Campaign to restore historic King’s Lynn boat, Britannia

Historic Lynn boat's centenary celebration: Pictures submitted

Historic Lynn boat's centenary celebration: Pictures submitted - Credit: Archant

The life of King's Lynn-built boat Britannia is being celebrated with the launch of a fundraising campaign to restore the 100-year-old vessel to her former glory for future generations to enjoy.

King’s Lynn-built boat celebrates 100th birthday with restoration campaign. The boat in Scotland in

King’s Lynn-built boat celebrates 100th birthday with restoration campaign. The boat in Scotland in the 1990s: Pictures submitted - Credit: Archant

'Class 1 Smack' Britannia was built in 1915 by well-known and respected Lynn-based boatbuilders, the Worfolk brothers.

She was the largest boat to be built at Friars Yard for 40 years, and the last boat of her type.

Britannia was built with oak from the Sandringham Estate, since the Worfolk brothers were boatbuilders to the Royal Family and could source their wood there.

She was named Britannia because her owner – Alfred Rake, brother-in-law to Walter Worfolk – had crewed on the King's Britannia, one of the famous J class racing yachts.


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Britannia had an adventurous life, working as a fishing boat, encountering a friendly German U-boat in the First World War, rescuing the crew of a Russian ship in distress and getting caught in ice in the River Ouse in 1918.

After a long career as a whelker, she was bought in 1973 by Sam and Vicki Samuels, who lived on the boat around the English coast.

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She was then used as a chartering vessel for over 10 years on the west coast of Scotland.

The Samuels sold her reluctantly in 1996, but in 2013 their son Gareth found her in very poor condition in Brixham Harbour, Devon and they bought her again.

They have donated their much-loved boat to the Britannia Sailing Trust, a registered charity which aims to completely restore the boat back to commercial use standards.

The charity – supported by a group of keen sailors, historians and craftsmen – is now embarking on a fundraising challenge to raise £250,000 in the next two years to restore and maintain Britannia.

Mrs Samuels, who is chairman of the charity's trustees, said: 'For years Britannia played a significant part in our family's lives and she will always be in our hearts. But she is much more than that. She is a truly historic vessel and part of British maritime heritage and we want to ensure that she is restored and preserved so that many more people and generations can enjoy sailing and learning more about our maritime culture and skills.'

The boat is currently under cover in Gweek, Cornwall.

For more details visit www.britanniasailingtrust.org, email vickisamuels@yahoo.co.uk or call 01837 682895.

are you restoring part of the county's heritage? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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