Working Sail is a book that has been written by Luke Powell who built Agnes, Eve of St Mawes and six other Pilot Cutters. As Eve was Luke’s first pilot cutter Adam and Debbie Purser of Classic Sailing have watched keenly the development of Luke’s boat building business Working Sail ever since its foundation. It would be true to say that both Working Sail and Classic Sailing have been successful in part due to each other’s promotion of pilot cutters and long may it continue.
Luke Powell is so modest about his achievements that he will probably be slightly amazed when described as a ‘national treasure’. Beginning in the early 1990s, he has almost single-handedly pioneered a revival in the building of traditional pilot cutters in Great Britain.
Happily, he also has a flair for storytelling, both when looking back over a rich unconventional life lived to the full and when describing the long struggle to win acceptance for the wooden boats on which he established his reputation as a boat builder.
A book celebrating Luke Powell’s achievements has long been overdue, and Working Sail will delight all those who love boats and the sea, or for whom the spirit of adventure is not yet dead.
Working Sail is a beautiful book in a large format with over 230 pages full of photographs, historic and modern, paintings some by Luke, drawings and the story of Pilot Cutters for nearly two hundred years.
It is highly detailed but also an excellent read with chapters on Luke’s early life in Greece, Suffolk and France. Discover how he bought Charmian in exchange for a commission to paint 50 oil paintings. Each chapter if about the ups and downs of the Pilot Cutters and the planning that leads to their creation and the background to the extraordinary people who find themselves proud owners of a Luke Powell Pilot Cutter: Eve, Lizzie May, Agnes, Hesper, Agnes returning across the Atlantic, Ezra, Tallulah, Amelie Rose. Classic Sailing gain credit in a chapter for encouraging the return of pilot cutter regattas and Luke’s latest beauty Freja and his charter plans and boat building ambitions for the future.
The last chapter is an evocative tale of the life of real Scillies pilots and the hardships they faced serving the tall ships of the British Empire with a fantastic collection of etchings, paintings and photos which speak a thousand words.
If you love wooden boats you will be enchanted by the passion that Luke shows through out the book!