The Lune Pilot

A replica of a working boat from the 1920’s used by the Lune pilots. In all weathers they would venture out to waiting ships in the estuary on the River Lune and Morecambe Bay. In foul weather, heavily reefed, and in calm, under oars.

There are of course many of these boats but this site is dedicated to the one I own. It is called “Lune Pilot”. This site will give the story of the class along with a blog of my own adventures. Hopefully there will be others with stories to tell along the way.

So the story begins…


Drawing from Original Brochure

130 Responses to “The Lune Pilot”
  1. John says:

    Enjoyed reading this site. I’ve always wondered how these boats sail to windward with no centreboard – will visit again for updates.

  2. SailorSam says:

    What is she like on the turn? Looks like she could be quite slow with that long keel…

    • The Lune Pilot is not a racing craft and so turns are a bit slower. The long keel has a tendency to keep her steady on course. The secret is to accept a slower, smoother turn and go for style rather than speed. The other issue is the relatively high freeboard for a small craft – in really rough weather she can be blown back when attempting a tack. Get some speed up make a smooth but decisive turn and be ready to keep the jib backed if required to get her head round. Sounds easy…

  3. jacob kesler says:

    very interesting website, i do wonder though how well this boat handles in light winds, with just over 100ft of sail, hull weight of 5 hundred weight, and standing lug rig. there is nothing more frustrating than a sail boat that wont sail in light winds. so how well does it do.

    • SailorSam says:

      That’s a good question. When you do the ‘maths’ she should be a bit of a “slug” (rhymes with Lug). Awaiting the answer too…

      • Jacob, well spotted. She sails a lot better in light airs than those numbers suggest. I think this is because the long shallow keel does not offer too much resistance against the forward movement in the water. However, I have had a good few outings, especially on the Norfolk Broads where I have made so little progress I’ve had to start one or both engines (oars). Anyway, I always think that sailing is about meeting the challenges of the day. As my very good friend and sailing buddy is always reminding me I need to “Improvise, adapt and overcome”. A day on a boat doing one knot has got to be preferable to sitting in an armchair doing zero knots. TLP

    • Jacob, I’ve placed a Latest Post on sailing the Pilot in light airs.

  4. Peter says:

    A very enjoyable web site. I took the plunge a couple of years ago and bought a Lune Whammel. Still learning here quirks but a joy to sail. Very much admired by visiting Yachties. Just playing with the idea of fitting lazy jacks to make life a bit easier whilst sailing single handed and having to row. In spite of expectations she really does sail well and so really hard problems tacking. Carry on the good work.


    • I think lazy jacks would be a good idea. Keeping all that sail and the yard out the of way of your head has got to be useful. It wouldn’t work on my boat because a lug sail has to all come down – but then my boat is quite a bit smaller than yours. Thanks for visiting. TLP

  5. Katie Bailiff says:

    How lovely to stumble across your website dedicated to the prettiest of boats – The Lune Pilot.
    My father, the late Bill Bailiff would have been, shall we say, ‘chuffed’ ! Happy Sailing Best wishes Katie Bailiff

    • andrew westcottt says:

      Katie, Your father was a lovely man. We are still enjoying our Longboat in greece where she has lived for the last 24 years. The boat is still going strong although I have had a new taller mast and a new (larger) sails

    • David Philpot says:

      I have just come across this website. I ordered my Lune Pilot from Bill at the 1988 Southhampton Boat Show. I still have the receipt for my £100 hand written on a piece of scrap paper. In April the following year we came to Overton to collect the boat. Whilst waiting for the loose bits to be stowed a girl in a school uniform walked briskly down the garden path and went in the house. What seemed like seconds later she re-emerged in shorts and tee shirt and went off just as quickly as she arrived. Obviously did not like the uniform? Was that you?

      I have been sailing the boat regularly since that date and had a lot of enjoyment, new experiences and met a lot of people many who have admired the boat.

      Best Wishes

  6. Michael Ferrier says:

    What a delightful website. I have owned a Lune Pilot for the past 14 seasons here at Burnham Overy Staithe, in North Norfolk. Mine is gaff rigged and the more fancy version with the ‘teak’ laid foredeck. I have had an enormous amount of fun out of her, sailing in the creeks and on the sea.

