The Classic Sailing love affair with pilot cutters continues with the 44ft Tallulah.

Tallulah, is based in St Mawes in summer and the River Fal in winter. She offers a long season of coastal exploration of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly from the shallowest creeks and salt marsh to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Tallulah is owned and run by Debbie Purser, one of the original founders of Classic Sailing. If you sailed with us in the early days when 38ft pilot cutter ‘Eve of St Mawes’ was our brave blue flagship, then we think you will love Tallulah. Much more space below, racer lines but that same drop, dead gorgeous looks that only a Luke Powell cutter can provide.

A huge asset to her Cornish voyages is Tallulah’s 15ft rowing tender ‘Number 8’ that can take the whole crew off on a foray ashore, explore shallow creeks and get even closer to wildlife with no outboard engine noise.
You can row with one two or three people at a time or use the battery powered electric outboard that can take you over 5 miles on one charge.

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Ship Stats

Length Overall


Length On Deck


Year Built


Vessel Type / Rig

gaff cutter

Guest Berths


Crew Berths


What this vessel does best

Our expert view: What the Pilot Cutter Tallulah Does Best

Anchoring in ‘out the way’ places

Tallulah’s skipper Debbie has spent 25 years finding secluded anchorages and spectacular settings in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly on our previous pilot cutter ‘Eve of St Mawes’. Its fair to say she can show you parts of Cornwall that few have visited and where to immerse yourself in nature.

Tallulah Pilot Cutter at anchor in the Isles of Scilly.

Learn the skills to live a coastal life

Forget rubber dinghies & petrol outboards. Tallulah has a proper rowing boat that can propel 7 guests under oar with style.

This is more than a holiday. The skipper and mate on Tallulah want you to ‘live the coastal life’ with them whilst you are on board (and look like you have been doing it for years). By introducing you to smaller boats as well as Tallulah, we aim to give you to confidence to one day create your own affordable version of messing about in boats. Its not just the sailing skills either. Try proper wild swimming; actually standing up on a paddleboard; lighting an oil lamp, or showing your partner you can eat as well as any restaurant ashore on a well provisioned yacht.

having a great sail on Tallulah Pilot Cutter

Blue Health – wellbeing & boaty bootcamps

You can pub crawl on a boat and sink gin and tonics as the sun goes down, but sometimes its just nice to wake up felling super alert and ready to take on the world.

Tallulah, Pilot Cutter, offers plenty of voyages where wine and beer is enjoyed of an evening, but she also has a few voyages with an emphasis on fitness, eating well, sleeping well and trying out new outdoor activities. Why not try one of our retreats or boaty bootcamps. Both offer living on board a sailing ship without pressure to drink alcohol in the evenings. The skipper will encourage you to try wild swimming, be happy to row ashore with you for a run or a bit of yoga on the beach. Meals will be vegetarian with a choice of refreshing non alcoholic drinks.

No 8 - Tallulah Pilot Cutter tender.
Tallulah’s BIG Rowing Boat

What to Expect

What to Expect

What to Expect – Sailing Style on pilot cutter Tallulah.

Tallulah was originally built for a couple to sail, so there are a few things to make life easier like a furling jib, but you still have to ‘sweat and tail’ plenty of halliards. She is a powerful and fast pilot cutter with a jib, staysail, gaff main sail and topsail to play with. When the boom swings over to the other side when tacking and gybing, there are 2 sets of runner backstays to adjust.

The skipper and mate will explain the emergency drills so you know how to help. We will give you a speedy course in sailing a pilot cutter on the first afternoon, cemented by immediate hands on practice. We generally sail somewhere on the first evening (so you can’t escape…)

Yoga on Tallulah Pilot Cutter
Skipper keeping flexible

The requirement for everyone to do something comes in bursts of activity when you are needed to alter course, or when setting sails (up) or handing them (down). If you get a chance to go in a straight line for a bit, life is easy.

There is a surprising variety of voyage types on Tallulah and each has a slightly different style.

If you are on passage to the Isles of Scilly or Scotland then there will be formal watches day and night so there is always an alert lookout, helm and navigator and down time for the off watch. Once in the Islands the navigation is quite advanced so even day sails might involve some attention to your surroundings as guest crew. Visit the Isles of Scilly

On a short break the sailing tends to be in 3-4 hour stints between breakfast, perhaps with an extended stop for lunch and a sail into the sunset before an evening anchorage. As long as the crew have enough people round on deck to steer or respond to a course alteration then a nap or sunbathe during the day is a perfectly civilised thing to do. If you want to learn something then just ask.

Tallulah Pilot Cutter in full flow.

