Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ship's lifeboat lives on as a river cruiser

Of all the boats we saw on our trip, this one took my fancy the most.
It lives and cruises on the Nene and belongs to an old fella who was moving it from Peterborough to Wansford on the day we met them. Both the hull and the current owner are over eighty years old, and they suited each other to a tee.

This quirky little barque started as one of the many lifeboats on SS Tamaroa, hence the name.
SS Tamaroa was launched in 1922 and spent most of her life ploughing the waves between here and the antipodes. She was scrapped in 1957 which was presumably when someone bought the lifeboat and began the conversion into this cute little river cruiser. I think it looks like the cartoon boats we see in kids' picture books.

Peeking inside it had a real old nautical charm and the old fella, who had owned the boat for well over 40 years I think, was equally delightful. His daughter and grandchildren were helping him move it on the day we met them. Sadly we couldn't share locks with them because they were too wide.

Given the choice of this or a modern plastic cruiser with all mod cons, I wouldn't think twice.


VallyP said...

What a cutie! It's also very unusual, I think. How lovely to meet two such charming octogenarians combined!

Captain Ahab said...

I love this kind of quirky boat. Things are too standardised - my own included if I tell the truth.