Vintage boats on show on Isle of Sheppey
Vintage boat enthusiasts have flocked to the fourth Classic Yacht & Motor Boat Festival at Queenborough Harbour on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.
The festival, held on 31 August to 1 September, featured more than 15 boats, tugs and yachts, all designed or built before 1970. Any boat, be it wood, steel, aluminium or fibre glass, sail or steam, is welcome and highlights included a 79 tonne wooden sailing barge and the Hjordis, built in 1956 and restored from wreck after being purchased at auction in 2015.
The weekend, which coincides with the 61st round-the-island yacht race is ‘the place to be, if you love old boats’ said Queenborough Harbour operations director, Geoff Reed. Organised by the Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club, the 40-mile endurance race is the UK’s longest dinghy, sailboard and catamaran race.
Thames sailing barge
The Cambria was built of wood at Greenhithe in 1906 and was the last barge to trade entirely under sail, taking her last cargo in 1970. Owned and operated by the Cambria Trust, she was moved from the Dolphin Yard Sailing Museum in Sittingbourne to Sheerness Docks in 2006 and then to Faversham for restoration in 2007, completing in 2011.
Another highlight was the much smaller Hjordis, built in 1956 and bought as a wreck at auction in July 2015 by Ian and Jamie Bone. "The poor boat was in a dilapidated state and looking very sorry for itself. Once we started work many marine professionals and shipwrights advised us it may be kinder to get a skip and dispose of her," said Ian Bone.
‘Beauty shines through’
When the restoration began to reveal mahogany planks beneath the flaking paint the new owners pressed ahead. “We spent thousands of hours of hard work. Now her beauty now shines through," said Ian Bone.
Another classic is Doris the Thames Bawley, the XPilot, which runs trips to the Second World War Maunsell sea forts, and the Spirit of Sheppey which is reintroducing ferry trips from Queenborough to Southend after a recent engine transplant.
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