Labour of love leads to race victory

A LABOUR of love turned has turned into a winning recipe for three Suffolk brothers whose painstakingly restored 19th century boat took gold in the Pin Mill barge race.

A LABOUR of love turned has turned into a winning recipe for three Suffolk brothers whose painstakingly restored 19th century boat took gold in the Pin Mill barge race.

The Pin Mill Sailing Club's annual event was held on Saturday and around ten of the long barges took part.

Winning the race by 24 seconds was the Melissa, a barge featured in The Evening Star on Thursday after being lovingly restored to her former glory by brothers Jonathan, Richard and David Webb.

They had transformed the wreck-like shell in memory of their father Fred who Jonathan bought the boat with in 1994.


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The pair had started refurbishing the boat but Fred died in 1996 of a heart attack before the boat could be finished.

Following their victory on Saturday Jonathan said: “We actually started the race in last position so we had to work hard to get to the front.

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“It was only in the last 100 yards we were in front. We had only sailed her for a few hours before the race so winning is not too bad at all.

“When we crossed the line we all said how did that happen?”

He also paid tribute to skipper Gerald Gadd.

The 70 to 80ft barges were used to transport goods between the east coast and London until the 1950s and there are now only around 30 left in the UK.

Another that took part in this weekend's event was the Ardwina which was built 100 years ago in Ipswich.

Julian Ackland who organised the event said: “It was good fun. We had to shorten the course because of the windy weather which made sailing quite hard.

“People enjoy it in whatever weather and everyone accepts that you never know what to expect and every race is different.

“People like to race barges because it takes them back to traditional sailing.”

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