Diagram of yawls used at the Eddystone lighthouse, 1789.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by J Record after Jesop's original drawings. These were the boats used to sail back and forth between the mainland and Smeaton's Eddystone Lighthouse. A yawl is a small sailing vesel with two masts, a tall one set back from the bow and a short one just behind the rudder. The third Eddystone lighthouse was designed by the English civil engineer John Smeaton (1724-1792) and completed in 1759. It was situated on Eddystone Rocks, 14 miles off the coast of Plymouth in Devon. The first two lighthouses, of 1696 and 1709, were destroyed by storm and fire respectively. Smeaton's lighthouse, being the first to be built entirely of stone, revolutionised lighthouse design and set a precedent for later lighthouse engineers.