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Classic yacht built by Lowestoft firm will soon set sail from driveway

PUBLISHED: 17:35 05 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:35 05 February 2016

John Griffiths is nearing the completion of a long term project to restore a 1937 yacht built by Brook Marine of Lowestoft.  Picture: James Bass

John Griffiths is nearing the completion of a long term project to restore a 1937 yacht built by Brook Marine of Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

It has been an eight-year labour of love.

But after countless hours of hard graft, and plenty of paint and varnish, John Griffiths’ project to restore a classic 1930s yacht to its former glory is almost complete.

The retired surveyor has had the vessel parked on the front drive of his home, on North Road, Ormesby St Margaret, for the entire time.

He and his wife Sue had spotted it while browsing eBay. It was being kept on the Hamble, on the south coast. All they knew about the craft at that stage was that it had been built at Brooke Marine, in Lowestoft.

Since bringing it back to East Anglia, Mr Griffiths, 67, who worked at Great Yarmouth Borough Council for 18 years, has replaced around 80pc of the port side and removed the deck and the entire interior. Keen to keep the yacht, built in 1937, as close to the original specification as possible, Mr Griffiths has tried to reclaim and refit original timbers.

He has also attempted to piece together the vessel’s history from Peter Hainford, who was unofficial archivist for Brooke Marine.

He has a copy of the original bill of sale and contract. Lowestoft Maritime Museum provided pictures showing her afloat in the 1940s.

Mr Griffiths has established it was built for a Scottish surgeon who specified there should be a purpose-built dark room incorporated in the forward cabin.

Mr Griffiths is planning to get the boat back into the water in late spring and is aiming to keep it at Burgh Castle.

“When it was originally launched from Lowestoft, it was called ‘Tulloch’ but we are renaming it the ‘Molly Hawk’ as I sing as part of the shanty group called the Mollyhawks,” Mr Griffiths said.

“Initially I was working all sorts of hours and it has taken an awful lot of work – a lot more work than I originally envisaged. One of the spookiest bits of history to come out of the exercise was to discover, through my wife’s interest in genealogy, that as far back as 1752 all of my grandfathers had been shipwrights, so I guess that it’s in the blood.”

■ Got a Lowestoft story? Email joe.randlesome@archant.co.uk


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