Guiding Star is a Looe lugger built in 1907 by James Angear for Thomas Soady to fish for mackerel, pilchards and herring off the coast of Cornwall.
A mile or more of nets would be let down over the starboard bow, and with just the mizzen sail up, the boat would hold its nose into the wind and drift gently astern. Hauling in the nets full of fish was backbreaking, dangerous work, and life on board was cramped and uncomfortable. Most of the hull was taken up by the fish and net holds, and five or six men would have bunked in a small cabin in the stern.
Guiding Star was one of the last Looe boats to be designed as a pure sailing boat, so she has a finer hull and sails faster than boats built only three or four years later after petrol engines came in. Her hull speed, the maximum speed she can theoretically move through the water, is just under 8-1/4 knots, and she’ll touch 8 knots in a good breeze.
Guiding Star was sold during the Depression of the 1930s and converted into a yacht in 1937 at Uphams yard in Brixham.
Armand Toms, mayor of Looe in 2017, is the great grandson of Thomas Soady and can remember his father, born in 1919, talking about sailing on Guiding Star as a teenager in the last years before she was sold, when his grandfather owned and skippered her.