    • Thank you. That’s very interesting because I am working on a foredeck for the winter. I’d like to do a bit more sailing in sea for which you really should have a foredeck. She does take on a bit of water in the rough!

    • Just emailing you to let you know that I am planning a day to meet at Rutland Watersports Centre. March or April.

      I have contacted various Character Boat owners and the Boat Builder themselves to see if we can make an event of it. Either way we should be able to muster up a few boats. I am thinking perhaps a Saturday. Launch and Recovery for the day is modest at about £12. There is a cafe and chandlery (which is handy when you find something has broken or is missing). There is also a camping ground – but its very basic – a stand pipe!

      Please let me know if this is of interest and what help you might need.

  7. andrew westcott says:

    Lovely to read all this. I do not have a pilot, but a Lune longboat that has lived on Greece for the last 25 years. Virtually no maintenance at all, but a new, taller mast and standing lug sails from Mark Butler at James Lawrence a couple of years ago. I wish I could paste a picture here!

  8. Richard Cheetham says:

    What a super site. I have owned my Lune Pilot for six years and only had time to sail her lightly and inexpertly. She is very forgiving and often draws compliments. She now goes back to her spiritual home at Glenridding to be amongst her own. There camaraderie and advice are the order of the day. I agree about the sweeping tack technique and backing the jib often gets me round. She’s no speedster in my hands, more a gentleman’s sailing dinghy.

    • Richard – thank you for your comments. You have just inspired me for another post with your reference to Glenridding. John

    • Just emailing you to let you know that I am planning a day to meet at Rutland Watersports Centre. March or April.

      I have contacted various Character Boat owners and the Boat Builder themselves to see if we can make an event of it. Either way we should be able to muster up a few boats. I am thinking perhaps a Saturday. Launch and Recovery for the day is modest at about £12. There is a cafe and chandlery (which is handy when you find something has broken or is missing). There is also a camping ground – but its very basic – a stand pipe!

      Please let me know if this is of interest and what help you might need.

  9. Ian says:

    Hello, Thank you for creating this shrine to the Lune Pilot ! We have just bought our “Gloria” so have only been out in her once Brrr.
    I’m not sure how to send you pictures of her, so I will give you this link if you would like to see them. Best wishes, Ian & Julie.

      • They are great pictures. It sure looks cold and the dog seems to be happy enough. I notice you are using an outboard in the trunk. Any problems with the prop fouling the rudder?

      • Ian says:

        Now that you mention it, the shear pin DID break on our Mariner 2.5 two stroke. I heard a clonk and I’m now wondering if it was the rudder that caused it.
        Incidentally I posted a link to our ‘Gloria’s’ pictures on your lovely website but the link isn’t there ! There’s just a little square character. Is it because I’m using an ipad that I can’t see this link?

      • The little square character does create a link on my computer, hopefully others will be able to enjoy them too.

  10. Steve Smith says:

    Great site, acquired a Lune Pilot three months ago and she is an absolute delight! However finding an outboard that will fit in the well and not convert the rudder into chippings is proving difficult. Any help or advice out there?????

    • Ah now Steve… I could write a whole article on this and perhaps I will. Could it be that the Lune Pilot has a design fault? I found exactly the same problem, the prop fouls on the rudder. There are two less than perfect solutions. Firstly, remove the rudder and ship it and use the outboard to steer. This does work but I hated it. The second one which I also tried was to fit a stand off outboard bracket to the transom. The motor and the prop will be beyond the rudder. This will shift a lot of weight aft if your outboard is heavy as mine was. I didn’t like this one either. So in my case I sail or row which brings me the point on whether or not the Lune Pilot has a design fault. In 1920 working boats didn’t use outboard motors and so she was therefore never design with a motor in mind. Newer boats like the Post Boat has an outboard trunk further inboard which solved the problem. I am still in love with my boat even after 9 years of ownership even with all her foibles. TLP

      • Brian Hill says:

        Our longboat has a 5 hp air cooled Honda inboard. The keel protects the prop which is just in front of the rudder. On a double ender with no well, this is a great solution.

    • Michael Ferrier says:

      Is there a difference between older and newer boats in the location/design of the outboard well ? I have never had the problem of the outboard prop (Yamaha Malta shortshaft) fouling the rudder. My boat is sail no. 54 and was built in 2000.
      The photo in my April post gives some idea of the location of the outboard well.

