Museum has a fleet of fishing boats

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THE Observer (December 23) said in its story about the rebuilding of the Fishermen’s Museum’s boat Valiant that the museum has ‘15,000’ visitors every year.

But there was a nought missing: the number is actually about 150,000 annually. This is partly because the Museum is open every day of the year, except Christmas Day, 11am to 4pm in winter, and admission is free.

The main attraction in the museum is the lugger Enterprise RX 278, which will be celebrating its 100th birthday this October.

It was built in a shed on Hastings beach for the Adams family, and still looks much as it did in its last days at sea in the early 1950s.

The Valiant RX 90, built in Newhaven in 1953, is an unusual-looking boat, being short and tubby. Legend has it that this is the result of a misunderstanding between her skipper and the builder.

The skipper asked for the boat to be about 27 feet long. He was talking about the keel length, but the builder thought he meant the deck, which overhangs the keel, so the boat is about a yard shorter than it should have been.

The Fishermen’s Museum also owns and looks after five other fishing boats, all on display outside the museum. These are the small open boat Rebecca May, built in 1904 for Dungeness; the Edward and Mary RX 74, now 93 years old; the Stacey Marie RX 134, built in the late 1940s; the Grace Georgina RX 150, built in Newhaven in 1962; and the punt Jimmy Boy RX 10.

STEVE PEAK

Collier Road