Tees

Middlesbrough's 'first boat in 20 years' is launched

Gracie Ava is lowered into the Tees
Image caption The Gracie Ava is named after the granddaughter of Jalna Construction's managing director

The first boat built and launched on Teesside in more than 20 years has been despatched.

Jalna Construction spent two years constructing the Gracie Ava in Middlesbrough.

The 45-foot (14m) long boat is now on its way to the Isle of Skye where it will be used for salmon fishing by Feorlig Marine.

The boat's builders said they hope to show engineering is still strong in the North East.

Operators of the AV Dawson Wharf, reputed to be Middlesbrough's oldest dock, said it was the first time they had launched a Teesside-built boat from there in more than 20 years.

Gary Lumby of Jalna, said: "The launch is a fantastic reminder of the world class engineering skills we have here on Teesside and what we can achieve given the opportunity."

The boat was named after Jalna's managing director Greg Horner's four-year-old granddaughter.

Jalna normally provides engineering services to offshore wind and marine projects, but Mr Horner said the company is now considering building a second boat at its site in Riverside Park.

Teesside's rich shipbuilding history started in Stockton in the 15th Century with the profession one of the area's main industries for hundreds of years.

The trade died off in the early 20th Century due to economic slumps and the rise of cheaper shipbuilding elsewhere.

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