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Boats Ahoy!

15 August 2016

As part of our Island, Harbour, Home season, the Island’s harbour is home to an exhibition of boats that hold a strong link to the Island. 

The Princess Diane 1958 Fishing Boat

Now called ‘Our Katie ‘and based in Porthleven, this fishing boat has spent the majority of her life working out of St Michael’s Mount and Prussia Cove. Then named ‘Princess Diane’, she was owned and operated by the Allen Family who continue to operate ferry boats here today – A classic example of a traditional fishing boat that has a strong connection and history with the Island.

D-Class In Shore Lifeboat

Marazion Lifeboat station was in operation on St Michael’s Mount for 11 years. First formed in 1991, the Island purchased its own D-Class inflatable craft to enable emergency access to the mainland. The Coastguard asked the crew if they would respond to emergency situations in Mounts Bay and soon after this, the RNLI offered to equip the Island with a new boat and provided full training for the crew which included the first D-Class female crew members in the RNLI. The Mount’s Lifeboat made 148 rescues during its time of service and was only decommissioned when successful trials of the new Atlantic 75 Class inshore lifeboat were carried out in Newlyn (Penlee). We continue to have a strong relationship with Penlee and the RNLI is this year’s chosen Charity for St Aubyn Estates.

Mounts Bay Gig

Pilot gigs were first built in the 18th Century and were used to transfer crews from large ships off the Cornish coast to the shore. The gigs would race to the ship and the first to arrive would secure the business. The plastic training gig on display in the harbour is from the local ‘Mounts Bay Gig Club’ – Pilot gigs were traditionally made of wood.

The Mount Barges

Historically, the barges transported many generations of the St Aubyn family. The oldest barge, the St Michael’s Mount State Barge was built circa 1756 for the 4th Sir John’s wedding to Elizabeth. The barge was built using Cornish Elm from the then family estate of Clowance. The boat has royal links, having transported Queen Victoria ashore from the Royal Yacht on her visit to the Island in 1846.

The newer barge, the Henry Burt, is more commonly referred to as the ‘New Barge’, having been built in the 1890’s. This barge also has royal connection as it carried Edward VII to the Island in 1902 and also transported the then King to the Isles of Scilly.

On Sunday 3rd June 2012, thousands of boats participated in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant – one of those was the St Michael’s Mount State Barge. The barge was rowed by Island residents as well as members of Mount’s Bay Pilot Gig Club with James St Levan and his wife Mary as passengers.

Our Boats Ahoy! is displaying these boats in the harbour as part of our Island, Harbour, Home season until the 26th August.