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Sold -- contact the new skipper at - search for Captain Pugwash or Can Pyran there.

 Can Pyran- steel 32ft liveaboard sailing cruiser


Can Pyran is a strong steel gaff cutter built to the plans of Nick Skeates’ Wylo II designed to go to ‘Oxford or Tahiti’.


She has already proved to be a seaworthy and kindly cruiser in rough weather across the Atlantic and north to Nova Scotia and the present owners have written several articles about her in Yachting Monthly. With her centreboard up, she has been equally successful in the shallow coral waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the French canals. Sister ships have circumnavigated again and again.


The steel hull was built in 1997 by John Thomas of Morvoren Seacraft – one of the finest small steel boat craftsman in the country at the time, and has been coated inside and out with epoxy paint in the workshop. She has been fitted out by the present owners with longevity  and comfort being  prime targets. All woodwork is primed with West epoxy and, where painted, the whole is finished in two- part Jotun paints.


Can Pyran is 32ft over the deck, 10’ beam and a designed draft of  3ft.   Fully loaded for long distance cruising she draws a few inches more and weighs about 9 tons all up. The centreboard allows up to 3ft more depth and is used only to prevent leeway when the wind is for’d of the beam. The ballast is all lead, encapsulated in oil in the keel.


Her rigging on a 34ft mast is galvanised wire. The sails are main, staysail, fisherman staysail, jib, jib topsail, and topsail. She has a 6’ bowsprit with Wykham Martin furling gear for the jib and stern davits for the dinghy. She has an A frame in the Dutch pattern which enables the mast to be raised and lowered without recourse to a boatyard or crane. This can be done (and has been) on the water. The centreboard is fixed by a frame secured above the waterline, so there is no centreboard bolt to leak.  The board can also be removed whilst afloat if needed. The engine is a Lister LPA 23 hp. An Aerogen 6 charges 2 domestic and one dedicated engine-starting battery each of around 100 a/h.


She has raised topsides in the Maurice Griffiths style, and standing headroom under the deck for the 6’4” owner. There is a large comfortable double bunk in the forecabin. The toilet and shower compartment is aft of this with a toilet that conforms to American or canal requirements but may be pumped over the side out at sea or where regulations permit. The main cabin has three bunks, which provide secure seaberths or seating at anchor round a large table. The boat is heated with an attractive individual multifuel stove. The galley has a double sink, work surface, two burner Taylors paraffin stove and fridge.  Tanks store 12 gallons of paraffin, 40 gallons of diesel and 60 gallons of water.


Equipment includes Garmin GPS, Furuno radar, VHF radio, depth sounder, Sony radio and cd player, wind vane self steering, Sestrel Moore steering compass. She has two CQR anchors (45lb and 35 lb), together with a massive fisherman’s, a Davey’s hand windlass and two 40 metre 5/16th chain rodes with other shorter lengths of chain for attaching to a sea anchor or to a mooring in bad weather.


Vessel type:


Wylo II



Morvoren Seacraft, Penryn



Nick Skeates



Launched 2000









3’, centreboard up; 6’ centreboard down



Lister LPA3 23 h.p. Air cooled, 1530 hours. Regularly serviced Two bladed propeller

Hull material:





6½ tons design



On shore in boatyard. Available






River Tamar

Contact: or 01822 832267





This is Can Pyran in Nova Scotia with topsail and jib tops’l set.






The following  photos show structural details:



The ½ inch steel plate ‘canoe’ which forms the keel and is now filled with lead ballast



The fore hatch and A-frame for raising and lowering the mast:








The centreboard made of tanalised timber to resist worm attack and weighted with an insert of lead



And the spars structure:





The chart table is a good size:




The galley – deep fiddles and used sitting on the engine box:






Heating from a multifuel stove and a view through the main cabin towards the loo/shower and forecabin:







Design for Long-distance Cruising

The boat has a number of features to suit her for long distance cruising away from marinas and to aid self sufficiency or repair in remote locations.

A Taylors paraffin stove provides two burners and a stove -top Dutch oven is used for bread, roasts etc. The paraffin tank holds fuel for 6 months and meths is used to start it. Any fuel may be spilt but paraffin does not explode and may be mopped up. Gas has sunk boats as it sinks to the bilges and cannot escape as it waits for a match. Gas bottles are often only replaced or refilled on the edge of town. Taxis will not transport gas bottles.

is a strange shape and toploaded and the motor is air cooled. This proved to extend the life of fresh food even in the tropics. It is not a quick opening door and there is no water intake.

