Where Have All The 18ft 6" Toshers Gone?

Written By: 
Colin Stroud
Posted on: 
24 Jan 2010

It seems surprising that out of all the 18ft 6" Mevagissey Toshers that have been built -and there were 108 of them - we have still only been able to track down around a third of them. This is out of proportion, if nothing else, to the numbers of the other G&L boat types that have so far been traced. The number of 20ft Toshers for instance that are known of is now over half of those built since 1988, so with them we are not doing so badly.

So why so few traced of the earlier 18ft 6" version? This smaller Tosher was introduced in 1975, and none were produced after 1988, which was when the larger 20ft version took its place. This does mean of course, that the youngest of the 18ft 6" boats is now around fifteen years old, and the oldest of them are now going on thirty - but for a sturdy boat like the Tosher, that certainly shouldn't mean they are not still sailing!

It is likely however, that a good number are still located in and around the Falmouth area, and many are perhaps primarily used for fishing? Or maybe some have perhaps migrated a little further to the left around to the fishing grounds of their forebears at Mevagissey?  Answers on a postcard please!

In GALA Newsletter No.6 (Spring 1999), there is an interesting article about the Toshers by Roger Stephens - ''Through the Porthole". This article gives an interesting insight into their history - a number of the early boats being lug-sail rigged, together with a mizzen. Their forebears sailing out of Mevagissey were often single lug and some were fitted with a small cuddy, but the majority of the G&L boats built were however rigged as gaff cutters, and look in many ways like smaller Falmouth Working Boats.

The "Chatham Directory of Inshore Craft" states that it has been suggested that the 19th century Mevagissey Toshers were originally built under 20ft in order to avoid paying higher harbour dues; perhaps this could still be of considerable benefit when it now comes to paying marina dues!

Any information on the missing Toshers gratefully received! Please send any information to info@galawebsite.co.uk.

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