Owner Lance Whitehead says:

"I really can’t say enough good things about Cockwells. If I ever have another boat, I'm keen that Dave Cockwell will build it."


Owner Lance Whitehead says:

"I really can’t say enough good things about Cockwells. If I ever have another boat, I'm keen that Dave Cockwell will build it.

“I have sailed her for two seasons now and I’m absolutely delighted with her. She consistently impresses me and I’m very pleased with the nature of the boat, her build quality and how she sails.

 “I constantly admire Cockwell’s workmanship, attention to detail and really high standards of build. Having been aboard many other similar boats, I’m really glad I’ve got a Cockwells pilot cutter.

 “Of course, you must accept that it’s not going to go as fast as a modern sailing boat upwind but that’s what you accept when you go for a pilot cutter. In every other aspect a pilot cutter is perfect – in light winds her momentum helps her maintain speed and, in 40 years of sailing, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a boat that’s so good in heavy winds.

 “This boat was built with what a traditional sailor would call a “summer rig” so she carries more sail than she would want for heavy weather sailing. It’s very, very simple to shorten sail and it only takes me a couple of minutes.

 “I took the boat single handed to Guernsey in June and, if you balance the sails, it’s quite easy to leave her sailing herself and go below when necessary.

 “She tracks effortlessly in a straight line and in close quarters manoeuvring under engine she’s also very easy. By using the prop wash and prop walk on the engine, I can turn her pretty-much in her own length. The 60hp Nanni engine is amazing. It’s so quiet that when I start it, I often have to check the oil pressure gauge on deck to confirm it’s ticking over.

 “When you imagine that every single piece of wood was hand crafted for that boat, there have been no problems with the boat at all, straight out of the box the boat itself has been perfect. Of the few systems where remedial action was required, Cockwells sorted the problem out immediately. The boat has been as close to perfect from day one as I could have hoped for and Cockwell’s response to every issue has been amazing.”

Lance Whitehead , owner of Merlin, www.classic-charters.co.uk

Merlin in the press

Pilot cutter Merlin

Boat name: Merlin of Falmouth

Type: 48ft pilot cutter

Designer: replica

Merlin is based on the lines of an original pilot cutter Peggy but is three feet longer, giving a bigger saloon and space for a workshop.

Merlin took almost two years to build. The construction of the hull followed traditional methods, with an oak frame and larch planking, all cut from the round in the former Cockwells yard at Ponsharden, on the edge of Falmouth.

The bronze fittings were cast especially for the boat and all fittings and hardware are of the highest quality. The build was featured over seven monthly issues of Classic Boat Magazine in 2010.

Merlin’s owner, Lance Whitehead uses her for corporate and private charter, wildlife expeditions and some charitable work. They are based in the UK with trips to Brittany, the Baltic and farther afield for some specific expeditions. More about Merlin can be seen on their website


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