Historic prawn boat Helen II
This fishing boat was built in 1910 by Crossfields in Arnside. It is a Morecambe Bay prawner, known as a Nobby. The same company also built Nobbies at its boatyard in Conwy, beside the wing of the town walls which leads across the foreshore.
Nobbies were typically used by relatively poor fishermen to catch prawns, herring and other fish. They had gaff-cutter rigs with three sails. The jib used a retractable bowsprit. Nobbies were steady when handling heavy nets but could also sail quickly. This latter characteristic endeared it to leisure sailors early on, and for many years owners of preserved Nobbies have converged on Conwy for the annual Nobby race during the Conwy River Festival.
Helen II, which is 12 metres in length, was purchased for restoration by a Wirral family in 1999. Ten years later, it moved to Conwy quay for a project that involves students from Coleg Llandrillo and others. Conwy County Borough Council and sponsors funded the creation of a compound and shelter to keep the boat dry during restoration.
When Helen II can sail again, it will be a floating ambassador for Conwy county borough and available for youth sailing and training programmes or team-building activities. The project was boosted in April 2012 by the award of a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Postcode: LL32 8BB
FOOTNOTES: Chronology of Helen II