Call to rescue a Rare Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter

2019-03-14T17:29:20+00:00 March 14th, 2019|News|0 Comments

 A meeting to help rescue the Frolic, a 1905 Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter has been called for Wednesday 20th of March at 7pm in the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club.

CS ran a story on the cutter which was due to be cut up by chainsaw at the end of  January. Initial reaction to the story created a stay of execution to the  Frolic which now has until May before swhe has to be removed from her field in Norway. Organiser of the meeting William Loram hopes there is still time to act to bring her back to where the revolutionary Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter first earned her living in 1905, when Cardiff was one of the busiest coal ports in the world.

“The aim of this meeting is to bring this historic sailing pilot cutter back to Cardiff for a public restoration, and then make her the flagship of Cardiff maritime history as an attraction and education resource,” William says. The meeting will discuss logistics of a rescue and perhaps launch a funding campaign. The Frolic is in need of a total rebuild. Anyone with any interest in such a venture is urged to attend or to get in touch with William in person. Please also spread the word so that as many people as possible can learn about the meeting.

The inaugural meeting for Frolic Rescue is at 7pm Wednesday 20 March at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club ( CF11 0JL) for anyone wo can lend a hand to the rescue mission.

For more information contact Will Loram at or 07918 736140

Our story in late December headlined:  Rare Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter could be destroyed

One of the last few remaining Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters, the Frolic, built in 1905 is in danger of being cut up and destroyed.

The Frolic has been under cover in a field on an island NW of Bergen in Norway since 2006. She was brought there for repair – a total rebuild is likely – by Tjark Nieuweling, but is now in danger of being cut up since the boat has to be removed by 31st January 2019.

On the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters Owners Association page online the Frolic is described thus: “Frolic was built for Pilot Alf Edwards of Cardiff. After amalgamation she was converted to a yacht and subsequently when in the ownership of N.A. and J.S Bacon in the early 1930s and under Major Crosthwaite-Eyre in the later 1930s achieved considerable racing success. Most memorably she won, on-handicap, the Bristol Channel Race of 1936 when helmed by the venerable Frank Trott, the retired Bristol Channel Pilot. In 1952 she was bought by Peter Stubbs who restored her, converting her to schooner rig to be more manageable with his family. In the late 1970s she was sold to her present owner and has remained in Norway since then and is currently undergoing restoration.”

It seems though that tiome has run out for the cutter and she is in danger of being cut up or destroyed if she cannot be moved on by the end of January. Bristol Channel Pilot specialist boatbuilder John Raymond Barker says the job looks likely to be a complete rebuild, which would cost an estimated £400,000 to have done professionally. “It’s a pity she couldn’t have been sunk somewhere she could be preserved at least until someone with the wherewithal to rebuild her came along – at least that would preserve her,” he told CS.

A friend of Tjark, Atle Sundal, has got in touch with us and sent the photos below. Atle said anone interested in the vessel can contact him directly. She would go free to the right person. His email is

For his telephone number please contact Classic Sailor direct. Click on images to enlarge them.

Stem section

Planking around the sternpost

Quarter sections showing old oak frames

The deck under its plastic cover








Rebuilding had started with refastening of planks

Work has now stopped on Frolic








Builder: J.Westmacott of Cleave
Designer: C.Hancock
Build Date: 1905
Length over all: 55ft  (16.67m)
Beam: 13.40ft  (4.06m)
Displacement: 35 (Thames tonnage)
Draught: 8.70ft  (2.64m)

Main photo shows Frolic in the foreground with her Cardiff mainsail and an unidentified Newport cutter, date unknown from the Bristol Museum’s archive.