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Classic Boat Building — Constructing A Bristol Cutter

Video Rating: 4 / five

This high-speed video shows the construction of a Bristol Cutter. The design of this vessel was originally developed from the need for a fast boat that was capable of taking Maritime pilots from the harbour out to incoming large trading vessels. As most of the early pilots were the local fisherman who undertook both jobs they needed to be licensed by the harbour to operate within their own jurisdiction. Many of these pilots were generally self-employed, and the quickest transport meant greater income as it allowed them to go out and come back again in much quicker time than a normal fishing boat would take. As their own fishing boats were heavy working boats filled with tons and tons of nets and other fishing equipment, it soon became apparent that they needed a new type of boat.

Early boats were originally developed from single masted fishing cutter designs and twin masted yawls. These later developed into the specialist pilot cutter we know of today. These newly designed vessels were effectively light-weight and over powered single masted boats which featured large, steeply angled keels, making them deep draft under power and shallow draft in lighter sail.

It is said that the very first Bristol Channel pilot was originally a barge master by the name of George James Ray. He was commissioned by the Corporation of Bristol way back in May 1497 to pilot John Cabot's vessel, "Matthew", from Bristol harbour out to the open sea. Centuries later his descendant, George Ray guided Isambard Kingdom Brunel's "SS Great Western" out to sea in 1837, and in 1844 William Ray piloted the larger "SS Great Britain" on her maiden voyage.

This particular Bristol Cutter has been built by Mark Rolt at www.bristolclassicboat.co.uk. The boat was due to be launched at Redcliffe Wharf in Bristol in 2008 and will be based in Salcombe in Devon. It is planned that it will be used to teach sailing to underprivileged youngsters.

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16 Responses to Classic Boat Building — Constructing A Bristol Cutter

  1. bigsailboatproject on December 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Amazing vid guys!

  2. loudnesswar69 on December 11, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    WOW!Great video!cheers!

  3. 1enwar on December 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    w w w.navigare.com.ar foro de contrucion de veleros habla español

  4. haastingschap on December 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm


  5. rocaman04 on December 11, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    kool how was the launch of it

  6. msf60khz on December 11, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    The bulwarks seem to create as much problem as anything. The covering boards are difficult and the rails. Excellent video.

  7. sweetbilly on December 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Boy these guys are slow …oh wait, I got the video on pause. My bad!!

  8. Mackedinger on December 11, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    crain or a bigger ship?

  9. x2xHalox2x on December 11, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    If u guys build it 4 urself this is AWESOME, genius but how the hell u guys going 2 move that SHIP or massive yacht!!!

  10. ryanlwb2 on December 12, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Awesome! I know some of these guys! Didn’t know this video was being made, good idea!

  11. Rolton on December 12, 2010 at 1:00 am

    haha this is great

  12. javadave2 on December 12, 2010 at 1:10 am

    awesome indeed!

  13. snogelplunderdop on December 12, 2010 at 1:20 am


  14. abrownj on July 19, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Sorry, but where is the video?

  15. Admin on July 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Good question? Seems all the video links have disappeared since my move to the new server. I’ll start fixing them up again and they should be right in a day or two.

  16. Admin on August 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

    OK, it’s taking a bit longer than I expected because I have a lot of other stuff on the boil as well, but I’m starting to work my way through the list of articles and should have most of them up in a few hours or so. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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