Pic: National Historic Ships UK

A restored barge whose home berth is on the Thames has been chosen as the National Historic Ships UK flagship for the year.

The winning vessel for 2014 is Daybreak, a 61-ft Humber Keel, built in 1934 and based on the river for the last 38 years.

The award goes to the vessel with the most impressive seasonal programme of public events. It is designed to promote wider engagement with, and appreciation of, the part that historic vessels play in the heritage of the UK.

Daybreak is granted a special pennant to fly from the masthead wherever she goes to mark her status, and a grant of £1000 towards the cost of keeping the vessel in operational condition and opening her for public viewing.


The vessel was built by Richard Dunston of Thorne and is one of the last keels built.Owned by a firm of Doncaster flour millers she was motorised in the 1940s, and restored to sail in 1986. She is currently berthed at Staines.

Daybreak has an extensive public programme over the coming season which includes festivals, barge matches, open days all along the East Coast and reconstruction of a trading voyage under sail from Hull to Doncaster.

The owners Tony  & Sally Woodward said: “We are thrilled that Daybreak has been chosen as Flagship of the Year and the recognition of the significance that this represents. We are really looking forward to our trip down the Thames, up the east coast and back to the Humber. It will be a great opportunity to meet lots of new people and fly the flag for historic ships.”

Martyn Heighton, Director, National Historic Ships UK, commented:  “2014 has seen fierce competition for winning the status of Flagship of the Year. With very strong regionally-based programmes as well as those ranging further afield the judges found identifying one vessel above the rest really challenging. In the end Daybreak stood out. I hope people will seize opportunities to visit [her] this summer”.

More details about Daybreak HERE

Story dated April 28th 2014


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