This site provides historical and archive material about a specific lugger, the 'Happy Return', and other traditional luggers from Cornwall. It is intended as a resource for anyone interested in the history and construction of Happy Return and other luggers sailing in Cornish waters.
Members of Mount's Bay Lugger Association keep the tradition alive by maintaining and sailing Happy Return from Penzance Harbour both in Mount's Bay and further afield. New members are always welcome. To find out more about the sailing programme and how to become a member, please click on the link to our website www.happyreturn.org.
We hope you enjoy our "Happy Return" website, together with our our Facebook page and continue to use this site for details on the historic sailing luggers of Cornwall.
Mounts Bay Lugger Association and The Lugger "Happy Return".
This site is about a particular lugger, the "Happy Return" - the only remaining Mounts Bay lugger and mackerel driver with a dipping lug. She is listed 2162 on the National Register of Historic Vessels.
This site is an ongoing project about this lugger and luggers from Cornwall. There will be new articles and photographs and indeed corrections from time to time; if you have any comments or possible interesting inclusions we would be most grateful if you could please contact the webmaster.
Included is an archive of other historic fishing sailing luggers from West Cornwall including those that exist today. Help in the preservation and history of these unique craft by joining the Mounts Bay Lugger Association and safeguard an unique heritage.
The Mounts Bay Lugger Association's goal to own and operate a Mounts Bay Lugger was conceived in the Spring of 1993 by a small group of local enthusiasts with a strong interest in the part the fishing industry has played in the economic and social life of the far South West of Cornwall.
For hundreds of years, fishing has been one of the main activities in Mounts Bay and was of primary importance in the origin of the harbours of Penzance, Mousehole, Newlyn and Porthleven.
A particular type of vessel evolved during that period which was unique to this part of the world. Very little remains of the vast sailing fleets which filled the local harbours and sailed the seas following shoals of pilchard and herring until the early part of the twentieth century.
Mounts Bay has a special place in the fishing history of Britain which is retained to this day, with their fine boats being copied and exported to many parts of Britain and beyond. Also historically Newlyn has landed the highest value of fish annually in the UK with its fine ships and abundant waters.
Despite many set backs the Mounts Bay Lugger Association found an original 40' Cornish lugger in Folkstone which had been built in 1904 at Kitto's Yard, Porthleven in Mounts Bay.
It was the oldest registered fishing boat when the owner decommissioned her in 1998. The Association saved her from being broken up under the decommissioning policy and she was brought back to Mounts Bay under her own power in May 1998 and was the subject of a total restoration. She is aptly named the Happy Return!
Learn about her history and follow her progress on this site.
We will outline the aims and objectives of the Association with the Happy Return and will ultimately incorporate a definitive archive on these unique vessels as well as our sailing schedules and ideas for young people and the local community to become involved in experiencing the methods of the folk who worked the sailing luggers of bygone years in Cornwall.
"Red Sails In The Bay" is a DVD produced by Three S Films where members of Mounts Bay Luggers Association recount their experience in the rebuild of the Happy Return. Barnabus, Ripple, and Dolly Pentreath also feature. The staggering voyage of The Mystery in 1854 is also described and we experience first-hand the difficulties involved in sailing aboard a lugger. It can be purchased by clicking thelink or by Free phone 0800 0430264