Centenarian takes a trip on boat he last saw 90 years ago

Pat Donaghy onboard Maidie last weekend.

Pat Donaghy onboard Maidie last weekend. Mr Donaghy hadn't seen the vessel since 1931. - Credit: Mike Barnes

A centenarian fulfilled a childhood dream when he took a cruise on board a yacht he first saw when he was 10 years old.

Pat Donaghy, who turned 100 earlier this year, was able to watch the racing cruiser, Maidie, with interest once more on the weekend as she competed in the 2nd River Cruiser open event at the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club in Wroxham.

Maidie, then called the Nathalie, in 1904

Maidie, then called the Nathalie, in 1904. At the time, the boat belonged Edward Morley, a jeweller based in Norwich. - Credit: Mike Barnes

Mr Donaghy used to watch yacht racing on Oulton Broad when he was a child. In particular he followed the fortunes of the racing cruiser Maidie.

When Mr Donaghy last saw Maidie sailing in 1931, Billy Ames was on the helm leading the fleet on Oulton Broad.

After the River Cruiser open event, the crew on board Maidie brought Mr Donaghy on deck and took him for a cruise around the Broad.

Maidie last weekend in Wroxham.

Maidie last weekend on the Wroxham Broads. - Credit: Mike Barnes


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Mr Donaghy shared first hand knowledge of the characters associated with the ship's past.

Mike Barnes, owner of Maidie, said: "It was profoundly moving to see Pat on board Maidie.

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"Pat was able to share remarkable information about Maidie's past, and with me being an old boy and my crew being young, it was a direct connect with the past.

"It was nothing short of extraordinary."

An old crew for the Maidie surrounded by trophies.

The crew for Maidie/Nathalie in 1909. At the back left, is Edward Morley, the boat's original owner. - Credit: Mike Barnes

Maidie was originally called the Nathalie and built in 1904 for Norwich Jeweller Edward Morley.

Mr Morley had a short but highly successful racing career with the boat and won back the building costs in the first year through prize money and wagers. 

Maidie then passed through a series of wealthy owners up to the Second World War, including travel agent Sir Thomas Cook, and millionaire timber merchant Sir William Mallinson.

Maidie racing at Wroxham Broad.

Maidie racing at Wroxham Broad. - Credit: Andrew Wolstenholme

Mr Barnes added: "That she has survived to the present day, is in no small measure due to her racing supremacy in those early years, which was in itself largely influenced by the performance of her professional crew under Oulton man Billy Ames."

The Norfolk Broads Yacht Club are making final preparations for the return of Wroxham Town Regatta, which will take place from July 26 and August 1.

WROXHAM REGATTA
MAIDIE
Pictures:SONYA BROWN
Copy:JOHN LAWSON
For:NORFOLK AFLOAT
©EDP 2004

WROXHAM REGATTA MAIDIE Pictures:SONYA BROWN Copy:JOHN LAWSON For:NORFOLK AFLOAT ©EDP 2004 - Credit: Archant

Maidie competing in a River Cruiser race just days after being dismasted in an accident on Wroxham B

Maidie competing in a River Cruiser race just days after being dismasted in an accident on Wroxham Broad Photo: Bill Smith Copy: Alan Mallett For: EDP sport Archant © 2007 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2007

Recently rebuilt Broads yacht Maidie racing at the Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club.

Recently rebuilt Broads yacht Maidie racing at the Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club. - Credit: Archant Library

WROXHAM REGATTA
MAIDIE
Pictures:SONYA BROWN
Copy:JOHN LAWSON
For:NORFOLK AFLOAT
©EDP 2004

WROXHAM REGATTA MAIDIE Pictures:SONYA BROWN Copy:JOHN LAWSON For:NORFOLK AFLOAT ©EDP 2004 - Credit: Archant


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