Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Replica boat paddles off on historic voyage


Yorkshire Post
By Alexandra Wood
17 January 2005

A REPLICA of an ancient boat set out to relive part of a 4,000-year-old journey yesterday in the shadow of the Humber Bridge.

With the sun breaking through mist in shafts of light, it was easy to imagine its Bronze Age ancestor attempting to cross the North Sea.But yesterday's paddlers were a smaller – and lighter – bunch of rowers, including instructors from Trinity House School, in Hull, and students from Hull University Boat Club.

The boat, named Oakleaf by North Ferriby schoolgirl Katherine Imrie, floated off the Humber foreshore, just down river from where the oak timbers of three Bronze Age vessels were excavated by amateur archaeologist Ted Wright between 1937 and 1963.

The only earlier similar planked boats found so far have been ceremonial vessels of the Egyptian pharaohs.Despite being half the size of the original, the replica handled well on its first short trip on the river.

John Davis, former chairman of the local Sail Training Association, has worked to bring the replica to Hull as part of SeaBritain 2005, a celebration of the UK's maritime heritage.

He said: "The weather was great, the tide was right and the crowds turned out. Everybody had a great day. We were a bit worried as she hadn't been in the water for a year.

"The replica was built in Southampton and funded by engineer Edwin Gifford, naval architect John Coates and Mr Wright's family.Rod Wright, Ted Wright's son, travelled from the Cotswolds to see the "fantastic" sight.

His father maintained his passion for the three Ferriby boats he discovered until his death three years ago and his ashes are scattered on the Humber foreshore.

Mr Wright said: "It was his life's hobby and he was still going when he was in his 80s. For the first time there was a puddle of Humber water in the boat when it came out of the river.

"It is hoped a full-size replica of the boat can be built, possibly at Dunstan's Shipyard in Hessle, near Hull, where the sail training ship Sir Winston Churchill was built in 1966.

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