      • I’ve had a look at your picture of Hornpie again and I would say it looks like the motor head is lower in the boat than my was and I suspect that the rim of the trunk is set lower. Does this mean therefore the prop on your outboard is below the keel and therefore clear of the rudder.Its difficult to tell. On my boat which is very early, possibly 1970s, the prop does not extend below the boat. The lower set of the motor head on your boat would also mean that the motor does not interfere with the tiller as mine did but it would ground earlier.

  11. Michael Ferrier says:

    I don’t think that the rim of the trunk is set any lower as the lowest point of the outboard is well above the keel. I note that my tiller seems considerably more curved than older ones to clear the top of the outboard. I think it is in fact that at some point there was a redesign to correct the problem and the trunk was moved further forward as there is ample clearance with the prop.
    In other boats where the outboard is transom hung I have found that a strop of appropriate length around the tiller stops the prop chewing the rudder.

  12. Michael Ferrier says:

    I have heard an unconfirmed report that Character Boats have sold the moulds for the Lune Pilot to Anglia Yacht Brokers or Anglia Yacht Brokerage (not clear which but more likely the latter) who propose to start building them again.

    • That’s very interesting – I’ll see if I can find out. The last time I sailed with Adrian Denye he told they still had the original mould for the Lune Pilot so it is quite possible. He has now sold the business so I guess things are likely to change.

  13. Hi there!
    I have just bought a lune pilot which I am refurbishing. I have replaced the old floors and had her painted in black 2 pack. I was a bit worried about going over from gelcoat but she looks much better now. Some people might have known her as Swallows. She is now called the Mary Celeste as I thought she has risen from the depths…. Does anybody know if she should have a bobstay on the bowsprit. The bowsprit is only short. I have just bought new furling sets for the jibs. Are there any problems with this. I live in the Yorkshire Dales and would be really pleased to communicate with any other local owners.
    Best wishes
    Alan Stancombe

    • Alan,

      I have considered this for my boat and it does not have roller reefing. I am with the guys at Character Boats Saturday and so will ask their opinion. Black sounds fantastic! tlp

      • andrew westcott says:

        I would be interested to know how the furling jib is organised. My staysail is hanked on. Will this work with a simple roller? AW

  14. Thanks for your replies. The black paint with gold lettering looks awesome. Is there a way to add pictures to this site. I will let you know how I get on with the roller reefing. Good to know I am not alone in learning about t his boat.

  15. Does anybody have a set of instructions for rigging my Lune Pilot please. I have an awful lot of rope and a lot of holes in the spars. Thanks Alan

  16. Allan Ellingworth says:

    I have just become the proud owner of a 12′ 6″ Lune pilot. I will be day sailing on the River Medway during the winter months and look forward to meeting other owners in the summer 2015 maybe. An excellent site, well done.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Allan,
      I have just enjoyed my first season with my Lune pilot. Unfortunately due to a knee replacement and a house move not as much as I would have liked and sadly only at our local sailing club (Carsington Water in Derbyshire).
      I would certainly be interested in meeting/sailing with other owners. If a group is being formed my email address is please get in touch!

      • Allan Ellingworth says:

        Hi Steve,

        I tried to email you from my gmail address but it rejected so this is the only way to reply.

        I don’t know if you had a copy of the email from the Lune Pilot. He is arranging a trip to Rutland Water in March or April.

        I will take my wife with me as Rutland Water is close to Oakham where my family come from and make a weekend of it and also I have planned to visit Ripley this summer for a day on the steam trains. Therefore I can tow the boat and try and meet you at Carsington Water as that isn’t far away. The summer is already looking good.

        It looks as though the Lune Pilot site is the way to keep in touch.

        Kind Regards

      • Steven Smith says:

        Hi Allan Sorry you couldn’t get in touch, my email address is I would certainly be interested in meeting up at Carsington. I’m really looking forward to this season especially the meeting in March/April at Rutland, (although April isn’t so good I’m a photographer and the wedding season will have started by then!!) I’m also planning a few days at Ullswater and quite fancy a few days on the Broads though I have never sailed on the Broads it may be OK in late Sept when the waters have quietened down a little. Please keep me in the loop as to the directory etc

        Cheers Steve “Stravaig”

      • Steven Smith says:

        Hi Allan,
        Do you know if anything ever came of the planned rally at Rutland Water during Mar/April, I haven’t heard anything and wondered if there was any progress?? I have noticed the email address on the contacts page is wrong (this could explain why I’ve heard nothing) but the correct email address is Hope it all happens!!!

