The code that marks out boats as calling Great Yarmouth home
- Credit: Archant
YH1 sails back into harbour today, figuratively speaking, as more information arrives about that distinctive Great Yarmouth port registration.
Recently I mentioned that there were seven YH1s down the decades, including the Our Seafarer – now in the Scottish harbour of Ullapool but – according to ex-Gorlestonian Jack Harrison, now resident up there – looking retired and needing some TLC.
Then another ex-Gorlestonian, Peter Richards, now living in Kent, reported: “My family still lives in Bradwell and my sister Jenny regularly sends me Mercury articles. Your headline – ‘In search of town’s fishing fleet pioneer’ – has a touch of irony in it that you will not be aware of!
“After leaving the Technical High School, I worked in the Co-op in Gorleston High Street until I was asked if I would like to go fishing on my brother’s boat one afternoon as he had an injured crewman.
“I never returned to the shop.
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“His vessel, the G and E (LT446), was the last wooden vessel built at Richards Shipbuilders (now Alicat) on Southtown Road in Yarmouth in 1964.
“In 1982 I teamed up with Wally Saunders and we had the Red Rose built.
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“The picture with your recent article showed the Walisa (YH1) with Wally’s father and his crew.
“When Mr Saunders senior died, Wally and I built a bigger vessel –selling the Walisa but transferring her YH1 to the Red Rose, built locally at Goodchild Marine.
“Goodchild did a fantastic job building her and the Mercury did an article on her when we launched.
“After a couple of successful years we decided to buy a bigger vessel, securing a loan to buy the Our Seafarer. We fished together for a couple of years, then Wally branched out on his own and bought the Roannah.
“We both fished on for many years from Gorleston quay until quotas became so small we were unable to make the vessels pay with three to four crew, and both downsized.
“The Our Seafarer was sold and went to Scotland where she still lays, looking abandoned and still with the last coat of paint we put on in 2001!
“The number YH1 should have been removed but, as she is never used, this seems to have slipped past the registry people.
“It upsets me to see it that way as we always kept her pristine.
“After selling the Our Seafarer I purchased another vessel, naming her The Pioneer, and registered her as YH1, which she still carries.
“I worked her with my eldest son, Daniel, until he went to work as a technician at the Scroby wind-farm, where he is still employed.
“I tried single-handed for a while after that but then took a career change and sold The Pioneer, which went to Falmouth.
“Hence the irony of your headline, ‘In search of town’s fishing fleet pioneer’. I hope that’s answered your question about the number!
“Wally and I changed employment to the offshore wind-farm renewables sector – and while it came along at the right time with the downturn in the fishing industry, we both would have loved to have continued fishing, but still enjoy a good old yarn about times gone by.”
Peter adds: “A strange thing happened when looking for wind-farm crew a couple of years later. I received an email from someone seeking work. The email address was PioneerYH1@hotmail!
“Perplexed, I just couldn’t work it out until we met him and asked him. He had just purchased the Pioneer and had no idea that I originally owned it!”
Reader Tony Harris, of Churchill Road, Yarmouth, writes: “I read with interest your article in the Mercury. I travel regularly to Newquay in Cornwall to visit relatives.
“A few years ago I was very surprised to see a fishing vessel with the registration YH1 in Newquay harbour.
“I will keep a lookout on future trips to see if it makes another appearance!”