Mischief - Steam Cutter

Built as Admiralty Cutter No.438, she was first appropriated to HMS Espiègle, and then to hospital ship HMHS Maine.  With the Maine she was used to support British troops in both the Boer War (based in Capetown) and the Boxer Rebellion in China.  Shortly before war was declared in 1914 the Maine was wrecked off Mull on the west coast of Scotland.  SC 438 was recovered and sent to Portsmouth Dockyard.  She was decommissioned in the 1920s and converted to a motor cruiser.

Around 1974 her derelict hull was acquired by Dr. Roger Stevens of Yelverton, Devon.  The hull was restored and a new steam plant fitted and recommissioned around 1997.  She was acquired by Peter and Tim Hollins in 1999.  Original design drawings, specification and steam trial records were found and the cutter was restored by the owners to her original configuration.  The engine was replaced (with one identical to the original) at the Maritime Workshop in Gosport.  The cutter was again recommissioned in Portsmouth Harbour in 2008.

Boat Stats

Length Overall



6ft 6in


2ft 3in




Compound steam engine


Double skin teak, inner diagonal.

Date Built


Boat Yard

Thames Ironworks & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Blackwall, London.

Supported by:

Supported by Regional Growth Fund