  17. Alan Stancombe says:

    It has just occurred to me that a directory might be useful for us Lune Pilot owners. If we knew other people’s general locations we might be able to contact each other and form small self-help groups.

  18. Alan Stancombe says:

    Ian I’ve just e-mailed you but it bounced.. I’ve left my e-mail address here. Thanks. Alan

  19. Alan Stancombe says:

    I’ll try again! it’s

  20. Dear All,

    I am away in Australia at the moment but will be back soon. I will if you all want set up a Directory Page. Before I post details of your respective email addresses I will seek your consent as obviously I will not be able to prevent any unwanted contact. I like the idea of an event we can all attend I will investigate this for 2015 and circulate. Maybe you would all like to join me at Rutland Water as a central point.
    More annon – John TLP

    • Ian says:

      Great ! Count us in for Rutland and the directory , we’d love to know how to rig our Gloria properly lol

      • Okay – I will host an event at Rutland – I will ensure I am on hand to assist with rigging and other matters. I will make contact with some owners of newer boats too and maybe get someone along from Character Boats. I will aim for mid to late March.

      • Ian says:

        Thank you so much. Brilliant. We are away 21 – 28 March but it would be lovely if something could be arranged.

    • Steve says:

      Rutland in March sounds good to me! please count me into the directory as well. I look forward to meeting fellow owners and maybe tapping into the wealth of knowledge that will be there!!

  21. I think it would be helpful to have some idea of locations in the directory. Is that possible please?

  22. Does anyone else find that their work is getting in the way of their social life – or is it just me? I am still keen to do a rally in April and will post a proposal this weekend… more annon

    • Allan Ellingworth says:

      Looks good. I work as a musician and finish a show on March 28. I will be able to attend any weekend in April.

    • Brian Hill says:

      Have just found this site. How is the Carsington/Rutland rally progressing…or maybe it’s happened? I’ve owned a Mk1 Lune Longboat for 18 years, first two at Glenridding, then Carsington. A rally of Character Boats there could be great, (note wet/dry suits required until 1st May). PS please don’t add email to the site’s directory

  23. Allan Ellingworth says:

    Just to let the readers know I did go to Rutland water on 18th April. First point I discovered my Gunter rig takes longer to rig than The Lune Pilot Lug rig and also I must take some spare clevis pins in my tool box, because when you drop one under the floor boards it wastes sailing time going to the chandlery.

    We had a good sail with a NNE wind of about 15/16 mph. which produced a good short chop. Rutland is like a little inland sea.

    It would be good if a few more owners are available to turn out, and I look forward to another meeting.

    • Hi there. I’m glad it went ok. I think Rutland Water is great but a long drive from North Yorkshire
      . An event in the Lakes would be great and the scenery is fantastic.

  24. alexandros21 says:

    Hi. I have just purchased a Lune Pilot Lugger. She looks a lovely little,boat,and I can’t wait to sail her. There are a few things I am not sure about, things like ballast (how much and where to place it), sailing a lug rig (I used to own a 24′ gaffer), how stable is she going to be, am I likely to capsize etc. and lots of other questions.

    Is there anyone out the in Internet land that can help me?



    • Congratulations – The original Lune Pilot was a standing lug sail. Its not as efficient as a gaff which you say you’ve sailed before but it is certainly simpler which was the whole point. Just one piece of advice. Set the jaws of the boom into the mast after you have raised the yard and then tug down on the downhaul.
      As for ballast – three 25 kilogram bags of ballast will do it. This replicates the weight that the original wooden boat would have been. Put this in the well just aft of the mast under the floor board. If you don’t do this then you won’t get enough weight up front and the bow won’t bite. She’ll be difficult to turn in a blow. In any case you’ll need to back the jib a tad to get her head round.
      Capsize? You just won’t – trust me. But if you do send me the pictures and the story and I’ll post it – it’ll be a first. TLP

      • alexandros21 says:

        Thank you for the reply. I have to say this blog is a little gem. It was reading this that led me to searching for a Lune Pilot in the first place so you have only yourself to blame!

