Sunderland prepares to welcome yacht as city’s apprentices get set for restoration project

The Senora at sea.
The Senora at sea.
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An historic yacht will arrive on Wearside tomorrow as apprentices begin their task at restoring it to its original glory.

Senora has been saved from the scrap heap after a successful public appeal was run to save it.

The inside of the boat.

The inside of the boat.

The classic boat will arrived in Sunderland over the Wearmouth Bridge at 11am tomorrow before she was welcomed into Keel Square at an event filled with theatre and music.

She will then be driven on to a former Pallion shipyard and off-loaded by a beam crane into a building ready for her refit.

The plan is to have her finished off ready for the 2018 Tall Ships Races in the city.

Eighteen young apprentices from Wearside will start restoring the boat as part of an innovative training project by the Senora Trust and Sunderland-based Monumental Training.

We are delighted to be employing our first group of apprentices, and seeing Senora arrive in Sunderland.

Kim Simpson, Senora Trust

The Senora’s restoration will provide a platform for the return of shipbuilding apprenticeships to Sunderland, once the biggest shipbuilding town in the world.

The project aims to prove the manufacturing skills which once made Sunderland famous have been passed on to a new generation.

The training firm will take the 16 to 18-year-old trainees through the NVQ diplomas, placing them into jobs in engineering and construction with the help of businesses.

In March 2015, the generosity of the North East saved the Senora from being destroyed after responding to a rescue appeal for funding made by the trust.

The prow of the Senora.

The prow of the Senora.

The 50ft-long boat will be transported on her new journey from her old home in Newhaven, Sussex, making a dramatic entrance into Sunderland across the Monkwearmouth Bridge. She is

Once restoration is complete, Senora will be moored on Sunderland’s quayside and will be used by community groups, charities and aspiring sailors for day trips, chartered journeys, and sessions to teach sailing skills,

Paul Mason, managing director of Monumental Training, said: “The engineering industry in the region, and country wide, has a growing problem with acute shortage of welders and other core skills in engineering.

“He is confident that this presents a significant career opportunity for young people who will work hard to learn this important trade.

Work is due to begin on the boat.

Work is due to begin on the boat.

“The NVQ curriculum will give the Sunderland trainees the opportunity to work in both metalwork and woodwork skills, so that they will both restore Senora and complete work in steel, aluminium and other metals.“

Kim Simpson, of the Senora Trust, said: “We are delighted to be employing our first group of apprentices, and seeing Senora arrive in Sunderland.
“It’s been hard work getting this far, but seeing the excitement on the faces of our apprentices last week as they signed up makes it all worth it.

“It’s vital the trust continues to raise funds and involve businesses to support our apprentices through to good jobs.
“If you feel you have a heart to do something of real long-term value for young people, and get a beautiful yacht based in Sunderland for the community to enjoy into the future, please get in touch with the trust.”

The Senora is a wooden classic, a gem in larch and oak, designed by the renowned yacht designer Alfred Mylne, and built on the Isle of Bute.

She was owned or sailed by the rich and famous - her owners include a wealthy Scottish industrialist, the chairman of the P&O shipping line and a racing driver.

Because of her speed and manoeuvrability she was requisitioned by the Admiralty in both World Wars, serving as a mine sweeper.

The Senora laid up in a yard.

The Senora laid up in a yard.

The team behind her renovation aim to make her “The People’s Yacht”, available to all.

Tomorrow’s timetable of events

10.30am - Music and theatre event at Keel Square

11am - Senora arrives over the Wearmouth Bridge

11.05am - The lorry carrying the boat will drive to Keel Square and be marshalled into the area

11.30am - The theatre events will come to a close

11.45am - The lorry will exit Keel Square and head to Pallion where it will be lifted off by crane.