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The port of Barry lies on the South Wales coast of the Bristol Channel, and has the second highest tides in the world. Looking out across the Old Harbour it is difficult to imagine the huge mass and depth of water that will enter the bay by High tide. The demands of piloting ships through the Bristol Channel led to the development of some of the finest and most seaworthy small sailing craft ever built  - the Bristol Channel pilot Cutters. Fast and seaworthy they were able to be handled by a single man while the skipper and boy rowed out to a client ship.

As a native of Barry, I enjoyed short voyages out to Trinity House lightships and buoys and across to the north Devon coast on a more modern, diesel powered pilot cutter. So these magnificent sailing vessels are very special to me, none more than Marguerite which was one of the Barry pilot boats for many years, and also for Cardiff, hence 'Cf' and 'By' on the sail.

The Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Marguerite

The Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Marguerite

Skipper of the Marguerite was the impressively moustached Frank Trott.

 Frank TrottMarguerite's Skipper, Frank Trott


I decided to model Marguerite at 1:72 scale, that's quite a small model and not suitable for actually sailing - it's a static model that lives in a glass case at my Dad's home, along with a framed map of the Channel. The hull is in balsa plank on frame.

Model Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter

My Model of Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Marguerite

The main challenge I set myself was to recreate all the standing and running rigging - and properly so there are lots of long hanks of rope. So many models have halyards that are so short they could never be run out properly!

Close up of Pilot Cutter Model

A close up showing some of the rigging detail

Map of the Bristol Channel

The Bristol Channel