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Lydia Eva sets out under own steam

PUBLISHED: 10:56 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 06 July 2010

AT almost 80 years old the Lydia Eva could be forgiven a few creaks or wobbles, but manoeuvring under her own steam for the first time in decades this week she was on top form.

AT almost 80 years old the Lydia Eva could be forgiven a few creaks or wobbles, but manoeuvring under her own steam for the first time in decades this week she was on top form.

Without so much as a splutter she ploughed her way across Lake Lothing in Lowestoft, delighting her supporters and crucially meeting a lottery deadline to move under her own steam by March 31.

Ship's husband Tony Furlong-Osborne said Wednesday's maiden voyage could not have gone any smoother, the unique survivor of Great Yarmouth's fishing heritage belying her years with a quiet, unruffled effort.

He said: “It was very successful. The only thing we have indentified is that she needs more ballast to make her more stable in the wind.”

Trustee Dona Watson said this week's success was all the more sweet following a major setback that threatened to put the skids under hopes she would travel “home” to Great Yarmouth under her own steam in May.

“Our deadline was March 31 to get her steaming but we encountered a really big problem at the end of last week when our steam engineer completely unavoidably let us down. Following a local appeal however we found six people and she got up steam successfully at the weekend. They fired the engine on Saturday morning and it was an absolutely brilliant success.”

Wednesday's moving trials at Smalls yard in Lowestoft marked a milestone in the Lydia Eva's restoration ahead of her 80th birthday this summer.

The steam drifter has already connected with thousands of enthusiasts in her new role as a floating museum, moored at Yarmouth's South Quay, adding a new element to the growing heritage quarter.

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