An East Coast Yacht
Leila is a rare example of a Victorian racing cutter, built in 1892 in Charlton, London for a businessman who sailed with the Royal Temple Yacht Club at Ramsgate, and is on the National Historic Ships Register. She won the Round Britain race in 1904. Since 1961, she has been owned by the Alison family and moored on Fisher's Quay, Great Yarmouth. She was found by Rob Bull and David Beavan of Southwold in the summer of 2008, when they set up the trust. She will mainly operate from the historic berth in Lowestoft.
Initial funding for lifting out and a survey was obtained from the National Historic Ships Register at Greenwich, and a private donation. She was moved from Yarmouth to Southwold on a quiet sunny day in September 2008. It took three hours to motor out of Yarmouth harbour as the fan belt broke halfway and there were so many barnacles and mussels clinging to the hull after lying for six years alongside. The main and a sort of staysail were set as we cleared the Stanford channel off Lowestoft and a pair of porpoise played her wake as she neared Southwold. The entry to Southwold, just before the spring tide high water, was perfectly timed and she tied alongside to shift 5 ton of internal ballast and de-rig ready for lift out. She was lifted out on September 30th by Harbour Marine Services, when a strong NW’ly wind over Scotland gave us a good spring high water. As a local fisherman said when she came out on the cradle, ‘She just kept coming’ – although she looks like a smack above the water line, her eight foot draught shows her racing yacht pedigree.
She was surveyed and a budget of £125,000 plus volunteer labour set to restore her. The Heritage Lottery fund donated £50,000 in 2009 and a further £40,000 was raised from private individuals and trusts, however the money ran out in 2010. The trust restarted the restoration in 2011 with a £15,000 donation from a local charity, for a launch in the spring of 2012.