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The story of Oakleaf

The finding of the Ferriby Boats raised many questions. What were they built to carry? Where did they sail? How were they powered?

building oakleaf

Above: The half-sized model of the Bronze Age plank boat under construction at a Hampshire boatyard

Below right: Edwin Gifford and crew take to the waters of the solent to test the replica under sail


To help answer these questions naval architects Edwin Gifford and John Coats joined forces and with the help of Ted Wrightís research embarked on building a half scale replica.

In the summer of 2004 the replica successfully completed her first sea trials on the Solent. The results give a tantalising glimpse as to how the boat could have been used.

The trials showed that, although what could be a paddle was found with the remains, a sail would have been a superior form of power for the boat. The design and method of construction allowed the boat to ride waves and land on rough beaches. This would mean bronze age crews could have made long sea voyages and landed safely on unfam
iliar coasts. In suitable weather they could have crossed the North Sea perhaps in three or four days



To mark the start of SeaBritain 2005 negotiations began to bring the replica from Southampton where it had been built and tested to The River Humber where the original had once sailed. The Replica was formally named ‘Oakleaf’ and launched into ‘home’ waters on 16th January 2005

Oakleaf became an international celebrity after featuring in the BBC's widely-acclaimed 'Coast' documentary series, this has helped to raise the profile of not just the replica but also the origional finds.

With the help of The John Good Shipping Group and Andrew Marr International, Ferriby Heritage Trust secured the replica boat and brought her back to North Ferriby to help raise the public awarness of their local heritage. Oakleaf arrived in North Ferriby on the 16th February 2008.

filey1 filey2   filey3

Far left: August 2009 Oakleaf visits Filey to take to the North Sea

Middle: Members of Filey Lifeboat crew help launch Oakleaf.

Near left: Filey boatmen test the stability of Oakleaf

wilberforce1 wilberforce2   wilberforce3 April 2010. Visit to Wilberforce 6th Form College in Hull. Design students research construction techniques of the Bronze Age. Oakleaf is shown fully rigged.

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