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The pilot cutter Leader was once the fastest Plymouth pilot ship afloat but ended her days as a houseboat in Hooe Lake before being broken up.


Pilot cutter


The pilot cutter Leader was built in 1867 for the pilot John Glinn of Turnchapel at Shilston's shipyard in Coxside, Plymouth, as Pilot Boat No. 6. The cutter was a very fast craft in a trade where high speed was essential as the pilotage fee could be obtained only if their pilot was first to reach an incoming ship. Rivalry had long existed between the pilots of Cawsand and the Glinns of Turnchapel, and beween the Glinns and the other Turnchapel pilot families the Staddons and the Skiltons. Leader was a fast craft and put the Glinns at the head of the competition.

In 1906 John Glinn sold shares in the cutter to the pilots John Silas Williams of Hooe, John Andrew Glinn and Henry Richard Glinn of Turnchapel. In 1910 the shares were transferred to John Silas Williams of Plymouth and John A. Glinn of Turnchapel. In 1918 Leader was bought by William Alfred Mitchell of Plymstock and three years later the vessel was sold to Henry William Haskell and Stephen Thomas Holberton both shipwrights in Plymouth. The last sale was in 1921 to James Henry Pearson, a master marniner from Cheshire, who converted the cutter into a houseboat.

In 1984 the houseboat filled with water in a storm, when the tide receded one leg propping up the now heavy hull collapsed and she fell over on her beam ends. Leader was declared a loss, and she was being broken up by the time Langley and Small saw her during research for their book Lost Ships of the West Country.


The vessel was broken up and it is not known if anything remains of the pilot cutter.

Location and Access

Hooe Lake, Oreston, Plymouth

This hulk lies within the boatyard at Hooe Lake so is not accessible .

Nearby hulks include the ketch Amazon SHIPS Link, ketch Coronella SHIPS Link and unknown vessel Hooe Lake 6 SHIPS Link.

Position OS: SX 50298 53010
Position GPS: 50.355528, -4.109672
Show the site on Google Maps SHIPS Link


Date Built:



Pilot Cutter


Shilston in Coxside, Plymouth

Official Number:



67.5ft / 20.6m


15.3ft / 4.7m

Depth in Hold

9.2ft / 2.8m


Timber, carvel


Sail, cutter rig


34.56 GRT






Broken up


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