The Olga, a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter built in 1909, is now back in the city after a major restoration that’s returned the boat to its original glory.
She is moored at Swansea Museum’s pontoon in Swansea Marina which will be open to the public over Bank Holiday weekends and throughout July and August.
Swansea Council staff at the museum are now gauging interest and working on a programme of activities that will include Swansea secondary schools and organisations like the Swansea Youth Offending Service.
The restoration of the Olga at a specialist Gloucester shipyard is part of a multi-million pound scheme to make Swansea Bay a Watersports Centre of Excellence. The scheme is being funded by the Wales European Funding Office and the Welsh Government through Visit Wales and the Regeneration Area programme.
A grant towards Olga’s conservation was also received from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport through the Museums, Libraries and Archives PRISM foundation.
Drawings and specifications from 1909 were used to design the galley, saloon and sleeping accommodation.
Swansea Museum is now interested in hearing from volunteers who may have the skills and experience to help crew the vessel. Trips along the Gower coast and further afield will be announced later in the summer.
Cllr Graham Thomas, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said: “This is the only remaining Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter that’s in public ownership and belongs to a museum. Its restoration means it now looks as magnificent as it would’ve done in its prime in the early 20th Century.
“It’s our intention to start running trips and sailing classes for disadvantaged children aboard the Olga from the early summer before opening up the opportunity to the wider community.
“Swansea has a rich sailing and maritime heritage and this scheme will help bring the past back to life and offer generations to come a fantastic classical sailing and learning experience.”
The Watersports Centre of Excellence scheme also includes the construction of a centre for watersports on the promenade opposite St Helen’s.
Work that’s now started on site is expected to be complete by the end of July. Kite-surfing, kite-buggying and stand-up paddle boarding are among the activities that could feature at the centre.
Other features of the overall scheme include replacing the existing Swansea Council building at Knab Rock with a purpose-built facility that will include public toilets, showering facilities, changing rooms, an office and a tourism information distribution point.
Contact Swansea Museum for more information about the Olga on 01792 653763.