Norfolk’s Rescue Wooden Boats builds the first crab boat for 25 years

Rescue Wooden Boats crab boat

This is a splendid piece of news – Rescue Wooden Boats trustee David Hewitt has built and now launched the Norfolk Coast’s first new traditionally built crab boat for 25 years, the 17ft oak-built Auk.

Read about it on the Anglia Afloat website, or click on the image above to go to the newspaper’s nice photogallery.

Anglia TV has also put a story online.

I’m amused to notice that a little before the launch, David and his boatbuilding apprentice Tom Gathercole carefully fitted Auk’s engine beds – or ‘wrongs’ as they are known in the area. ‘Engine wrongs’. Great name chaps!

FITTING ENGINE WRONGS ON NEW CRABBER “AUK” from Rescue:Wooden:Boats on Vimeo.

Rescue Wooden Boats celebrates its second birthday

Norfolk’s Rescue Wooden Boats has just celebrated its second birthday and published the latest edition of its newsletter – and there is lots of news to share.

The first phase of the visitor centre just beyond the High Sands Campsite office at Greenway Stiffkey (NR23 1QP) is now open at weekends from 10:30am to 4:30pm for the summer. On display are films, photos and artefacts, and the restoration work going on in the workshop on the lifeboat and Dunkirk veteran Lucy Lavers. George Hewitt and Ben Riches have been fitting a new centreboard, and David Hewitt is working her canopy.

Rescue Wooden Boat’s online collection has now reached 80 short films and sets of photographs that provide an insight into the lives of the people who crewed the boats and used them to make livings through them using them.

Built by Billy May in 1974, the Norfolk crab boat Pegasus has been in Scotland for about 15 years in the hands of Bernard Thain.

During this time she has earned her keep supplying their restaurant and farm shop with seafood, but Bernard and family have decided to give Pegasus to the Rescue folks, and she arrived home in July.

See the Rescue Wooden Boats newsletter here.

You’d better know their nicknames or you’ll never find ’em…

Bennett Middleton talks in this great little Rescue Wooden Boats video about nicknames in the fishing community along the coast of East Anglia.

Having grown up in a small community, I have no difficulty recognising the need for nicknames – and I have no doubt about how they arise. Usually, all it needs is for someone to say or do something a little daft or unusual just once, and the name will stick for life. If something can be found that you don’t want to hear over an over again, that will be your name…

And that’s still what happens around the yard where we keep our little boat.

I must say, the Rescue Wooden Boats folks are going great guns in conserving aspects of the local maritime heritage. Latest items of news are:

  • they’re setting up a visitor centre for people viewing restoration work in the boatyard at Stiffkey
  • they’ve been given the lovely Sheringham-built whelker Harvester to care. She will be on the water soon and will be going about promoting Rescue Wooden Boats (by the way, since we were talking about nicknames, I should mention her first owner was a man called Sid ‘Custard’ Cooper)
  • they have also acquired Bessie, another of the area’s few remaining whelkers She was built in 1934 and was involved with the Dunkirk rescue. Volunteers have scraped and painted her to stabilise her and she is now back on a mooring awaiting refurbishment
  • plans have been made to take the lifeboat and Dunkirk veteran Lucy Lavers back to Dunkirk by sea for the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of troops in 2015. From that year also, the listed historic ship will be taking the public on trips afloat from Wells-next-the-Sea in the summers. Rescue Wooden Boats is applying for a Heritage Lottery grant to enable this to happen