The Falmouth working boat goes hand in hand with the oyster fishing industry that has taken place in and around the River Fal for hundreds of years. Native oysters grow freely in the shallow waters of the upper reaches of the Carrick Roads, from which they must be dredged under sail or oar between Nov 1st and March 31st.
Falmouth Working Boats
A beautiful sight in Cornwall, Colourful topsails of a fully rigged Falmouth Working Boat - credit Lee Whitehead
The restriction on dredging techniques has had the effect of helping to preserve the fishery. Local fishermen have dredged for oysters using any craft suitable and they believe the ideal dimensions to be 24ft with a draft of no more than 4ft 6ins.
You will see a very diverse working fleet but all are of the tradional gaff cutter design.
In the summer months, you may be lucky enough to see the working boats, adorned with colourful topsails that make for a wonderful spectacle. Once the Oyster season has drawn to a close, the working boats are fulled rigged and can be seen in racing regattas most weekends.