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Classic Victorian boat sails from East Anglian coast for last time

PUBLISHED: 15:13 07 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:44 07 September 2019

A classic site on the Lowestoft coast - Leila has now sailed out of the harbour for the lasr time. Photo: David Beavan

A classic site on the Lowestoft coast - Leila has now sailed out of the harbour for the lasr time. Photo: David Beavan

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A classic ship that has been a regular sight off the East Anglian coast for 10 years has sailed out of Lowestoft for its last time.

A classic site on the Lowestoft coast - Leila has now sailed out of the harbour for the lasr time. Photo: David BeavanA classic site on the Lowestoft coast - Leila has now sailed out of the harbour for the lasr time. Photo: David Beavan

'Leila' is a sail-training boat which was discovered rotting in a Yarmouth backwater and rescued by Southwold skipper David Beavan who painstakingly restored the 42ft former Victorian racing yacht to its orihginal condition.

It will now start a new 'Tall Ships' life in the Yorkshire port of Hull helping the next generation of young sailors.

It took five years and £200,000, with the boat spending months at Harbour Marine Services' yard at Southwold harbour before going into the water in 2012.

Since then the wooden-hulled Leila has been run by a charity and helped countless people young and old to go out to sea and learn to sail.

A classic site on the Lowestoft coast - Leila's last time sailing away from the Bascule Bridge. Photo: David BeavanA classic site on the Lowestoft coast - Leila's last time sailing away from the Bascule Bridge. Photo: David Beavan

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During her time in Suffolk Leila competed in four Baltic tall ship races, claiming a second prize in Finalnd, alongside three small ship races in the Channel, winning in her class last year.

She returned to her birthplace in Greenwich for her 125th birthday, and has taken local youngsters on more than 100 give day voyages up and down the Suffolk coast to Felixstowe.

Mr Beavan, who is now a district councillor for Southwold, delivered the ship to the Hull-based charity 'Maybe Sailing' to help train permanent crew.

He said: "We made good time in the last voyage up to Hull - it was 120 miles and we got there in just 18 hours. Leila has been a privilege to skipper. She was built to race and is fast, wet and exhilarating - made for younger bones than mine!

"Our £300k lottery project finished last year. We could not recruit enough young people to justify continuing the project here, so we are trying up north.

"I do feel that we should support young people more to benefit from adventure training, which is one reason I have moved into politics."

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