At Gweek, Cornwall, Luke Powell built nine Scillonian pilot cutters and now operates one of these, the Agnes, for charter work.
The lute sterned Agnes was built on the lines of the 1841 St Agnes, the last pilot cutter on the Isle of St Agnes and the last one working from the Isles of Scilly. For three years Luke has been master minding the rebuilding of the 109ft tops’l schooner Rhoda Mary, originally built at Devoran in 1869. The Rhoda Mary was the Cutty Sark of the Home Waters, being the fastest and one of the most handsome of the coastal schooners.
The Rhoda Mary finished trading in 1924 and became a yacht based at Chatham. In World War II, the army had her moved down to the mud flats at Hoo where boys set her on fi re in about 1960. Before this, David MacGregor had taken her lines off, but his plans seem to suggest he did this with the hogged keel. Aging wooden vessels sag at either end.
Only the hull below the water line survives, but this is in good order and the lines can be taken off once she has been lifted and taken to Chatham, before being shipped to Truro for a £5m rebuild.