Boost for bid to bring historic sailing barge to north Norfolk
- Credit: Supplied by Jim Ring
A bid to bring the last full-sized wooden Thames sailing barge ever built to Wells-next-the-Sea has taken a step forward.
A group which wants to make the 1927-built boat called Cabby a permanent fixture at Wells Harbour has raised £5,000 to fund a survey of vessel, which is currently languishing on a marina on the River Blackwater in Essex.
Ian Scott, from Wells, who is part of the group called Cabby 2025, said he was delighted that this initial target towards giving the vessel a new home had been reached.
Mr Scott said: "We can’t thank Cabby’s supporters enough.
"It’s been a brilliant effort, and heartfelt appreciation goes to all who have contributed – some with large sums, some with small - to make this first step happen.
"It’s wonderful news at such a difficult time for so many people."
Mr Scott said the funds meant Cabby could be put into dry dock in May, so a full investigation into it condition could be carried out in late April. This should give the group an idea of how practical it would be to restore the vessel. Once that is done they can start a fundraising to buy Cabby, improve its condition and bring it to Wells.
Mr Scott said if it were brought to the north Norfolk coast, Cabby could be used for sailing trips, run a 'floating café' or use the vessel as a community, education or wedding venue.
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The group's name comes from a secondary aim of the project - to sail Cabby to France in 2025 to commemorate 85 years since the D-Day landings.
Cabby is also a registered Dunkirk Little Ship, although it has not been confirmed if she made it past the offshore muster point at Ramsgate and participated in the Second World War evacuation.
In its early years the 92ft long vessel was used to transport everything from cement to straw up and around the coast from the Thames, with Cabby’s shallow draft allowing it to venture into coastal waters other deep water boats could not reach.
Jim Ring, another member of the group, estimated it would cost between £10,000 and £20,000 annually to keep Cabby in good condition.