It’s an exciting time to announce that the 45ft LOA Bristol Pilot Cutter, Polly Agatha, has passed into new hands with a new Master at the helm, writes Kim Hartley skipper and owner of the replica pilot cutter since her launch in 2007. Mark Boardman has now bought her and she will be based out of Portland.
I have had the most amazing 12 years both building Polly Agatha as well as skippering her through so many great adventures and visiting so many wonderful ports, harbours and anchorages in so many different countries!
Two things in particular stand out for me. Firstly the Pilot Cutter and traditional vessel fraternity who engaged, encouraged and entertained us all so readily, it has been a joy to play a small part in their world.
Secondly, my customers, many of whom have become firm friends (it’s what happens when you scare the hell out of people and then buy them a drink!) and who have enhanced the experience of owning a piece of history like Polly Agatha so much. The people who come and sail are an eclectic group of intelligent and enthusiastic sailors from all walks of life who add so much to the experience and enjoyment of any voyage and I have to say it is this element I will miss most. People always make the difference.
I couldn’t write this email without mentioning the yacht’s creator and boatbuilder, the Master Shipwright who is Dave Cockwell! I first met Dave in Poole onboard one of his superb ‘Superyacht’ tenders and was blown-away by the craftsmanship and detail which he and his team worked into that vessel. The thought that he could apply that level of ‘style’ into a working Pilot Cutter was entrancing. I was sold!
Two years in build and every moment a fascination for me. Having a yacht built like this is an amazing experience and one I will never forget. I’ve been very lucky and for that I am grateful beyond words.
Polly Agatha is 60ft over spars and 45ft on deck. She displaces 26tonnes and is an exact copy of the Peggy built in 1904 by Rowles of Pill in Bristol. She is still sailing today in the waters she was built for, cruising, racing, and winning! Dave Cockwell owner of Cockwells Modern and Classic Boatbuilding has known Peggy for many years and sailed her on numerous occasions. One of his dreams was to build a replica of Peggy. He admired her because of her outstanding sailing abilities. Peggy has a mass of clear deck space and large spacious accommodation down below. There is also plenty of room for a full size navigation area and a powerful engine. She has a large galley and saloon capable of accommodating her full crew. Diccon and Jan Pridie (her owners) often sail her with just the two of them, but it is preferable to sail with a crew even if only for soial reasons.
I also could not finish these words without mentioning the wonderful support given to me by my family who suffered my complete infatuation with the project as well as my long absences from home! They do now realise I was ‘hard-wired’ to do this in my life and I think they forgive me now.
I would also like to thank my very best friends, Alex Day, Ollie Johnson and Adrian Parker, all of whom added immeasurably to my knowledge and enjoyment.
And so to the future. Owning a piece of maritime history makes you very aware that you are merely a ‘custodian’ of the vessel and many Masters will Skipper her before her days are ended.
Mark Boardman who now takes over, first visited Polly Agatha at the Southampton Boat Show 11 years ago and came onboard as a prospective customer. He then sailed on her many times, often leading crew and explaining manoeuvres to the less experienced shipmates as well as ‘Piloting’ us around the Channel Islands to great effect, an area he knows so well.
Mark will no doubt bring a different style of leadership to Polly and certainly new enthusiasm and knowledge which is always a good thing – I wish him well with his venture. Anyone who takes on commercial sailing needs to be congratulated for their courage, determination and knowledge of traditional seamanship that keeps these vessels alive, sailing and not merely ‘exhibits’ in a museum.
I hope many of you will enjoy sailing with Mark, as too will I – as a ‘guest’!
Ann and I intend to explore far and wide in our steel (yes I did say steel) South African built, Bermudan Cutter – Ilanda. She is a blue water cruiser built to journey the World and we really don’t know how far we will get or how long it will take. You can follow our progress, if you wish, on Facebook at ….. S/Y Ilanda. And we very much hope that many of you will come and join us at various points in our travels.
Until then, thank you once again for being such great ‘folk’ and making my last decade so enjoyable.
For Polly Agatha’s schedule for 2019 see: www.polly-agatha.co.uk