Sport & Hobbies
From the heart of Rosyth naval base in 1978 five volunteers set out on VIC 56, an elderly steamer snatched from a scrapyard fate. With only a basic radio and a compass made usable by one of the crew, they set out down the North Sea. Turned away by some ports and welcomed in others, she began a new life on the London river just as Docklands was being reborn.
This was the first of many challenges to keep the steamer going and family, friends, work colleagues and sympathetic visitors were ruthlessly enlisted to help. A rare survivor of wartime shipping, the puffer attracted interest around the Thames estuary and in 1989 sailed across the North Sea to Flushing in Holland. VIC 56 appeared in arts events and in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012 before being donated to Portsmouth Boathouse 4 in 2019 where she is a popular exhibit. Trips were only possible through the heavy work programme of the engineers to keep the engine, boiler and other machinery in good order.
This book looks at the challenges for small historic vessel owners and how to stay ahead.
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