Softwing, a Truro river oyster dredger


24-ft Truro River oyster dredger Softwing at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Visitors to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall this summer can take 90-minute cruises around Carrick Roads and the Fal estuary aboard Softwing, a 24-ft traditional Truro River oyster dredger.

Designed to be operated by one man, Softwing was built at Yard Point, Penpol Creek in 1900 by Frank Hitchens. A working boat for sixty years, she was first used to dredge the oyster beds at the northern end of the harbour before being adapted for shark fishing, after which she became disused and left to decay for a number of years.

In 1994 she was bought by the Cornish Maritime Trust and with the help of Heritage Lottery Funding was restored and equipped to her present condition.

Trips depart from the Museum’s pontoon at 12pm and 2pm and are available from Saturday 19 May, for Saturday sailings in June and September, and Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout July and August, and cost £20 per person. Call 01326 214550 for bookings.

For more on Softwing, see the Heritage Lottery Fund’s web page.

For more on traditional oystering boats
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