After three years of meticulous and extensive restoration Sea Queen, a Mevagissey working boat owned by National Maritime Museum Cornwall, is back in the water.
In 2004 National Maritime Museum Cornwall acquired Sea Queen, a Mevagissey Tosher built in 1924 by famous Cornish boat builder Percy Mitchell. When Percy built Sea Queen he was just 24 years old and fresh from completing his apprenticeship. He built the boat entirely by hand as he couldn’t afford a powered saw in those early days. Sea Queen then spent the next 60 years successfully fishing in Mevagissey waters before being sold on.
When the Museum acquired the boat it was in a terrible state of repair and only just afloat. With rotten timbers and in need of a huge amount of restoration work, it was doubtful it would last another winter afloat. Given the boats history and the connections to the local area National Maritime Museum Cornwall decided to add the boat to the collection regardless.
Restoration has taken more than three years, undertaken by a small part-time volunteer team, headed up by retired boatbuilder Henry Wylie with the support of engineer Paul Braddock.
Andy Wyke commented, ‘Sea Queen’s transformation is astounding to see, especially when I think back to what she used to look like. Our team of volunteers are a highly skilled bunch and Sea Queen is testament to this – I’m really proud of them and their hard work’.
Sea Queen’s maiden voyage from Ponsharden Boatyard, where she was launched, to the Museum was a special one with the son of Percy Mitchell, Gary Mitchell, and the grandson of the original owner, Malcolm Triggs, on board.
Sea Queen will spend the summer on the Museum’s pontoons where visitors can take a closer look.