        I have emailed Character Boats to ask if they have a rigging diagram but no reply yet. You mention a downhaul, I guess this attatches to the boom but could you confirm this. There is not one fitted at the moment, but then the owner said she was a gaffer!!!

        Thank you,


  25. Alan Stancombe says:

    Hi Steve
    I’m on a similar journey to you. Mine is a cutter, you can see pictures of mine in the visitor’s gallery. I live in Leyburn, North Yorks. Are you anywhere near this? There seem to be a host of different ways you can rig the boat. Some people on this website have been very helpful. Character boats don’t seem to have a manual to fit our requirements. I think the boat, now called a Lytham Pilot, is to be built in Suffolk by Anglia Boat Builders in the future.

    • Steve Smith says:

      Hi Alan,
      I’d be intrested in a sail on Ullswater at some point during May if anybody can make it, preferably during the week when it’s a little quiter, I couldn’t make the Rutland gathering sadly due to work.
      If you want to share this with everyone we may get a second gathering!!

      • Hi Steve
        Let’s see what the response is from others, anybody would be welcome. I presume you mean at the Glenridding Sailing Centre as they are Character Boats Specialists. If it’s just you and me I’m sure we could meet up together, weather dependent obviously. We would need to let the centre know.

    • alexandros21 says:

      Sadly I am miles away down in darkest Essex. I have the boat home now and am itching to get to work on the varnish and tidying. I sometimes think I prefer working on boats to sailing them!

      Still love to hear from anyone on the correct way to rig a Lugger. Where does the downhaul go???


      • Brian Hill says:

        Hi. You’ll probably enjoy messing about experimenting with your rigging. The rigs on Character Boats differ so advice from one owner may not match what you’ve got. I’ve had a Lune Longboat for 18 years. It’s standing lug with jib and was a very uncomplicated rig when I bought the boat. The boom has jaws, no gooseneck, and was considered heavy enough not to need a kicker or downhaul. This is the beauty of the lugsail; simple and powerful. I don’t know if it’s any worse than a gaff upwind but these are not performance dinghies and you won’t sail at 40deg to the wind (more like 50).

        I however have tinkered with the rigging over the years so it’s no longer uncomplicated. Like many early Longboats, my mast was set too far aft, so I moved it. I added a bowsprit and second jib, not always used. A kicker and downhaul do help with sail shape, these are both around the boom with rope strops. I wanted to be able to reef quickly on the water, so added single line reefing and a double topping lift. All useful stuff but the simplicity is compromised.

        Regards, Brian

  26. Alan Stancombe says:

    I think there must be two Steves here. Never mind I think the same still holds! Sorry Steve (Alexandria) you are rather a long way away. I hope you find out what you need to know. Steve Smith yes please keep me in the loop on Ullswater

    • Steve Smith says:

      Hi Alan, How does the 18th and 19th of May sound for Ullswater? I’ve a static caravan at Northallerton and will travel up on the Sunday to there and nip across the A66 on Monday morning hoping to get to Ullswater about 9.30 on the 18th. If you could share this maybe others may like to come along. I shouldn’t think it would be a problem to launch at Glendinning Sailing Club as long as they are open on a Monday and Tuesday?
      Steve (Smith!)

      • Hi Steve
        I will get back to you about this in a weeks’ time. Sounds like a great idea. Anybody else is welcome to attend. I think it’s £20 per day to launch a traditional boat at Glenridding Sailing Centre. 7 days a week. They are very helpful there with a tractor for launching and retrieval.

      • Hi Steve
        I’m afraid I can’t make the 18th/19th May. Things are complicated for me for a number of reasons. I am aiming to go to Lindisfarne on the 23 May with the DCA but I probably won’t be taking the Pilot but a smaller Nutshell. I don’t know if you are in the DCA – it’s only £25 a year and has lots of events organised.
        Hopefully we can meet up later in the year.
        With best wishes

      • Steve Smith says:

        Hi Alan,
        Not to worry,

      • Steve Smith says:

        Hi Alan, Checked weather and it looks a bit grim on Monday, wet, cold and fairly windy so I’m leaving it a couple of weeks in the hope of the weather picking up a bit. I think there was only myself going I didn’t hear from anyone else.

