22nd July 2020

Marine workers fought hard on Tuesday 21 July 2020 to bring Llys Helig upright. The former luxury yacht, nearly 100 years old, had been on her side since the January gales of 2018.

She was bought almost a year ago by a man with means who is intending to restore her.

The operation involved positioning powerful inflatable bags beneath her starboard (right hand) side, and then inflating them as the spring tide came in to push her upright. A large lorry, parked on the apron at R J Prior’s, used a powerful winch and a long line made up of industrial cable webbing to pull her upright. The webbing was attached to reinforced anchor points on her port quarter.

More lines were then laid out at low tide to provide support so that the lorry could be disconnected.

The intention is to repair her starboard side, make the whole boat watertight, pump out the remaining tons of mud inside and refloat her. Then she will be taken down to the Thames to be dry-docked and fully restored.

The capsized vessel has been a tourist attraction for some time, but has generated local controversy, with some thinking her a fast-deteriorating eyesore.

Below is a gallery of pictures from the rescue operation.

All pictures are © 2020 Nick Skeens, unless otherwise stated. If you want to use the pictures, you can email him at cllrnickskeens@burnhamoncrouchtowncouncil.gov.uk.

This aptly-named boat described the mission rather well – a risky business devoted to saving a boat with beautiful lines


Former Llys Helig owner and owner of Radio Caroline, Peter Moore, who brought Llys Helig to Burnham around 30 years ago,  being interviewed by local broadcaster Ray Clark for the BBC.