‘World of Boats’ museum to open in Cardiff Bay

June 1, 2012 8 Comments »

One of the boats that will be coming to Cardiff, stored in EISCA's warehouse.

A waterfront museum charting the history of boats in set to open in Cardiff Bay this summer, in the hope it will become a major visitor attraction over the next five years.

World of Boats will open in July on a site next to the Doctor Who Experience in Porth Teigr, displaying historic vessels alongside major maritime restoration projects.

The charity behind the development, Eyemouth International Sailing Craft Association (EISCA), started building work in the last few weeks on the site where almost 40 historic boats will go on display.

EISCA, which has a collection of around 200 boats at its headquarters in Scotland, came up with the idea after it began restoring a replica 18th century armed topsail schooner in Roath Basin four years ago.

The charity believed it could build a major exhibition around the restoration and the rest of its collection, and signed a five year lease with Cardiff Council for the land at Porth Teigr.

EISCA spokesman Stephen Walters said the museum will consist of 38 boats, ranging from some of the earliest reed and papyrus boats to 19th century vessels.

Almost all of the boats will be the last surviving example of their kind anywhere in the world.

An Indian Beach coming that will be displayed in Cardiff.

Mr Walters said: “We will be telling the story of man’s use of a plank of wood to get on the water, how he turned it into a paddle boat on the river, a sail boat on the sea, and a cargo boat or a warship to take him all over the world, to the point where in 1860 we have developed a steam engine, fitted it into a boat and driven it with propellers. Our exhibition stops where steam power is invented.”

The boats will be displayed in a 3,500 square foot building with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the waterfront.

There will be a section on restoration and shipbuilding – known as the Boat Lab – where visitors will be able to see restoration in action of at least one boat at any one time.

The first boat to be fully restored at the site will be the Elena Maria Barbara.

She is a replica of an 18th century armed topsail schooner – a type of boat originally used by navies to pass messages between ships.

Replica Elena was built in Russia in 1995. According to the boat’s website, she was designed by naval architect Andrey Ahkmeton as part of a fleet built to celebrate St Petersburg’s tri-centenary.

Mr Walters said once completed, she will be the first 100 per cent replica ship built in the UK since 1958. It is hoped she will be launched in the summer of 2013.

Wun Betta, the boat of a Welshman who tried to sail across of Atlantic solo. This boat will also be coming Cardiff.

World of Boats will also include an education block, and an entrance hall with space for retail and refreshments.

The project will cost in excess of £500,000 to get off the ground. The majority of this will come from the charity’s private backers, with small contributions from other partners including Visit Wales.

Mr Walters said a further £500,000 is expected to be spent on restoration projects over the next 18 months, and while 38 boats will be moved to Cardiff initially, it is hoped the new visitor attraction can be developed further in the future.

Mr Walters said: “Our aim is to be such a success people will say why have you only got 30 boats down here, why don’t you make your HQ in Cardiff. That’s what we would like to see happen within the five years. Prove we are worth inviting, and set up something that is in the top international spectrum of this kind of operation.”

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  1. Guy June 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Will we be able to sail the boats?

    • Your Cardiff June 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Guy – the majority of the boats will be out of the water, inside the museum. But there are plans for some of the 19th century boats to be moored on the new landing dock next to World of Boats and the Doctor Who Experience. You may be able to go on board these, but I don't believe you'll be able to sail them. Hope this helps. Jess

  2. Hendre June 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Does this mean that the really scruffy area around the lock next to the Dr Who Exhibition building will get a tidy up? I hope so. I keep reading about the thousands of visitors who will be flocking to Cardiff for the Dr Who Experience and wonder what they will make of the surrounding area. It also lets down the Cardiff Bay barrage path.

  3. Jim June 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Sounds really great

  4. MrCeri June 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Just curious, is the plan to charge for entry? If so, how much?

  5. John Marsh June 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    I am a local retired with some knowledge of boatbuilding, etc. Will the attraction require volunteers,friends of… or the like. I would really like to get involved.

  6. Becca August 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    When is this due to open? I can't wait as I live minutes away but was actually brought up in Eyemouth (I'm amazed to see the link!) will there be anything about the "Eyemouth disaster" mentioned or is it completely separate?

  7. jen pearce August 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    I heard this place has had a glam opening now. I'd love to bring my dad, he loves boats. Any update on times and prices? I hear its next to Pedal Power bike hire, so you could cycle from there if you drove to it and have lunch in Penarth or Cardiff Bay, can't wait!

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