Norfolk boatyard up for national award for build of rare Broads sailboat

Business partner Gerry Hermer with Rebel 16 "Reiver", which has been nominated in the Classic Boat A

Business partner Gerry Hermer with Rebel 16 "Reiver", which has been nominated in the Classic Boat Awards, at The Boatyard in Belaugh.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

They first graced the Broads in the 1940s, having been specially designed for navigating the network of waterways.

Nominated for an award in the Classic Boat Awards, the Belaugh Boatyard built Rebel 16(right) sailin

Nominated for an award in the Classic Boat Awards, the Belaugh Boatyard built Rebel 16(right) sailing with an earlier Rebel.Picture by Richard Johnston-Bryden - Credit: submitted

But steep construction costs meant production of wooden-hulled Rebel sailing boats was halted by 1960, with just 13 in the exclusive class.

Decades went by – and it was only in 2007 that cheaper fibreglass hulls were introduced to breathe new life into the fleet, with two new Rebels built.

Now, a Norfolk boatyard is up for a national award for its work on Rebel Reiver – the 16th, and newest, addition to the fleet.

Gerry Hermer and son-in-law Rob Marriott, of Belaugh Boatyard, were asked to build the latest craft after their restoration of Rebel One, the very first to be built.

Nominated for an award in the Classic Boat Awards, the Belaugh Boatyard built Rebel 16.Picture by Ri

Nominated for an award in the Classic Boat Awards, the Belaugh Boatyard built Rebel 16.Picture by Richard Johnston-Bryden - Credit: submitted

'When we took over the boatyard a couple of years ago we found

the Rebel One as a wreck,' Mr Hermer said.

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'We got to refurbishing it and, now, it is back to its high standard and sailing again. It was a really rewarding project.'

The duo spent six months of last year – or an estimated 500 man hours – meticulously building the new boat, which has earned them a nomination in the under 40ft Spirit of Tradition category of the Classic Boat Awards.

Business partner Gerry Hermer with Rebel 16 "Reiver", which has been nominated in the Classic Boat A

Business partner Gerry Hermer with Rebel 16 "Reiver", which has been nominated in the Classic Boat Awards, at The Boatyard in Belaugh.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

The Reiver has a reinforced-glass plastic hull but is built to the original Rebel One Design, with 'a lot of oak and mahogany'.

Mr Hermer, who founded Sterling Helicopters and was involved in setting up the East Anglian Air Ambulance, said the nomination was a 'real honour'.

'We had no idea we would be put up,' he said.

'And, to be honest, I didn't even know it existed at first. It's a really great thing for Norfolk boatyard tradition and recognition for the project.

'I really enjoy sailing and I love wooden boats, so it was great to work on a classic like this.'

Mr Hermer, a grandfather-of-

two, and Mr Marriott covered their costs by selling the Rebel Reiver to a boat-lover before it was built.

The pair are now encouraging people to show their support and vote by visiting www.classicboat.co.uk/awards2016

Do you have a Broads story we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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