Gallery: Delicate old Havengore gets some TLC at Fox’s Marina, in Wherstead
She sailed into history at the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill 50 years ago, and now the barge that bore the coffin of Britain’s greatest Prime Minister on his final journey is in Suffolk. James Marston reports.
And so Havengore sails into history – not even the Golden Hind has borne so great a man.”
These were the words used by Richard Dimbleby as he broadcast to the nation and the world as Havengore carried the coffin of Winston Churchill during the war hero’s state funeral.
This year Havengore was again in the news as she retraced her route up the Thames, this time carrying descendents of Sir Winston to mark the 50th anniversary of his funeral.
Today, Havengore is in a Suffolk boatyard, undergoing annual repairs and a refit.
Will Taylor-Jones, managing director of Fox’s Marina and Boatyard, said the 58-tonne vessel was lifted out of the water using a 70-tonne travel lift.
“Our primary focus here is on refit work on large and medium-size vessels, including power, sail and commercial boats. It is very exciting for us to be working on Havengore. She came here last year and is expected to return for the next two years for annual repairs and maintenance.”
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With 50 employees, Fox’s Marina and Boatyard has a number of specialist departments – spray shop, marine engineering, workshops, stainless steel fabrication, marine electronics, rigging – and the skills needed to work on a classic boat such as the Havengore.
Will, 46, said: “We can do all the work here under one roof without having to call in contractors. Havengore is a delicate old lady and she is made of wood, so we also used a steel beam when we took her out of the water, to give her further support.”
The boat is expected to stay in Suffolk for about eight weeks in all as she undergoes the refit.
Work is expected to include repainting and re-varnishing, checking keel bolts, replacement of rubbing under the keel, repairs to the teak deck, replacement rigging and work on the propeller shaft and engines.
Will, who has worked in the sailing and boat-building industry for more than 20 years, said: “It is a very exciting project. She is a beautifully-made boat and gives us a chance to use traditional shipwright skills and techniques.”
Havengore is today a passenger vessel based in London’s St Katharine Docks.
Owner Chris Ryland said: “We were honoured to be such an important and visible part of the Churchill 2015 programme to honour the legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. It was a fitting tribute to a revered statesman, and I am thrilled to know Havengore has been seen by so many people both here and around the world.
“This event was a tumultuous end to a busy season and I’m delighted we’re back in Ipswich again at Fox’s Boatyard for our annual refit.”