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Rare historic fishing boat returns to Norfolk’s waters thanks to new set of sails

PUBLISHED: 12:41 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:24 23 March 2018

The new sails of the Baden Powell have been hoisted for the first time. Picture: Ian Burt

The new sails of the Baden Powell have been hoisted for the first time. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

She was a familiar sight in our seas and harbours for more than half a century.

The new sails of the Baden Powell have been hoisted for the first time. Picture: Ian BurtThe new sails of the Baden Powell have been hoisted for the first time. Picture: Ian Burt

And now an iconic piece of the region’s fishing history is to take to the water again thanks to a set of new sails which will help it relive its glorious past.

The Baden Powell was built in 1900 in a boatyard on the River Nar by Walter Worfolk.

The double-ended cockling boat - which is the only one of its kind still in existence - served the area for more than 50 years, harvesting shellfish from The Wash and the West Norfolk coast.

But like many vessels of its kind it fell into disrepair, prompting a group of dedicated volunteers to start work restoring it so that a special part of the region’s maritime heritage could be preserved.

The Baden Powell and the Lynn Ferry share the water in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe Baden Powell and the Lynn Ferry share the water in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

After community fundraising to help pay for the project and a 10-year rebuild from the keel up by the King’s Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust, the boat made an emotional return to the area last year.

Volunteers have continued to give the vessel some tender loving care throughout the winter so it is ready for a series of summer sailing trips throughout 2018, where people can learn more about the cockling trips she did for more than 80 years.

In order to do that though, it needed not the engines of modern boats but a good old-fashioned set of sails.

After returning to her summer mooring on the South Quay pontoons on Wednesday, March 14, a new set of replica sails made in the traditional way by Steven Hall in his sailmaker’s loft on the River Blackwater at Tollesbury, in Essex, were fitted this week.

The Baden Powell was out on the river in King's Lynn in preperation for summer trips on the Great Ouse. Pictured is Tim Clayton. Picture: Ian BurtThe Baden Powell was out on the river in King's Lynn in preperation for summer trips on the Great Ouse. Pictured is Tim Clayton. Picture: Ian Burt

Volunteers have been making the ropes and blocks that will enable the crew to set her sails to the wind for some part of the trips, so that passengers will be able to experience how the first owners, the Cook family, sailed the boat in 1900.

It will, however, have a reconditioned diesel engine - just to ensure passengers do not become stranded.

People can make bookings for trips and tours on the Baden Powell website at www.floatourboat.co.uk


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