ABP Lowestoft hosts international heritage vessel race

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L to R: Tom Rashbrook, ABP Lowestoft General Purpose Marine Operative; Lucy Edmonds, ABP Marina Manager; Kate Moran, ABP Lowestoft Operations Coordinator; Tom Duit, ABP Lowestoft Operations Manager.

Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s leading ports group, has teamed up with The Excelsior Trust to host a one-off international smack race celebrating the centenary of Lowestoft’s own fishing vessel, the Excelsior LT472.

Around 25 smacks took part in the race, including the 78ft Boy Leslie from Norway and the 68ft Swan from The Faroe Islands. A smack is the name given to traditional sailing vessels, usually with red sails, used off the coast of Britain and America for most of the 19th century.

ABP has supported the historic race by providing free-of-charge berths at Lowestoft Haven Marina, sponsoring burgees for all competing vessels and providing a trophy for the winner of the small smack race, also known as the ‘Tosher’ vessel.

John Wylson of the Excelsior Trust, commented: “Modern Lowestoft exists because of fishing, and the greatest period of expansion was driven by vessels like Excelsior.

“As one of the last of the famous Lowestoft smacks to be built, she is today a living link with the town’s great entrepreneurial past. The Excelsior also provides young people with the opportunity to get to know and appreciate the sea, which is important because it takes up 200 degrees of Lowestoft’s hinterland.

“The pandemic prevented us celebrating Excelsior’s centenary last year, so we are particularly grateful for the support of the historic vessels that have come out of ‘covid sleep’ to take part, and to ABP, without whom we would not have been able to put on this special event.”

The winner of the race, Zulu RELY, was presented with their prize by Kate Moran, ABP Operations Coordinator in Lowestoft.

Commenting on the race, Kate, said: “Seeing these historic vessels adorn the waters of Lowestoft was a truly unforgettable experience. So many of our ABP colleagues were involved in the organisation of the event, from our marina team to marine and operations. It is fantastic to see it become such a success and spread awareness of our important maritime heritage.”