    • Gentlemen, I would love to come to Ullswater on the 18th May but I have a board meeting and these dates are cast in tablets of stone but you probably don’t need me to tell you where I’d rather be. If you want to send me a bit of a report and a couple of photos I might be able to post it. I wish you great sailing weather. TLP

      • Hi Steve
        I went yesterday for some tutoring on my Pilot. The weather was ok but no wind so it was a bit hopeless for sailing. It’s very variable at the moment. I think we should give it another go a bit later on as I’m quite busy at the moment. If you would like to give me a ring on 07742 926700 or 01969 623935 we could discuss the possibilities. I would really like to form a Northern group as we could help with launching and cross flow of information on rigging etc.

      • Ian says:

        Hi Alan . We’d like to be part of a northern gang too so count us in. You’ve got our number 07747844895. We’ve got our Pilot at Kielder Sailing Club for this week. Highly recommended !

      • Alan stancombe says:

        I’ve been to Glenridding and hopefully now sorted out most of my rigging. When I know of an imminent meeting I will keep you in mind. It seems we have three people interested, you, me and Steve Smith so we will hopefully be able to sort a get together soon. I need help, because I have had spinal surgery so I have to make sure I have a crew before I can agree to anything. Of course I am happy to share a boat if anybody fancies that. Just let me know.

  27. andrew westcott says:

    Comments on the rigging of the original standing lug are interesting. I too have had a longboat, ‘annoula mas’, for many years. Originally a kind of cutter, I always thought the foresails were far too small to be effective. I managed to get a kind of Genoa made from an old sail, and the boat sailed reasonably well as a cutter .
    When the old “brown” sails finally started to rot (uv ?) I went to Mark Butler at James Lawrence sailmakers. Armed with a drawing and in conversation, Mark recommended a new sail plan based around a new taller mast. There is no question that the new Standing Lug Mainsail and foresail has transformed the boat. There are pictures on this site.
    I have yet to find the best location on the yard for the halliard but we are getting there!
    As for downhauls and kickers. The standing lug must have a downhaul. It is one of the most important control lines for these sails, and affects the shape and power, especially to windward. I bought an old tackle off ebay complete with jamming block. Fantastic, and I don’t find I need a Kicking strap as I have the rope strop on the boom for the Mainsheet to about half way along.
    I hoist the main, locate the boom jaws round the mast , and pull down on the down haul. Hey presto, off we go. On a run I take the boom away from the mast, slack off the downhaul a bit and the sail becomes more of a balanced lug or ‘squaresail’.
    As for ballast. Annoula can find tacking a bit of a chore, especially in any kind of ‘chop’. I now dump about 60 Kilograms of beach in the original old plastic fertiliser bags provided by Bill as near the mast as possible. We seem to be able to manage most of the time. If the worst comes to the worst we wear ship, or in light wind have an oar assisted tack. I have even been known to use the iron topsail from time to time. Our sailing is really about having fun, and we enjoy a nice close fetch rather than a fierce beat to windward….

  28. rogerhoward2015 says:

    Hello. I, too, have a Lune Pilot, “Catherine”, built in 1998 and still going strong, though I’ve sailed her little in the last couple of years. When our children were small, we sailed her in the Morbihan, and at Douarnenez, as well as at Ullswater and Rutland Water. I’m currently cleaning her up and giving her a minor refurb, including a new cover (from Sail Register at Market Rasen, who have plans) and re-treating the woodwork. Now I sail single-handed, I’m wondering vaguely about changing her from gaff to lug rig. When she was first built, she was rigged as a gaff cutter, but I always thought her a bit headstrong, so we had a big jib made – it calmed her down and improved the tacking no end. A balanced lug might enable a reduction in mast and spar weight, I thought.

    I’ve only just found your site, and am most impressed. I look forward to hearing more and perhaps meeting other owners.

    Best wishes


    • alexandros21 says:

      Hi Roger, I am a new owner and am interested in your thoughts re Gaff vs lug. I have not sailed my new toy yet but have rigged her in the garden between gales, and am impressed by the simplicity of the lugsail.

      If you are South-east based you would be welcome to have a sail in Nutmeg to see how you like the rig. We sail on the River Blackwater in Essex


      • rogerhoward2015 says:

        Hello, Steve. Thanks for the offer – I’m in deepest Lincolnshire, however, and tend to go north! Though I have taken Catherine to the Walton Backwaters for a weekend some years ago. I recall an interesting encounter with a seal, rubbing its back on the keel as we sailed along in the evening.

