About The Story Boat Project

The Story Boat Project gives a new lease of life to the retired fishing boat Vera of 1923, in collaboration with wheelwrights Mike Rowland & Son, by upturning her and transforming her into a miniature maritime world.

In 2010, Gail McGarva built a daughter-boat to Vera with funding from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust in order to preserve the Lerret, a boat type in danger of extinction, and preserve the art of boatbuilding 'by eye'.  With mentor Roy Gollop, the lines were taken from the motherboat and the daughterboat was 'built by eye' without the use of designer drawings and construction plans.

The daughter-boat was named Littlesea and Gail held a vision for the motherboat Vera.

Preserving the art of boat building 'by eye' with mentor Roy Gollop
Littlesea - preserving the art of boat building 'by eye' with mentor Roy Gollop

In 2017 Gail's vision for Vera came to fruition with funding support from Arts Council England, The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, the G. F. Eyre Trust and other local funders.

The Story Boat - interpretation
Preserving the memory of the motherboat, Vera as the Story Boat

Vera the Story Boat now travels to primary schools and community venues offering maritime heritage workshops, celebrating the story of the motherboat and her fishing community.

In 2014, Gail was awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to clinker boatbuilding and heritage crafts; in 2015 she was awarded the Lord Balfour Prize for exceptional achievement in craft; she is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Craft.

Discover more about Gail and the project here

Vera as The Story Boat (c) Artsreach