Some early sun filled days in March peaked the interest of a few keen customers who started the process of preparing their boats for the water, but these hints at summer were quickly squashed with cold winds that whipped through the yard, tearing into the most of hardy of river folk.
However, this early show of fine weather did bring out the perhaps the hardiest of them all, for we were invaded by the Saxons, in their vessel Sae Wyfling (a half size replica ship). They arrived quite peacefully, with hardly a ravage or a pillage (King Radewald would have been most disappointed) and Sae Wyfling was put afloat, to take up ready for a trip down the Deben with her Saxon re-enactment crew. This well made replica had been ashore for some time but she took up with hardly a drop and only began to make water during the rigours of her river trails. This replica long ship then came back for a lift out and clean and has moved back to her home for further preparations, as plans are made to celebrate links between Sutton Hoo, our local Heritage and maritime history. The development of the Whisstocks yard will eventually house a full scale replica of the Sutton Hoo Anglo Saxon Burial Ship. We are proud play a small part in these celebrations.
The travel hoist has been busy with the usual launching of vessels and bringing them onto the hard but the big Dutch barge ‘Japi’ was the biggest of the year so far. She filled the yard with her presence and was an impressive sight as she was lowered into the Deben. One of the largest barges to ever come through the yard she arrived by road transport and was then safely placed afloat. At one point we wondered if she would make it through the flood gates but with a little bit of ‘this way and that’ and ‘to me to you’ she finally fitted through and was soon on her way to her new berth in Woodbridge.