        A gaff rig will usually be more efficient than a lug, but usually carries more weight. It’s the weight which is just begining to be a bit of an issue for me. The mast and spars on Catherine are robust, to say the least, and I fancy a boomless lug with a lighter, unstayed mast – as you get on Breton boats – would be easier for me to rig on my own. I’d be interested to see a photo of your rig – partly to see the mast position.

        If you can ever get up to Ullswater, you’ll find lots of help, advice and experience among the CB owners up there.

      • alexandros21 says:

        Hi Rodger,

        I would be happy to email you some close ups of the mast and what little rigging there is. If you would like to email me at and let me know what you would like me to photo I will try to do them this week.


  29. Ian says:

    I’m sure you salty sea dogs (girls?) already knew this but I would like to share something me & missus have learned this week sailing at Kielder Water. We’ve never been able to launch our 14′ Lune Pilot without submerging the wheel hubs. Retrieving? No problem. But launching, we’ve never managed to until now. It’s so simple and I could kick myself for not realising sooner but all we did this time was to turn and raise the jockey wheel height. This gave a higher, slight angle enabling a good shove was successful in launching our ‘Gloria’. In our excuse it was only the fourth time we’d tried.

    • alexandros21 says:

      Thanks for that tip, I am hoping to launch ‘Nutmeg’ for the first time on Monday.

      Must remember not do what a mate of mine did with his Wayfarer though. Lowered it down the slip behind his car, gave it a good shove with his boot and only then realised he had not tied the painter to the boat :-). We had to row after it in a borrowed inflatable as it set off on its own across the gravel pit where we used to sail. Could hardly row for laughing.

  30. alexandros21 says:

    Took Nutmeg (1980ish 14′ Lugger) out for a couple of hours today, our first trip! She sails like a dream, well mannered and totally predictable. Winds were between a F3 to F4, but unsteady and gusty.

    I had 75kgms of sand in bags around the mast as advised and she felt stable and heeling was slight on a reach. Tacking was no problem with the little jib backed. I am in love!

    Only tiny gripe was that the outboard wouldn’t latch up as there is not enough room to do so and it really gets in the way of the rudder and tiller so I removed it and it sat on the floor. She seemed to row well so I might even do without the o/b. I would post a pic you but can not work out how to do so 😦

    • Steve Smith says:

      I have a possible solution to the outboard situation….I have made a Bracket that bolts to the f’wd face of the existing well and extends over the starboard side with a pad that will take a small electric or small 2 stroke outboard. Visually it looks like an up turned letter u with effectively a pad on each end, its constructed of 3/4 marine ply sandwiched between aluminium chequer plate very strong! 2 x 8mill bolts with wing nuts hold it onto the well so its easily removeable. I came up with this after I saw a LP with an outboard bracket attached to the transom….Not Pretty!

    • Pictures and text can be emailed to me. I will post in visitor gallery.

  31. Matthew says:

    Hi what’s the best little outboard for the lune pilot. Any success stories with avoiding shreading wood off the rudder. I wonder if the motor well was designed with perhaps seagull engines in mind

    • alexandros21 says:

      Hi Mathew. I have a Honda BF2.3 which is a great little engine and pushes the boat along well. We had a day trip rowing UP the Blackwater as far as is navigable and motored back.

      The Honda hits the rudder so I unshipped it as we were not sailing (nervous wife:-)) the LP makes a great dayboat!

      The other problem, although not a major one is that the engine can not lock up and has to be lashed up to keep it out of the water. I have a little Seagull Featherweight as well and I am sorry to say the same problems occur, hitting the rudder and not locking up. I also tried a mates 2HP Yamaha 2/T and that is the same.

      So if sailing I leave the engine under the thwart just in case I need it, we have very strong tidal streams here, if playing dinghies then the rudder comes off.

      Brilliant boats though, my ‘very nervous’ wife actually enjoyed our trip out. Who knows, I might even get her to come out sailing, in time!

      Hope this helps.

  32. Hi there
    Perhaps I can put my pennyworth in if it is any use. I have a Honda BF2 which I think is the same size. Mine is located on a transom bracket to the starboard of the boat. Some people say this is an ugly way of mounting it but it means once on it never clashes with the rudder. By locking the steering on the motor you can still steer with the tiller. It will tilt up nicely for launching. It doesn’t have a reverse but the motor will turn through 180 degrees on its axis and therefore reverses as normal. It is a great starter and very reliable when I went round LIndisfarne this year.

