December 12 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Visitors to the 14th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival will have the opportunity to sail on the Dutch square-rigged tall ship the Morgenster, making her first visit to the port.
Proud captain Harry Mueter is relishing the chance to show off the striking vessel which he bought in 1983 and painstakingly restored over 25 years.
Ahead of the ship’s arrival to play a starring role in the festival, which will run on South Quay over the weekend of September 7 and 8, Mr Mueter described her colourful history.
He said: “Morgenster was built as a sailing herring lugger, launched in 1919 and motorised and extended in 1927. She fished for herring until 1970 and then went into the sport angling business with tourists.
“In 1980 she was bought to be a pirate radio vessel as Radio Del Mare. Before going to sea the vessel was taken by the authorities and the project stopped. I bought the vessel after that.”
Mr Mueter, who comes from a seafaring background, his father having been a ship’s engineer, said he had a passion for sailing ships and bought the Morgenster when the opportunity arose.
He said: “These vessels were very rare and I could lay my hands on one at a price I could afford. But it was all for the far future. I bought her in 1983 in a very bad state of maintenance and we did not have her into sailing again until 2008.”
The Morgenster, which is based in Den Helder in Holland but visiting London before the festival, will be offering trips of two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours on the Thursday and Friday beforehand as well as during the festival.
He said: “Running down the River Yare passengers will see the crew go aloft to unfurl the sails. Our guests are welcome to participate in setting the sail and experience the magic when the wind is driving the vessel. If there is a swell we get a little sniff of real life at sea. We will see Yarmouth from the sailors’ perspective.
“The visitors that do not sail with us but just walk on from the quay will still have an impression of how the sailing vessel in the 19th century looked like.
“We gave Morgenster a clipper brig rig, as it was developed around 1840.”
The estimated 40,000 visitors to the festival will also be treated to a host of other attractions from shanty and maritime music to family and children’s activities.
There will be a chance to enjoy military re-enactments from East Norfolk Militia, street theatre from Inner State and Punch and Judy shows with Professor Pulson.
Head to the BBC Summer of Wildlife stage to discover creatures filmed off the coast of Norfolk and find out what an underwater camera can see.
Find out about the Broads and local nature reserves and make a dragonfly, butterfly feeder or flying wristband with the RSPB, or have a go at making herring kites and shark tooth necklaces with Norfolk Wildlife Trust.
Visitors will also be able to watch a maritime masterpiece being painted, lace making and spinning and have a go at making a fisherman’s net.
Other heritage boats featuring in the festival include the steam tug Challenge and Yarmouth’s herring drifter Lydia Eva.
Booking for the cruises on the Morgenster is now open online at www.maritime-festival.co.uk or by calling Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre on 01493-332200.