This office now has what is
possibly the most comprehensive resource of technical information and
understanding of original Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters anywhere. Ed
Burnett has experience of several complete and ongoing restorations
and is involved in various replica and other new build projects.
The Pilot Cutter label is stuck on many boats by many
people. As far as we are concerned, if an individual boat has put a
pilot onto a ship, it is a Pilot Cutter. If it hasn't, it isn't.
The variation of hull form in original Pilot Cutters is
rather greater than many would suggest, with each builder working to
his own model in what was relative isolation gauged by modern
standards of communication. Having been involved with various of the original boats, we now have computerised hull models of several that give a
fascinating insight into the technical aspects of their performance.
Originally, these boats were ballasted with Iron set in
concrete in the bilges. The distribution of ballast was one of the
contributing factors to their famed seakindliness.
In the course of a restoration project it is frequently
necessary to remove this ballast, and given that the distribution of
weights may have changed over time (for example following the
addition of an engine), it is usually the
case that some re-arrangement of the ballast is called for. Here we
see some of the calculations for the ballasting of Marion,
re-built by David Walkey and team at Gweek in Cornwall,
with technical assistance from this office.
With relatively few original boats surviving, there is
always the possibility of a new build inspired by one or several of
the known cutters. These are preliminary drawings for a boat based on
the Hambly built Cariad. This office has
provided consultancy services to other new build projects based on
Mischief and Baroque (both of Tilman fame).