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£20,000 funding bid to patch up The Reaper

The Reaper heads a 50-strong flotilla back to Anstruther.
The Reaper heads a 50-strong flotilla back to Anstruther.

A £20,000 fundraising campaign has been launched to save a historic Fife ship after it was swept over in a Mearns harbour.

The Reaper limped south to Arbroath on Wednesday to undergo extensive repairs after it keeled over on to its side in Johnshaven harbour on August 6.

Canvas patches have been applied to the damaged side of the Fraserburgh-built vessel to keep the water out for her journey to Arbroath.

John Firn, vice-chairman of the Anstruther-based Scottish Fisheries Museum, which owns the boat, said the fundraising drive is being launched to allow “urgent repairs” to begin.

He said: “The Museum Trustees, its naval architects and marine surveyors had scheduled a major 25-year refit of Reaper for late 2017 onwards to maintain the boat’s continued seagoing capability that enables it to deliver the Museum’s outreach activities to coastal communities around Scotland and the North of England.

“The damage incurred at Johnshaven means that the planned major refit has to be brought forward.

“Funding is required to begin the repair of this major and widely loved icon of Scotland’s maritime heritage, which is also a core vessel in the UK’s National Historic Fleet, to continue a seagoing life that began in Sandhaven in 1903.

“The Museum urgently needs to raise £20,000 to begin essential hull repairs to Reaper so that she can make passage for slipping to begin the major refit which is expected to take 15-18 months.

“Every donation will be so important and so much valued.

“We need to get her back to her pristine seagoing best so that its skippers and crew can continue attending coastal events and sharing her amazing story with the visiting public and local communities.”

Reaper, the 113-year-old Fifie Herring Drifter, is the seagoing flagship of the Scottish Fisheries Museum.

The vessel was damaged whilst attending the Johnshaven Harbour Festival.

Just before opening to festival visitors, a sudden gust of wind on her big red foresail led to mooring tackles snapping and she then fell onto her port side.

A crew member was injured but is now recovering at home.

Before being righted the rapidly rising tide led to Reaper taking in water and it was 48 hours before she was back on an even keel.

Mr Firn added: “The Museum Trustees and Boats Club are very grateful to all those in the local community, the emergency services and others for their tremendous care and support.”

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