to sail in 1988, then sold her on to Fred Hindley, who ran sailing trips out of Fowey. 

In 1992, she was bought and underwent an extensive restoration by the late Mike Mackay-Lewis, with the help of Paul Greenwood, author of “Once aboard a Cornish Lugger”, and current chairman of the Cornish Lugger Association. She was stripped down to her bare hull, many planks and the transom was renewed, using over 1,200 galvanised fastenings. In 2003, she sailed from Cornwall to Morocco and Brazil, returning to the UK via the Caribbean.

White Heather is sound and seaworthy, major work was carried out, again, in 2005, when the keel bolts and garboards were replaced and the 6 cylinder 82 hp Leyland-Thornycroft engine and gearbox was remanufactured by Injection Marine of Bristol. 

Following a refit in Bristol in 2011, she appeared as a guest at the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival. She was out of the water for a further refit in 2014. On both occasions two planks were replaced. In 2015 the decks were sheathed with woven roving fibreglass and epoxy resin. 

Out of the hundreds of Cornish luggers that were built, White Heather is one of only thirty in sea-going order surviving today. Source: www.whiteheather.org.uk, August 2015

Key dates

  • 1926

    Built by Richard Pearce at East Looe, Cornwall and first owned by four brothers at Mevagissey

  • 1950s

    Fished out of Falmouth for various owners before being laid up at moorings in the Fal

  • 1988

    Converted back to sail by Norman Laity of St Ives

  • 1988

    Sold to Fred Hindley for sailing trips out of Fowey 

  • 1992

    Bought by Mike Mackay-Lewis and extensive restoration carried out advised by Paul Greenwood

  • 2003

    Sailed from Cornwall to Morocco and Brazil, returning to UK via Caribbean

  • 2005

    Keel bolts and garboards replaced and engine and gearbox remanufactured 

  • 2011

    Refit undertaken in Bristol followed by guest appearance at Gloucester Tall Ships Festival

  • 2014

    Removed from the water for a further refit

  • 2015

    Decks sheathed with woven roving fibreglass and epoxy resin 

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

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