Wherry Boat

Wherry Boat
Cargo or passenger sailing barge familiar in Suffolk and Norfolk, with a low angled bow
The Wherry is a boat that was traditionally used to carry cargo or passengers on rivers and canals and is very much associated with the Broadland Rivers around Norfolk. A form of clinker-built boat (where the wooden planks are fixed to each other, so that the planks overlap along their edges), the boats themselves have long overhanging bows to allow passengers to step ashore without getting their feet wet, in the days before landing stages were built along the river. The Norfolk Wherry was adapted in the 18th century and is a kind of sailing barge with a distinctive gaff rig with a single, high-peaked sail and mast stepped well forward. This was developed to replace the Norfolk Keel - an earlier cargo boat (going back to the Vikings) that was square rigged, with limited maneuverability and requiring a bigger crew. One of the best surviving examples of a Norfolk Wherry is the ‘Albion’. Built in 1898 she was acquired by the Norfolk Wherry Trust for preservation in 1949 and since 1981 has been moored at the Trust's base at Womack Water near Ludham.

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