Suffolk: Boatbuilder speaks of delight at finishing Cutty Sark project

A SUFFOLK boatbuilder has spoken of his pride at playing a leading role in helping to restore a piece of maritime history.

Charles Le Sauvage, whose workshop is near Framlingham, has spent months working on a commission to bring two of the original lifeboats of the great Cutty Sark back to life.

The historic 19th Century tea clipper, which has undergone extensive restoration following a severe fire in 2007, was officially re-opened by the Queen yesterday.

Mr Le Sauvage, 37, who lives in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, said he could not be happier with the end result.

“I’m extremely proud,” he said. “I’ve been down to see them a few times since they’ve been finished and they look fantastic. I’m really pleased.


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“It’s been a real honour and a privilege to have been involved in something with so much maritime history.

“It’s very exciting to see the project finally complete. I wasn’t able to go to the opening but I’m planning to go back in a few weeks with my family, probably when the weather gets a little warmer.”

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Mr Le Sauvage, who learnt his trade at the International Boatbuilding Training College in Lowestoft, also teamed up with local sailmaker Hugh Leeper to create covers for the two lifeboats to help protect them from the elements. The pair were also involved in making a lot of the other canvas covers for the Cutty Sark itself, including a new poop deck awning and a specially- made shelter for a pontoon, under which the Queen took cover yesterday. She was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh to officially re-open the Cutty Sark following a �50m renovation.

The world’s last remaining tea clipper has been restored to her heyday when she carried goods from around the globe back to England.

It was 55 years since the Queen first opened the maritime attraction to the public and yesterday she returned to repeat the ceremony.

The clipper is now displayed in a stunning setting, lifted more than 11ft (3.4m) above its dry berth in Greenwich, south east London, and is once again a major landmark.

The space under the three-masted vessel is home to an interactive museum where visitors can learn about its history.

When the fire, which was caused by a vacuum cleaner that had been left on, struck in 2007 most of the fixtures and fittings had been removed for a major project to renovate the vessel, now 143 years old, so visitors can see many of the original features on deck.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Mr Le Sauvage’s work can visit www.boatworxsuffolk.co.uk

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