Tallulah has a few intensive courses where sailing is the main thing and we will fit in as much learning experiences as the crew can handle. We do occasionally sail with volunteer mates and add opportunities for experienced or cheerful hands to bolster tougher trips for a reduced voyage fee It is worth learning the boat operations like anchoring, man overboard drills, hoving to, parking Tallulah alongside and small boat handling. Tallulah has a training syllabus you can work through if you are keen to gain valuable sea time.

Skipper Debbie and many of the guest skippers are RYA Yachtmaster Instructors so you can ask us any aspect of sailing, sailing careers or share your hopes and dreams.

Evenings – Usually either the skipper or mate will cook and the other can take the more energetic guests off to swim, row, paddleboard or go ashore for a beer or coastal walk.

Sailing and wild camping. Debbies other boats are 2 spritsail yawls which offer dinghy style cruising and camping ashore or under a boom tent. If you want to connect with your inner Bear Grylis then Helford, Restronguet and the River Fal estuary are a fantastic shallow water playground for shallower draft boats than Tallulah. Finding a place to sleep for the night is quite an art.

You can either book a mini sailing and camping expedition on Outdoor Girl or Wild Boy separately or sign up for our 6 day course with 3 days on Tallulah as the mother ship (with all mod cons) and 3 days roughing it on an open boat (Outdoor Girl or Wild Boy)with the mate as your instructor.

wild camping boat Outdoor Girl in the Helford River


Tallulah Pilot Cutter – Accommodation

Headroom, Heating, Open Hatches

The layout on Tallulah has the feel of an open plan boat, but her length and breadth allows for 4 separate sleeping areas. She has lots of skylights, portholes and deck prisms for the sunlight to shine in and show off all that lovely varnished oak

It is a layout that works well for individual adults, couples or small groups that don’t know each other yet.  Aft are the skipper and mates berths near the nav station. The saloon has a tucked away pilot berth and an easy to get to saloon seat berth, but the starboard side has only seating, a stove and bookshelf of wildlife and foraging guides, maps and explorer tales.

The saloon on pilot cutterTallulah

Forward of the mast, in the most stable part of the ship, are 2 bunk bed berths to starboard with easy access to the washroom and a forward hatch above you for extra ventilation at anchor.

Pilot cutter Tallulah looking up the mast.

For a special treat, there is a double bed for couples in a separate cabin. Forward of the big bed will be a single berth that can be used if there are no couples on board and we need 2 guests in the forecabin.

If you are feeling really indulgent you can book the whole forward cabin double bed for solo occupancy for a bit more money. There is an air vent in the bow and the large forward hatch can remain open overnight. In Autumn and Spring the stove heats big radiators in all the cabin areas.

Pilot cutter Tallulah forepeak double bed.

There is a spacious washroom and WC – currently with a rather unimpressive shower….but at least the hot water tank is huge.

Tallulah has a big engine which heats a lot of water, and an electric immersion if you are plugged into shore power. The diesel stove also heats water and radiators. There is a heated towel rail in the shower and radiators in the oilskin locker.

The galley has a fridge and cooling beer and wine in the sea is easy. Tallulah does not have a dedicated chef but we would never employ a mate or skipper who does not like cooking. All meals are freshly cooked but we do need your help with the washing up.

You are welcome to bring alcoholic drinks on Tallulah to drink and share with evening meals. On well-being and yoga retreats please respect the wishes of those who don’t want to be tempted!

On any voyage we try to cater for vegetarians, vegans and special diets needed for health reasons. The cook is not superhuman and we have to provision before you arrive as we don’t often visit shops during our voyages. Please remember the galley is small. If we get too many complicated diets on one trip we may have to say no to your booking.

Tallulah Interior

Tallulah Safety Equipment

Tallulah is certified annually for commercial operation by the YBDSA and includes a 12 person liferaft, lifejackets for all, firefighting equipment, VHF DSC radios, spares, Life rings and Dan Buoys, and other items.

Voyages on Tallulah


Sail Row Explore - Tallulah provides the thrilling sailing and our rowing boat lets us explore ashore


Sat 19-04-2025

St Mawes, Cornwall


Tue 22-04-2025

St Mawes, Cornwall




Pure Cornish Sailing - cutting a dash on a pilot cutter at Easter


Tue 15-04-2025

St Mawes, Cornwall


Fri 18-04-2025

St Mawes, Cornwall

helming with a tiller and tackle




Shakedown Voyage - Help with Launch & Sea trials TH040425


Fri 04-04-2025

Falmouth, Cornwall


Mon 07-04-2025

St Mawes, Cornwall

2024 Pilot Cutter Review. Photos by Adam Purser of Classic Sailing