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How a 23-year-old is restoring a fishing boat which has rested in Preston Dock for 10 years

Posted on - 2nd January, 2014 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - History, News, People, Riversway

Eleanor checks her course

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Sitting on Preston Dock since 2003 has been the 53-foot hull of Elizmor.

Lovingly restored as a house boat after finishing her fishing days in 1989 it has been over 10 years since she graced the waves.

Now a 23-year-old from Brighton is proving her love for all things nautical as she attempts to make Elizmor sail once more.

Eleanor Gassman, who has lived on boats since she was 18, took on the challenge in November.

She bought the boat and has set about with her family of getting the former Scottish fishing boat afloat.

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Eleanor started with a big whiteboard of tasks needed to get the boat back in the water, and she’s been sharing it online since starting to tick them off in November.

It’s a team effort for the restoration of Elizmor, with Elearnor’s boyfriend, father and mother all helping to get the boat ship-shape.

Kitting out the boat has been a big undertaking for Eleanor but she says she’s learning a lot.

“I am lucky my Dad spent a lot of time on boats when he was younger and is very good at the electronics,” said Eleanor, “And my boyfriend Johnny is a carpenter, which is handy.

“Fortunately the previous owners had done the conversion to make it into a house boat, we’ve mainly been working on the engine and the parts to ensure she can sail again.”

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Elizmor has all mod-cons, with cosy bunks in the cabins, a full Rangemoor cooker in the hull and a newly fitted Garmin GPS system to help guide the boat on its 600-mile return to the seas.

She said: “I’m hoping once we get her back in the water I’ll be able to sail her down to Brighton.

“The plan is to lift her back into the dock. It was a bit odd booking a 200-tonne crain for when we do it.

“Once she’s in we’ll see if there are leaks and then get her patched up.”

Living aboard the boat hasn’t stopped Eleanor exploring some of Preston – as she tells on the blog she’s been keeping about the restoration – venturing to a gig at 53 Degrees.

She said: “I’ve mainly been working on the boat but I’ve taken a few trips around the city, but there doesn’t seem to be much happening compared to Brighton. Although the beer is a lot cheaper!

“I’d like to see more of Preston before I set sail though.”

The history of Elizmor has been keeping Eleanor busy. She didn’t have much information about the boat’s history but discovered an online shrine to all things fishing boats.

“I found this online forum about fishing boats,” she said, “and this led me to a Facebook group about Scottish fishing boats.

“I posted some pictures of Elizmor and there were lots of people who remembered the boat during her fishing days. They gave me lot of information about her.”

The name of the boat comes from it builders, two fisherman, who named her after their two daughters – Elizabeth and Morag.

A picture sits in the cabins down below which Eleanor thinks could be one of the fisherman and one of the daughters.

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She is also working on registering the boat with the National Register of Historic Vessels.

Eleanor is hoping to put her back in the water during January and then patch her up before setting sail.

You can follow the progress of Elizmor on the blog, or on Twitter or Facebook.

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