First come, first served. A pilot cutter racing to a ship
Three pilot cutters are shown racing towards a ship on the far right waiting to come inshore. The first pilot to reach her will have won the right to board her and be paid for his services. This is the meaning behind the title. The image shows the boats skimming the waves, with the signifying letter 'P' on their sails. Four men are visible in the first cutter, particularly the man in the stern with his hand on the tiller, steering. In the vessel to the left a man appears to be waving to the people in the boat in the foreground.
Richard Brydges Beechey
- Image reference: BHC1270
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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