Icon of town's maritime heritage honoured with national award
PUBLISHED: 16:33 24 January 2020
One of the nation's most important historic ships has been honoured with a special award.
The historic Lowestoft-based sailing smack Excelsior has won a highly commended national award for the recreation of an authentic 'ship's boat'.
Commissioned by Excelsior Trust, the ship's work boat was launched last year.
After taking delivery in July last year of a traditional ships' boat, which was built by Lowestoft's International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC), the historical reconstruction was hailed as a wonderful project for students.
The work boat is an historical reconstruction based upon a drawing held by the Science Museum recording a smack's boat in 1937.
Funded by The George W Setterfield Trust, who were keen to see young people trained in traditional skills at a time when these skills are disappearing, the boat is able to take passengers from ship to shore on Excelsior.
After the Excelsior Trust entered the new ship's boat for the National Historic Ships 'Martyn Heighton Award for Conservation', they were delighted to have been chosen as runners-up - as they were honoured with a Highly Commended Award "for the research, workmanship and the conservation methodology applied."
John Wylson, vice president of the Excelsior Trust, said: "She is 14ft 6in long, made from larch and oak and a proper sea boat, built heavily enough to be able to handle challenging sea conditions.
"She was fitted out by the Excelsior Trust's refit team, which included National Historic Ships shipshape heritage training programme trainee, Janice Fleming, who is now the Excelsior's 2020 Bosun."
A spokesman for Excelsior said: "This award is a wonderful acknowledgment of our commitment to her history.
"We continue to stay loyal to Excelsior's 99-year-old origins, maintaining her authenticity wherever we can.
"As the last remaining working example of Lowestoft's historic fishing smack fleet we are determined to keep her as authentic as possible and this is reflected in the latest addition which is both extremely practical and reflective of her past."
With the 99-year-old Excelsior set to celebrate its centenary in 2021, plans are under way to mark the vessel's very historic anniversary.