BRISTOL CHANNEL PILOT CUTTER FOR RESTORATION
Believed to be the second oldest Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter and the only remaining example of a ‘Coopers of Pill’ built cutter.
Built in 1887 by Coopers of Pill (Bristol) for Pilot Albert Cope, ‘Breeze’ started her working life as a Cardiff Pilot Cutter in 1887 and continued to work primarily in the same family ownership until around 1912.
At 39ft on deck and transom sterned she is one of the smaller cutters, research into her pilotage records show that despite this she was very active, with, it would appear some long cruises in search of ships to provide pilotage for. Considering her relatively long working career, she must also have been very profitable, particularly as in 1905 she is listed as being sold to one of the best known pilots, Lewis Alexander. Coopers built boats were not considered as fast as some of the boats by other builders but were known to be very seaworthy. Another Coopers boat was the ‘Dyarchy’ which was the inspiration for the Laurent Giles designed yacht of the same name.
‘Breeze’ was lifted out of the water in 1995 with the intention of carrying out work following a survey. The survey highlighted that in all probability, almost all of the original framing would need to be replaced, as would the Stem post, hull planking, decks and deck beams. In other words a full rebuild was necessary. Whilst attempting to get the balance of magic ingredients (time & money) needed for the rebuild, all of the concrete ballast, engine & interior fittings were removed. As time went by & other more urgent projects had taken priority, the decision was made to try and get her under cover. In 2008 she was loaded onto a trailer and moved to a barn on a local farm, where she could be stored with at least ¾ of her hull under cover (the bows are still open to the elements). Unfortunately recent diagnoses of a serious illness within the family, has meant that long term projects are no longer an option, and so ‘Breeze’ is now for sale.
This is a unique opportunity, there are only 18 known examples of the original cutters left, her provenance and pilotage records alone make her something that a replica can never be. The fact that she is the only surviving Coopers built cutter, and with the influence that her sister 'Dyarchy' had upon post war yachting, is something that none of the other cutters can claim.
I have to politely ask that as ‘Breeze’ is stored on private property, even if you know where she is stored please contact me organise viewing times in advance, There are livery stables in operation on the property, and casual visitors are discouraged. An unannounced visit may cause friction with the farmer and as the only access route to get ‘Breeze’ to the main road is across the farmers fields this is not a good idea!
To summarise: The hull will need to be completely rebuilt, i.e reframed, replanked, and redecked, plus new stem post and possibly sternpost.
The mast had rotted at deck level and the lower 6ft went missing (probably used as firewood) when she was on the harbourside, the remainder including all fittings is stored on deck.
The gaff, boom (complete with original ‘Appledore roller reefing’), & Bowsprit are stored away from the hull but are present, as is the rudder.
Standing rigging is probably only as use as a pattern.
Running rigging: Not very much of this was usable when she was lifted out so some was ditched, any remaining will need replacing but may be of use for temporary use.
Blocks etc: Most had had a hard life & some went missing when in storage, but the main & peak blocks & the mainsheet are all stored together away from the hull.
Sails: Main, jib, Staysail, & ‘Jenoa’, date from the 1970’s and are Tan coloured in man made material, all usable.
The engine, an old Leyland lorry engine was considered beyond economical repair when removed from the hull & so was scrapped.
During the time between lifting ‘Breeze’ out of the water and the present time I have accumulated several tons of Oak which was sawn into slabs of various thickness, ready for use. As most of this is still stored at the saw mills I will need to check and inventory it, but see no reason why any that is considered of importance for the rebuild could not be for sale by separate negotiation.
The trailer that was used move her to the barn, is a modified articulated lorry trailer, the intention when modifying it was not just to use it as a trailer but to allow it to take the place of a cradle when work was carried out on the hull. As such it is no longer road legal (if towed behind a lorry), so could not be used for transporting the hull, but could still fulfil its purpose within a yard. If this is required then again, I am willing to enter into a separate negotiation for both the trailer & if required the towing dolly that hitches up to a tractor or similar.
‘Breeze’ is located in West Somerset, approximately 30 miles from either Taunton, Bridgwater, or Barnstaple. The nearest motorway junctions are M5 J23, 25 & 27, these are approximately 1 hour away by car. She can be moved to a point with easy access to the A39, for the purposes of transporting her. Local crane companies are based in either of the above mentioned towns. the purchaser is responsible for all lifting and transport costs.
I am attempting to put together a website with additional information and photo's but my time is very limited so this may not happen straight away, contact me to see if it is available for limited access.
Any questions please ask