Maldon U3A - Maritime Group Trip to Harwich

A 9:15am start from Maldon saw us arrive at The Mayflower Project in Harwich at 10:15, we were greeted by Sean and his volunteers and given a very welcome tea and coffee which came with delicious homemade cakes. We then split into two groups, with one group remaining at The Mayflower Project and the second group going by coach to visit the Harwich Haven Authority. Following our visits, we met at the Treo Restaurant for an excellent lunch served by very friendly staff, after this we changed venues.

The Mayflower Project is still a long way from completion with only part of the keel, stern post and one frame having been completed. The yard where the ship is under construction has a lot of timber waiting to be prepared and put into place. There is a small museum together with a large workshop which has a scale model of the ship in it. The Project organisers are trying to raise additional funding and have been investigating the American market where it is hoped that the ship will eventually sail to in 2020, four hundred years after the original Mayflower. If it is not possible to raise sufficient funds then the ship will remain in Harwich. We were given an insight into the construction and fund raising by Sean Day one of the project volunteers. We were also able to visit the local railway station buildings which are no longer in use, but are being converted into a museum depicting the station as if it was in the 1920’s.

At the Harwich Haven Authority, we were met by Kevin the Assistant Harbour Master who gave us very interesting talk on how and why the Authority operates; they provide Navigation and Safety Services to all shipping, including yachts sailing within the Authority’s area of responsibility, they also have responsibility for the Environment, this includes protecting the harbour and estuaries. The Authority also have responsibility for ensuring that both local, National and International regulations are adhered to by ships within their jurisdiction by the use of radar and radio surveillance. In 2016 the Authority’s Marine Pilots provided passage for 5000 vessels, this included the then world’s largest container ship; in order to maintain the approach channel to the port, some 3 million cubic metres of silt have to be removed by dredgers each year.

After another break for refreshments, which included more homemade cakes, we left for our journey home, arriving in Maldon just after 5:00pm.

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Last revised 10th September 2017