Crowds gather to see new boats launched from Woodbridge
- Credit: MALCOLM WATSON
Budding seafarers have launched the first boats to be built in Woodbridge for almost 30 years.
Hundreds of people gathered at Whisstocks Yard to watch the launch of two boats.
The launch formed part of the Beowulf Festival Fundraising events and kicked off a summer of events for the Woodbridge Riverside Trust.
Anglo Saxon re-enactors were on hand on the day to help enhance the day.
The projects were built in town's Longshed which was acquired by the trust a year ago following the rennovation of the former Whisstocks boatyard.
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The trust already looks after the Sae Wylfing - a scaled-down replica of the ship found by archaeologists at Sutton Hoo.
"The two new craft, the skiff and the canoe have been built in the last 12 months," said Bryan Knibbs, director of the Riverside Trust.
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The four-man rowing skiff, known as Whisstock, was built with the help of volunteers from the newly formed Woodbridge Coastal Rowing Club who will be taking on the boat following its launch.
"They've put in around 500 hours of work," said Mr Knibbs.
The canoe, known as the Hoo Kanoo, was constructed by youngsters selected by the Woodbridge-based charity Just 42.
Five young people helped to bring the canoe to life and worked with experts to craft not only the canoe itself but their own paddles to move the boat with.
"The five young people have really enjoyed it," said Caroline Rutherford from Just 42.
"They were five very different individuals who didn't know each other but they have been supporting each other and showing one and other how to do things.
Despite only just having launched the boats the trust is already looking to the future.
"There will be other boats built but the most important thing is that later in the year they will start building the replica of the Sutton Hoo burial ship," said Mr Knibbs.
"The boat will be full-length, measuring about 16 feet. It's a huge vessel.
"One that is built there will be other things ongoing but it will be at least two years before the ship is done.
"There will be an awful lot going on and people will be able to come in and watch what is going on."