PILOT CUTTER SOS RESCUE PLAN BRINGS TO LIGHT 1930s HISTORY
A meeting to set up a charitable trust to rescue the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Frolic from the threat of the chainsaw has unearthed an unexpected find when grandson of the 1930s owner Charles Crosthwaite trekked to Cardiff to share family photo albums and the treasured Cock of the Channel winners’ cup from the inaugural race in 1936.
The 1905 sailing pilot cutter was at the cutting edge of design for boats that have been described as the best sailing boat design ever, for speed and manoeuvrability, handled by just two crew to drop pilots on to ships destined for ports in the testing waters of the Bristol Channel.
National Historic Ships regard Frolic as a historically significant boat, and if she returns to Wales will bolster the lowly 3 per cent of the UK’s registered historic ships that are currently in Wales.
The Frolic rescue campaign hopes to rescue Frolic from a jetty on an island near Bergen, Norway and bring her back to Cardiff for a public restoration, so the people of the city can discover her story and follow her journey back into pristine condition. The pilot cutter is then hoped to become an icon of the Welsh capital in Cardiff Bay, as an attraction and education resource.
Present at the rescue brainstorming session included representatives from the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters Owners Association, Old Gaffers Association, and the Heritage and Cultural Exchange.
But the highlight was Charles Crosthwaite Eyre driving from Andover to Cardiff Bay Yacht Club with the Lucinda Grace trophy for former pilots in the inaugural Cock of the Channel Race in 1936 for former Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters.
“It was not quite the done thing to have professional help in those days, so Frank Trott, the legendary retired pilot had to be smuggled on board. But once on the helm, that is where he stayed, and won the cup in 1936,” Charles said. His father was also on board as an eager university student who as a school boy had sailed with his father all over Northern Europe his during school holidays.
As well as bringing an album with photos of Frolic in the 1936 and elsewhere in the 1930s, Charles brought news that the family would like to get involved in a successful rescue mission.
For more information to get involved in forming a trust to rescue Frolic email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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