Fowey wooden boatbuilding specialist Marcus Lewis has written to say that he has acquired a genuine 18ft Percy Mitchell-built Mevagissey tosher built around 1932 that he is offering as a restoration project with himself doing the work.
Despite a few soft areas, he says she’s basically sound and would make a lovely day boat for any South West harbour or further afield. He’s planning to start stripping out the grotty bits shortly followed by a programme of work put together to ensure the survival of a classic craft. Contact him directly on 07973 420568 if you would like more information or would like to view her.
For those from outside the area, I should explain that Percy Mitchell of Portmellon was a very highly regarded boatbuilder in Cornwall. Claude Worth, for example, described him as ‘an artist in wood’.
Mitchell took over his employer’s yard in Mevagissey in his twenties and later moved the yard to Portmellon for easier launching. During World War II he built motor cutters and boats for the Admiralty. After the war his boats were in great demand; one of his most famous builds being the 28 ton Windstar, which the late King George V often sailed on, as did the young Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II.
Marcus tells me that Mitchell went on to write a well-known book, A Boatbuilder’s Story that covers his entire working life and the struggles and successes of a wooden boatbuilder. Copies are rarely available, says Marcus, but feels strongly that it should be reprinted.
See Marcus’s website: http://www.woodenboatbuilder.co.uk