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Falmouth Classics 2020 to welcome heritage vessels both old and new

by Don Garman 13 Feb 15:06 GMT 12-14 June 2020
Anny of Charlestown, a topsail schooner will be in port for the Falmouth Classics © Falmouth Classics Association

The organisers of the 2020 Falmouth Classics are preparing to welcome several heritage vessels that have not previously participated in the event or are returning after a break of several years.

A tall ship and several pilot cutters, several originally based in the Bristol Channel and one new build based on a long serving Falmouth pilot cutter, have already entered for the first Falmouth Classics of the new decade.

Tall ship "Anny of Charlestown", a topsail schooner will be in the port for the duration of the event and will be providing guests with a view of the racing as well as an opportunity to sail in Falmouth Bay. "Anny" was built in 1930 in Denmark by Carstensen and Henriksen of Skagen, originally as a fishing vessel. She fished until 1972, with a period under German control during WWII. In 1972 she was converted to a topsail schooner, following which she worked in Europe and the Caribbean and undertook a world tour. Anny came home to Charlestown in July 2019 to a warm Cornish welcome, after delivery from Germany by the Charlestown Harbour Team. She now runs day trips, cruises and attends maritime festivals around Europe, including Charlestown's own annual Classic Sail Festival. To book for the Classics contact .

A vessel, once a frequent participant in the Classics, is returning after a break of several years. "Mascotte" a Bristol Channel pilot cutter was built by Thomas Cox in 1904 and was then the largest Newport based cutter. "Mascotte" is currently in the process of starting a new life in sail training and charter under the Richard Clapham Sailing Trust, recently founded in memory of "Mascotte's" long term skipper. Like "Anny" she is now based at Charlestown.

Another Bristol Pilot Cutter entry is "Olga". She was built by John Bowden of Porthleven, in 1909, and served as a pilot cutter out of Barry until 1917. Her first owner was Henry Edmunds who named her after his daughter, Olga Lilly Edmunds.

In 1917 Olga was sold and registered as a fishing vessel for a year. In 1918, she became a private yacht until 1984 when she was purchased by Swansea City Council for display at the Swansea Maritime Museum. In May 2019 Sailing Tectona CIC, a not for profit organisation, leased Olga. Sailing Tectona aims to inspire positive change in people's lives by providing sail training experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds, including both young people and those in recovery from addiction and mental health issues.

New build "Pellew" will be making her debut in the Classics as she races around the buoys in both the Carrick Roads and Falmouth Bay. At over 90' with bowsprit she will be the largest gaff cutter sailing in the UK, let alone the Classics. "Pellew" built by Luke Powell at the Rhoda Mary Yard, Truro for the Falmouth Cutter C.I.C. is a faithful reproduction of the Falmouth Pilot Cutter "Vincent" that was built in St Mawes in 1852 and served as pilot cutter in the port until 1922, later becoming a houseboat. "Pellew" is being launched at Newham on the 29th February.

Falmouth Classics Association Chairman Keith Tullett said "We are very excited to welcome all of these boats to the event and many more besides. We expect to involve the pilot cutters in a spectacle on Sunday 14th June to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, whilst "Anny of Charlestown" will be the first sailing vessel in the parade after the Royal Navy".

The organisers expect Falmouth Classics to continue to be the most popular classic and heritage sailing event in the UK. Entry numbers are currently higher than at the same time last year.

Vessels will arrive in the port on 11th June ready to race on Friday and Saturday and parade on Sunday. On Customs House Quay there will be a Classics Maritime Village with more exhibitors than ever before and Falmouth Haven will be open to the public during Saturday morning and afternoon. Skippers and crews will be able to participate in the social programme and enjoy the International Shanty Festival with more groups than ever and new stage in the Church Street car park.

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