Tiny boat survives torrential rain and waves for 40-mile Broads voyage
- Credit: Victoria Pertusa
It had to battle torrential rain and almost being sunk by waves but a tiny homemade vessel sailed across the Norfolk Broads on a charity voyage endorsed by the Duchess of Cornwall.
A crew from Norfolk built the boat from the iconic green ShelterBox that are delivered to the victims of disasters globally, and set about sailing 40 miles in three days from Acle via Great Yarmouth to Norwich.
Wedged into the increasingly soggy vessel they named Green Light was Paul Weatherill helped by a team from Rotary Club of Watton & District.
“We set off from Acle, then on Sunday from Great Yarmouth across Breydon Water but it was very rough.
“We had a hooley out there and the waves were about three or four feet. It was a bit close to the mark out. The boat was filling with water and I had to bail her out but she made it.
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“We weren’t able to sail because of the conditions but we did it with a mixture of paddling, electric outboard motor and a tow.
“It’s been a challenge but it’s been fun too.”
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The sail and paddle boat build included extra materials donated by businesses including Jewsons and Martin’s Plastics.
The design and plans were developed by 83-year-old ex RAF engineer Nigel Tubby, and over the last few months the team had tested it out on the water.
Hearing of their voyage ShelterBox patron The Duchess of Cornwall shared her support in a letter, stating that she was pleased to learn more about Green Light which “will make the most enormous difference to people who have, tragically, been made homeless by disaster and conflict and I should like to thank each of you from the bottom of my heart.”
Throughout the voyage they will engage and be seen by both local residents and holidaymakers, raising awareness and receiving donations for ShelterBox.
The charity’s teams work with disaster-hit families around the world, offering emergency shelter and other essential items in their famous green boxes to support them in rebuilding their lives.
Paul isn’t a professional sailor, by his own admission. “I have read a book about a man who crossed the Atlantic in a modified jeep called halfsafe which inspired me!
“I have had a lot of support and it has been really great.”