Cornish Wooden Boatbuilder Revives Classic Mayflower

Cornish wooden boatbuilder Marcus Lewis is this week launching his beautiful Mayflower dinghy, marking the exciting revival of a classic gunter rigged design.

The newly-built 14ft dinghy will be unveiled at the Southampton Boatshow’s Wooden Boatbuilders Association stand.

Marcus spent the summer painstakingly replicating the original designs at his Fowey boatyard and he is delighted with the result. His Mayflower has a steel centreplate and is skilfully crafted in mahogany and cedar, with Canadian spruce planing and steamed oak ribs.

The Mayflower fleet, of which there were only about 100 produced, were originally built by Skentelbery’s in Plymouth.

Marcus said: “Unfortunately all the patterns and templates were destroyed in a fire in the nineties. I had been looking for a boat of this size to build for a while. They are an ideal size for teaching the grandchildren to sail and they conjure up that Swallows and Amazons sense of romance and adventure. They are good steady boats, with a moderate sail size, and they are easy to keep on a trailer. It is also a very well-respected design which has proven to be popular over the years.”

Following the popularity of similar work carried out by Marcus building Fowey River class clinker sailing dinghies and Troy class yachts, Mayflower should fit into this market really well.

The building of the boat has been recorded as part of the project Traditional Maritime Skills (TMS), which is currently recording wooden boatbuilding skills that are in danger of becoming extinct. Every stage of the build has been captured on video and on a time-lapse camera and the footage will form part of a virtual learning tool for future generations of wooden boat builders.

The £1m TMS project is being lead in the UK by Cornwall Marine Network, with partners in the Netherlands and Belgium recording similar skills. Material collated will be used to create an online learning tool, including movie clips, interviews, photography, CAD drawings and course frameworks.

Marcus added: “I am not a big enough entity to take on an apprentice, so this project is a way of passing on skills and techniques through a different channel.”

Marcus Lewis’s Mayflower will be on display at the Wooden Boatbuilders Trade Association stand at the Southampton Boatshow from September 16 to 25.

For more details call Marcus on 07973 420568 or visit



September 2011

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