  33. alexandros21 says:

    Hi TLP, the site seems to have gone a bit quiet. Is all well with you?

    • andrew westcott says:

      Waiting for summer

    • Yes, sorry, I’ve had a busy winter. I am planning a trip in the spring/summer to navigate the Thames. Starting at Oxford and sailing and rowing to Teddington Lock. It’s the “three men in a boat” thing only in reverse and only one or two men. I’ll post that up after. Then there’s also a trip to Salcombe in June with the Character Boats Rally. Best wishes…

      • Allan Ellingworth says:

        That looks like fun, also a lot of planning either B&B or camping on board etc. I have a desire to gate crash your party if I am available and welcome. Allan

      • Allan – what I am planning is to do the trip over a week doing 15 to 20 miles each day. I was then going to invite someone to join me for a day each. The good thing about the Thames is that there are lots of railway stations along the way and so getting back to your car at the end of the day is no trouble. If you’d like to come and spend the day rowing and sailing (and locking) down the river in my boat you’d be welcome. Otherwise you’ll need to bring your own boat. I will sleep on board – might get a hotel one or two nights. Haven’t set the date yet but could let you know. John

  34. Brian Hill says:

    The Dinghy Cruising Association is holding a rally in July from Glasson Dock on the Lune estuary, the ancestral home of the boats. It will be a loosely run thing with little in the way of organisation and no safety support – each participant responsible for themselves. Could there be some interest from this forum? The estuary is strongly tidal from Morecambe bay up to Lancaster but with good planning, it can offer good sailing in open and sheltered water. Brian

  35. That sounds great and it would be quite remiss of me not to come and get some material for the site. Since you are asking about interest I am assuming visitors would welcome. Details would be on the DCA website so I will now head over there. Will you be at Salcombe Brian?

  36. Peter says:

    Did your Thames river trip go ahead or is still in the planning. I have ‘The Reiver’ a Lune Pilot on the river at Purley on Thames, near Reading. If I know when you are passing through could meet up for a mile or two.

    • Still on the cards for July now. I will let you know when I’ve firmed up….

    • Peter – just to let you know – the Thames trip didn’t happen – well not yet anyway. This weekend my son has the boat with some friends so I may as well head off on the motorbike. I do not recommend having more than one passionate hobby – neither do you do enough of. JB

  37. I am hoping to come and see the boats at Glasson Dock. Where will you sail from exactly and at what times?

  38. Chris Thomas says:

    I’ve just bought one with a Gunter rig. All the diggings stripped off. Do you have any rigging diagrams??

    • Hi Chris, Sorry I don’t have any plans for Gunters but it was quite a popular rig for this boat. I expect that you may get a response from one of the site’s watchers before long. It might also be worth contacting the guys at character Boats. They don’t make Lune Pilots anymore but may still have the drawings. Failing that we could maybe meet at Rutland Water and give it a go – what could possibly go wrong! John

      • Chris Thomas says:

        Thanks John. I’ve managed to get some photos of a lovely Lune Pilot that’s kept on Bala so I should be able to rig her without too many problems.

  39. David Philpot says:

    I am reluctantly selling my 1989 Bill Bailiff built Lune Pilot. I would like it to go to a Character Boat enthusiast. Have posted it here before advertising it. Details from

  40. David Philpot says:

    Re: 18 August 2017. Boat now sold and in its new home

  41. Andy Hibbs says:

    Hi, not sure if this group has closed down. If not, I have made some modifications to my Lune Pilot which might be of interest

    • Andy – not closed down but I don’t do much as it self perpetuates- not a day goes by without visitors. Would be interested in your mods. Many thanks John TLP

      • Andy Hibbs says:

        Thanks John, I’ll upload some pictures of my modifications soon. Many people talk about the outboard predicament. I decided the cut the existing outboard well out and glass in a replacement meaning that the prop doesn’t foul the rudder. I’ve also laminated a 6ft tiller made out of English oak which curves over the engine. Pictures to follow. My boat is an orginal Bill Bayliffe 14’6” Lune Pilot called Mallard. Cheers buddy. Andy

  42. I am looking forward to seeing the mods as described. When you send please also give me consent to post if you are okay with that. John

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