Yacht: Mischief

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A replica of the 1906 Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter made famous by the writer and explorer HW Tilman.

With the help of yacht designer Ed Burnett, who has experience with Pilot Cutter design, RB Boatbuilding took the “family” resemblance of other Cardiff Pilot boats whose lines, ratios and coefficients exist, then using the hull photos, arrived at a set of lines to build the replica of “Mischief”. 

Sandeman Yacht Company History

“I think we all agree… that Tilman was pretty hard on his cutters, but that after all is what they were built for, not for posterity anyway.”

So wrote MISCHIEF’s builder, John Raymond-Barker in a 2003 internet forum when, together with naval architect Ed Burnett, he was seeking the lines of mountaineer, explorer, voyager, and author H.W. “Bill” Tilman’s Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter MISCHIEF.

They never did ‘just find’ her lines: after all, these were boats first sculpted as a half-model by their builders, then constructed quickly in the time-honoured way; to do a job; that they did very well – and after sail gave way to motor, many became enjoyed as excellent long distance cruising yachts.

This MISCHIEF’s lines instead result from Burnett and Raymond-Barker’s deeply informed research in creating an as near as possible replica of the 1906 Thomas Baker of Cardiff designed and built original, which became internationally famous through Tilman’s ownership from 1954 until her 1968 loss at Jan Mayen in the Arctic Ocean.

And thus, posterity was in fact achieved. And thank goodness for it. The original MISCHIEF became surely the most universally known of the pilot cutters. What an exciting project and wonderful result.

Completed and launched in 2008, MISCHIEF has became a much loved family cruiser and sailed extensively in the Inner and Outer Hebrides from her Oban base. She participated in the Scottish Islands Peaks Race before heading south in 2013. After stops in the Scillies, Northern France and La Rochelle, she crossed the Bay of Biscay to a new home in Vigo in north west Spain. Two years of wonderful Galician cruising followed, the highlight being the annual cruise with locals around the Cies Islands.

In 2015 MISCHIEF passed through the Straight of Gibraltar bound for Mallorca, where she (very slowly) circumnavigated the island – over a blissful two years! In 2017 she was bound for home and a refit in her home port of Bristol under the watchful eye of her original builder.

The refit was completed in 2019 and she was sailed to Gweek, Cornwall to over-winter, ready for the new season. And then sadly for us all Covid-19 struck.

MISCHIEF has been lightly used since her extensive refit in 2018/19, spending winters safely alongside Gweek Quay and summers on her mooring in St. Just in Roseland (possibly the best kept secret in the South West of England). She is ready for new adventures.

Designer: Ed Burnett
Type of Boat: Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter
Rig: Gaff Cutter
Year Built: 2008
Built By: RB Boatbuilding, Bristol, UK
LOA m / ft: 18.2m / 59'9"
LOD m / ft: 13.72m / 45'
LWL m / ft: 11.58m / 38'
Beam m / ft: 3.96m / 13'
Draft m / ft: 2.29m / 7'6"
Yard No:
Sail Stats
Construction: Carvel larch on oak
Displacement 25 Tonnes Beta Marine 75 hp Diesel

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