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The Restoration

The damage to the Swan was greater than first thought. What started off as extensive repairs became a rebuilding exercise.

She needed a new keel, new bilge stringers and all her decks were to be renewed. It was also discovered that her nails had rusted away. So, a decision was taken to replace all of the planking. In retrospect this was one of the best decisions taken, as it allowed necessary changes to be made to make the ship comply as a passenger vessel.
Skilled carpenters undertook the work through the summer of 1992. After many months of hard labour, The Swan was once again ready to take to water on Saturday 16th April 1994. A proud day for all of the committee and workmen. There was still a lot of work to do on the internal fit out however, and it would be another two years before The Swan was ready to sail again.

In 2021, a BBC Radio Shetland programme celebrated 25 years since the relaunch of the Swan, including interviews with those involved in her return to Shetland, her restoration and new life as a Sail training vessel. Listen to the programme here.

If you’d like to know more about the history or restoration, look out for 'The Swan - Shetland's legacy of sail' by James R. Nicolson, available from the Shetland Times Bookshop - both online and from the shop in Lerwick.

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Want to get involved in maintaining and operating a traditional wooden sailing vessel? There are a number of different ways you can volunteer to safeguard, care for and sail this unique heritage asset.

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The Swan Trust is among 29 local projects and charities to receive funding from the Shetland Charitable Trust for 2022/23. This support will help enable the Trust to continue to deliver its volunteering and sailing opportunities to the community, as well as promote and keep Shetland’s maritime heritage alive.

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To celebrate 25 years since her relaunch, BBC Radio Shetland recently aired a one hour programme about the Swan returning to Shetland in the early 1990s, her restoration and new life as a sail training vessel.

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