Today the new Government launch finally had its christening test run down at Cascade Bay. It was a glorious winter's day, with hints of Spring just round the corner. The sky was clear and blue, and water was calm and sparkling in the sunshine.
We arrived just as the crane let the boat down into the water, with 4 people aboard - John and Darren from the Joinery, Matt from Admin Works Department, and Short Graham at the helm. The first 3 were the main ones who had worked on the boat, while Short was there because he has been driving the Government launches for decades (and his father before him.) I believe the new launch is to be named after him! In any case, you could not wipe the wonderful smile of pride and pleasure from his face as he put the launch through its paces!
Everyone agreed that it glided just beautifully through the water, and did everything expected of it, and more....
John Deadman, the Lighterage manager, told us it is almost exactly 50 years since the last Norfolk built launch, "Philly"(named for its builder Philly McCoy) was built. He said that they are considering restoring "Philly", as it will almost certainly outlast the imported metal ones that have since been imported.
After half an hour or so, the launch came back to the pier, and some others were invited aboard, including Bernie, and others who had been involved in the project, including John's apprentices Adrian and Jake.
Having passed its test run with flying colours,"Short" will go into serious service towing the lighters in a week or so when the next ship comes in.