Emotional farewell to wind farm structure which has dominated Lowestoft skyline
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It has become a popular feature of the Lowestoft skyline for the past few months.
So it was with some sadness that the town bade farewell to its 48m-high bright yellow landmark, as it headed off to its new home on the seabed, 32km off the north Norfolk coast.
The vast structure, which has sat prominently in the town's harbour, is a critical part of a new wind farm being built off Norfolk. It will be sunk to the seabed to secure an electricity substation, which will sit on top, above the water.
And while there was some melancholy at its departure – fittingly shrouded in a sea mist – there was also pride in the town, at this symbolic achievement.
The 'jacket' has been designed and built by Sembmarine SLP, based at Hamilton Dock, over the course of 18 months.
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The structure was moved onto a barge last month, ready to sail away to its final destination – Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm.
The departure was due to take place on Friday, but the firm's twice-daily weather reports revealed that the wind speeds were likely to increase significantly by then, making conditions difficult for the two tugs which pull the combined 6,000-tonne weight of the barge and jacket out of the harbour safely.
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As a result, the sail away was moved forward to yesterday, when dozens gathered on Lowestoft's South Pier to watch it start its voyage along the coast.
Bearing a banner which read: 'Designed and built in Lowestoft and delivered on time,' it was pulled for about 30 minutes at a speed of about four knots to the West Home Buoy, at the coast near to the Pleasurewood Hills theme park.
There, a piece of paper was signed to hand the jacket over to Seaways Heavy Lifting, and a sea-going tug took over the voyage to its final destination.
Matthew Wooltorton, who has managed the project for Sembmarine SLP, said as the jacket sailed away: 'Everyone has got a sense of achievement. As you drive into the town you can see it, but tomorrow you'll notice there'll be nothing there.'
Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: 'It's a great joy to see these significant projects coming up before your eyes. Sailing away, it's a bit like when a ship launches – it is something rather special.'
Did you take any pictures of the jacket's sail away? Upload your images to www.iWitness24.co.uk.
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