The original jumbos were quite unique to St.Ives. They were first introduced in 1885 – the very end of the age of sail and shortly before the demise of the fishery and so represent the peak of fishing boat design resulting from years of trial and error.

Their late introduction reflected a growing preference for smaller inshore craft suitable for netting herring and pilchard, handlining and crabbing.

By 1889 some 23 boats, varying radically in size and construction (including a converted ships’ lifeboat) were listed as ‘jumbos’.

Today’s jumbos are replicas of one of the smallest of them. They were researched and built by Jonny Nance to the lines of an original draft by William Paynter (shown here compared to a 26ft pilot gig). Jonny’s grandfather, R Morton Nance, had saved this precious book of drafts from being thrown out following the death of Mr.Paynter.

This photo (left) was discovered by Jonny after he had built the new jumbo (right). Their similarity indicates that it is actually one of Paynter’s jumbos. Jonny was pleased to note that Paynter had also chosen to use 14 planks each side.