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Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter

Possible next project

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Dave Cooper 609/02/2021 17:02:32
305 forum posts
32 photos

Hi all, quite fancy this as my next project. Perhaps it's too ambitious as a first sailing model ? If possible, I'd like your views - pro's /con's etc....Thanks

bristol channel pilot cutter.jpg

James Hill 509/02/2021 19:32:49
126 forum posts
94 photos

Hi Dave,

I`ve no experience of building a sailing boat so can`t help you but just wanted to say that that is a very nice looking boat which I think would make an excellent model.

The colours suit it as well.

Experts on here will tell you whether it`s a good choice.

Regards, Jim.

Dave Cooper 609/02/2021 22:04:28
305 forum posts
32 photos

Thanks Jim - it certainly appeals.

Just at the research stage now - plans, drawings etc There are other working boats on my list, but, this one is tops so far.



Dave Harrison10/02/2021 05:53:03
29 forum posts
23 photos

Hi Dave

One of my favourite sailing vessels, go for it ! I'm sure I have seen fibreglass hulls for Bristol Channel Pilot cutters if you didn't fancy going down the plank on frame route. ( although in my opinion it would be worth the extra effort to build the hull from scratch on such a model )

p.s I'm not an expert !

regards Dave.

Dave Cooper 610/02/2021 09:15:37
305 forum posts
32 photos

Thanks for the reply Dave (all positive responses so far !).

Yes, Sarik list some GRP hulls for David Alderton's (and others) designs. I agree with you though, for maximum 'immersion' in the project, I should build the hull myself....

I have a stock of 3mm marine ply that could be used for frames, bulkheads etc. Not sure about the planking yet - may have to practice this on a mock-up first.


Dave C

Malcolm Frary10/02/2021 09:25:39
1027 forum posts

Done properly, they are superb sailing boats, but they are not really beginner boats. A simpler yacht will give more painless experience on the learning curve.

A past member of my club had one. His habit of an evening was to take it for a walk the half mile length of the lake, buy a cup of brew at the kiosk down there, and let it walk him back. He only considered it a good session if he had water inside the deck boat. If I remember right, he had fitted an over-size rudder to give a bit more authority when tacking.

Dave Cooper 610/02/2021 11:05:15
305 forum posts
32 photos

Words of caution ringing in my ears Malcolm !

One technical question so far - most of the existing designs seem to be around 46" hull length. This would be a tad long for my estate car, so, I was thinking of maybe 36" or so.

I could make the bowsprit 'retractable' for transport, which is quite a long spar on the pilot cutter...

Thoughts ?


Colin Bishop10/02/2021 13:22:48
4966 forum posts
6089 photos
410 articles

There is a reason why scale sailing models tend to be large and that is because it is much easier to make them sail realistically. The smaller the boat, the less it weighs and this does affect the sailing characteristics. You may only be dropping the length by a certain amount but the hull volume and displacement decreases dramatically.

Remember that the wind is the same whether you have a full size boat or a model and you need something that will cope with an average breeze on a pond.

Others on here will give you a bit more chapter and verse.


Eddie Lancaster10/02/2021 19:16:21
846 forum posts
644 photos

Hi.Dave, have a look on YouTube at Sail tails videos, Gary Webb has designed and built a semi-scale Pilot Cutter called Flyer, the hull is not true scale as it is hard chine, but it still looks good, it is designed as a model to sail and be sailed with separate control of the mainsail and three jibs.

I am waiting for the end of lockdown to be able to sail mine for the first time.

You can also look up his web site Bearospaceindustries for information on his boats.

If you would like to see some pictures let me know, I need to make an album for it.


Dave Cooper 610/02/2021 19:24:15
305 forum posts
32 photos

Thanks all for the replies. I think I've found one that will fit my car (problem is Sarik wants to sell the hull and plan in an "all-in-one" package - I'm trying to prise them apart !).

Eddie : thanks for the references....I'll chase them up now.



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