200-year-old Boadicea may be oldest regularly sailed boat in world
The Boadicea sailing off West Mersea, Essex
A lifeboatman will celebrate the 200th anniversary of his boat, Boadicea, tomorrow. The boat, a 30ft, 12-tonne oyster smack owned by Reuben Frost, of West Mersea, Essex, may be the oldest boat in the world still regularly sailed.
She was built when Britannia ruled the waves, three years after Nelson died at Trafalgar, and she has been in the Frost family for 70 years. Mr Frost still has the boat's registration document, paperwork detailing the owners over two centuries, and has a website - www.oystersmack.org.uk.
He said: “I think she's survived so long because she's always been loved.” Boadicea was built by James Williamson of Maldon, Essex, and bought by Mr Frost's grandfather, Michael Frost, a dentist who lived in Colchester, Essex, for £175 in 1938.
“She was built in 1808 as an oyster smack and was worked commercially until 1938, when she passed into the hands of my grandfather,” said Mr Frost, who works as a fireman.
“During the spring and summer Boadicea can be found regularly racing against other smacks and classic yachts and if there is a stiff breeze we can hold our own. During the autumn we still drift net for herring.
“Boadicea is solid as a rock at sea, even in a hard blow with everyone else putting a reef in she comes alive. Aft, at the helm, you can still sit with a cup of tea and bacon sandwich with no fear of losing either if you put them down.”
Mr Frost says Boadicea has been repaired and renovated many times and had an engine fitted in the 1970s.He hopes she will soon have a new life as a charter boat.
He said: “She's only had a dozen owners and they've all taken great care of her. She'll see me out and hopefully pass on to the next generation of the family.”