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First boats to be launched from former Whisstocks site in almost 30 years

PUBLISHED: 09:34 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:52 01 May 2019

Volunteers and youngsters have been working side by side Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COM

Volunteers and youngsters have been working side by side Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COM

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Two volunteer-built boats are set to become the first to be launched from Woodbridge's former Whisstocks Yard in almost 30 years.

The skiff-building process in action Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COMThe skiff-building process in action Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COM

The boats - a canoe and a St Ayles Skiff - will be launched from the Longshed on Saturday, May 4 at 1pm.

The Riverside Trust, which runs the Longshed, already looks after the Sae Wylfing - a scaled-down replica of the ship found by archaeologists at Sutton Hoo that was built in Southampton.

Bryan Knibbs, chairman of Riverside Trust, said: “We took on the Longshed just over a year ago and now we are getting ready to launch two boats.

“These two have been built in the Longshed.”

Volunteers have spent hundreds of hours on the boat Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COMVolunteers have spent hundreds of hours on the boat Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COM

The canoe has been built by youngsters selected by the Woodbridge-based charity Just 42.

Five youngsters spent two terms working on the vessel, which is to be named The Hoo Kanoo.

“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.

Youngsters have got to grips with boat building skills Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COMYoungsters have got to grips with boat building skills Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COM

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“They have enjoyed the process and working in the Longshed.”

Ms Rutherford added that the group were grateful for the help that they had received from Woodbridge Town Council in funding the project.

The other boat is a four-man rowing skiff which is set to be used by the newly formed Woodbridge Coastal Rowing Club who have helped to craft the boat.

Students have spent two months building a canoe Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COMStudents have spent two months building a canoe Picture: TIM CURTIS/ LIFE ON THE DEBEN.COM

“The boat itself is going to called Whisstock,” said Mr Knibbs.

“The skiff will be launched by Sue Cox, daughter of the last owner of Whisstocks, who is coming down from Oxford for the event.”

Mr Knibbs said that around 500 hours worth of work had been put into the creation of the skiff.

The launch will be hosted alongside the Beowulf Festival fundraising events and starts off a summer of events for the Longshed.

“It's going to be quite an event,” said Mr Knibbs.

The next project for the skiff volunteers will be the building of a full scale replica of the Sutton Hoo ship, which is set to begin later this year.

The Just 42 youngsters are also looking to take on a new boat project in the near future.

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