Through hull fittings:
There are no through hull fittings below the waterline apart from the centreboard. All holes are high on the topsides and fitted with skin fittings to brass ball valves.

Salt Water Intake:
Away from the coast this can be opened via two ball valves and an exterior pipe which runs down the transom to below the waterline. However it is necessary to be aware that the valves are there against the possibility of syphoning.

Fabric Upholstery covers:
There is no way that I was going to sit on plastic for years.

A pump spray (ex garden insect sprayer) is filled with a kettle of hot water and one of cold. This provides a satisfactory shower without unlimited water use and may be used in the shower compartment or the cockpit.

Water pressure:
Water is pumped by hand or foot to preserve limited supplies as we travelled without a water maker. (although I would choose to go with one )

Water may be collected from the deck – although we didn't connect straight to the tanks in an effort to keep the tanks clean. Consequently we did not collect all we might have done. A through deck fitting would be easy to fit and could allow water straight into the tanks, possibly through a filter.

We wanted a bit more than bucket and chuck it. The toilet compartment works well and may be pumped out at sea. However a tank was necessary for America that complied with their sealing requirements and some of our cruising would be on the inland waterways. Pump outs are expensive and not available in many harbours or waterways. Our compromise is a Thetford system that we can carry or pump for ourselves.

Air vents:
Two air vents are open all the time and have never let in rain or sea water. There is a system for sealing them against severe conditions.

Sea berths:
The mid cabin bunks may both be converted to sea berths. The starboard side is particularly secure and comfortable. Both these berths are wider than the seating used at anchor and by day since we thought it a waste of space not to have storage behind the day back rests. However they open to give wide single sleeping berths. The double berth is in the forecabin, with a lot of stowage below it.

We can sit 7 people round the table for a meal. It is of wany oak from Lanhydrock and has beautiful grain.

Massage table:
Aches and strains are not unknown to boat crews. Over the centreboard a massage table may be set up, round which the masseur may walk (just). Not many boats are so equipped.

The interior is lined with cork tiles so that the entire boat may be inspected for rust with ease. The cork is effective in stopping all condensation. The deck is of 3 layers of epoxied 6mm Robbins marine ply, protected by woven rovings and Treadmaster. This provides it's own insulation and with good ventilation we had no trouble in keeping the temperature down in the tropics. Fore and aft decks are of steel and here the cork was doubled beneath the deck. In England and Nova Scotia in winter the use of a combination of hot air from cooling the engine and the very efficient solid fuel stove has kept us warm. Bearing in mind that the air in a heated cabin must be changed frequently to remove carbon monoxide this seems good to us.

Engine cooling:
John Thomas – a steel boat builder par excellence – was suspicious that the cooling channel in a traditional Wylo
would not be painted inside and so could rust. We wanted to avoid a weed filter in the canals. Putting salt water through a hot expensive engine seemed also a doubtful notion. Hence our air cooled engine. It works.

The Cockpit:
We wanted to sit on side decks and put our feet in the cockpit and so did not follow Nick's plan for a level aft area. This means less room below deck and so there is a single aft berth which doubles as the seat for the chart table. The chart table is large.

are substantial.

We wanted more protection for the helmsman and so added a doghouse over the aft hatch which has for us very considerable advantages.

Electric cables:
these are all accessible. Although the mast is hollow we opted not to run cables into it and so allow water ingress.

The originals were in acrylic and are still available and usable. We were subsequently advised to use bullet-proof Lexan and so we replaced all ports with that. It has
clouded with use and sun. Grrr.

The complete steel work was professionally sealed with 2-part Jotun paints – Jotamastic inside and Hi-build out. Over this outside is Jotun Hardtop which is a commercial high quality 2-part coating purchased in 5li +1li tins. We make up small quantities of this as required using syringes and carry sufficient to deal with scrapes immediately.

There are two sets of legs for beaching the boat. One set are light and carried on the davits. The other set is very strong and heavy and would serve best if the boat were to be kept in a drying harbour near home. The boat is designed to sit well on it's wide keel (which is made of 12mm steel) and be balanced by the legs.

The Tinker dinghy has been a great success for us and is shown here in the water off South Caicos.  And, yes, the water really is like that over the reefs.

This is not included in the sale.