This is Cornwall – Every Witch Way


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 Visitors to the Maritime Museum in Falmouth could be forgiven for thinking they are seeing double over the next few months as a new display features a 100-year-old fishing boat and the replica based upon her.

Witch of Worbarrow is an open fishing boat built in 1902, used for catching lobsters and crabs up to six miles out to sea in Worbarrow Bay, near Weymouth. She is of historical interest because she is believed to be the only boat of her type still surviving, but is now too frail to put on the water.

And so it was that in 2010 boat builder Ian Baird, then a student at the Lyme Regis-based Boat Building Academy, decided to build a replica of Witch of Worbarrow and thus Witch of Weymouth was born.

She is a traditional clinker built boat, with larch planks laid over oak frames, and is now the only boat of her kind still in use.

Ian said: “When I started a career change to become a traditional wooden boat builder I wanted to build something that was unusual and local to my home county of Dorset. Recreating Witch of Worbarrow offered me just that opportunity, as she is unique.”

Maritime Museum boat collection manager Andy Wyke, pictured here with the craft, said: “Witch of Weymouth is not a 100 per cent replica: it would be impossible to recreate over 100 years of modification and wear and tear that her older sister has endured.

“Ian, however, took great pains to accurately copy the lines of the old boat and the final result is a beautiful representation.

“It seems very appropriate to have not one but two Witches in the Museum in time for Hallowe’en.

“The question for our visitors now is: which Witch is which?”

Witch of Worbarrow and Witch of Weymouth was on display at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall until the end of December 2011