We are thrilled to announce that a Deben Cherub has been fully restored and returned to the water by the boatyard that created it.
More than 150 people turned out to support the launch of the wooden sailing vessel named Ariel on October 25.
The cherub was one of 17 built in Woodbridge between 1924 and 1937.
Matt Lis, manager of the Woodbridge Boatyard, formerly Everson’s boatyard, which hosted the momentous occasion, said: “Strong, affordable and appealing to families, cherubs were constructed from oak and Canadian rock elm with planking of larch or pitch pine, everything fastened with copper.
“The classically East Coast gaff-rigged cruiser-racer is ideally suited to the confines of river and estuary sailing and became a model for many pocket cruisers to follow.
“Now, half a century since the Cherubs were last seen in large numbers, racing from the Deben Yacht Club under the starter’s 12 bore shotgun fired by Alfred Everson, they are regaining momentum on the River Deben.”
Everson & Sons, which in 2010 was renamed The Woodbridge Boatyard, is once again home to a flock of Cherubs and it is hoped that the once hotly contested Cherub Cup will soon become a regular fixture again.
Mr Lis added: “The Woodbridge Boatyard was acquired by Eric Reynolds in April this year and since then has been a hive of activity.
“With the restoration of the 107-year-old ‘Phoenix Shed’ and improvements made to the other workshop facilities, The Woodbridge Boatyard has been attracting new customers, particularly those with classic boats in need of traditional skills.
“Currently in the workshops we have a former Royal-Navy Fairey Huntress, a varnished Swedish cruiser designed by Ole Enderlein, a 1930’s Chris Craft and have been looking after ‘Ariel’, one of the Deben Cherubs.”
Ariel has undergone extensive renovation by Tim Everson, her owner and great grandson of the yard’s founder.
With her old caulking raked out, handmade larch splines shaped to go between each plank and fresh oakum caulking in place, she has been repainted and was launched to sit alongside her sisters – Rohaise II, Lynette and Fortuna.
Sea Pig, another Deben Cherub, recently moved from Heybridge, Essex, to Devon for restoration with plans to sail back to the Deben upon her completion and Jubilee lives upriver in nearby Melton.
Mr Lis said: “The Woodbridge Boatyard are keen to learn the whereabouts of as many of the Everson & Sons-built boats as possible to safeguard the history of the yard and continue rebuilding the fleet.”
Owner of the boatyard Eric Reynolds said he had been overwhelmed at the support from locals at the launch.
“I was delighted with the turnout,” he said. “The people of Woodbridge, even visitors from Venice, turned out to support traditional boat building.”
Traditional boat building continues to be a draw for visitors to our town.
In fact, just yards from the boatyard is the former Whisstocks boatyard – now home to the Longshed.
Here, the Sutton Hoo Ships Company have been busy working on a full-size reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo ship – using traditional building methods dating back to the 7th century.
Here at Choose Woodbridge we have got behind this incredible project by helping back its £1 million crowdfunder Make Ship Happen.
You can get involved too by sponsoring a rivet for just £20. To find out more visit www.makeshiphappen.co.uk