Maud is a typical Norfolk trading wherry and is clinker-built of oak planks, eleven each side, fastened to oak frames. She measures 60’0″ (18.3m) long x 16’6″ (5m) beam (wide) x 4’0″ (1.2m) moulded depth amidships. There is a 12″ (30.5cm) deep rockered (curved) pine keel bolted permanently beneath the hog (centre spine) of the boat. Two features give her the graceful wherry shape. She has a considerable “sheer”, that is to say her decks rise to stem and stern, and she has the characteristic “flare” (reverse curve) at bow and stern. The hull is tarred, and a noticeable feature is the white “nosings” or “eyes” – two white-painted quadrants on the bows which make the wherry more visible at night.

Relaunch at Burgh Castle, 2017

The oak frames are about 5″ x 4″ (12.7cmx10.2cm) in section and occur every 11″ (28cm) in the main part of the hull. As with most clinker-built boats, the shell of planking was built up first, and the frames were fitted in afterwards, each piece being cut from timber specially selected for its curve. For maximum strength it was essential that the grain of the wood should follow the shape of the frame and each was tailored to fit the planking snugly.

Two types of fastenings were used. Heavy nails to fasten the planking to the frames and bolts to fasten the planks to each other between the frames. The fastenings were originally Muntz metal (a kind of brass) and copper and but where early repairs had been carried out the fastenings were replaced with iron. She is today substantially fastened with galvanised steel.

Two substantial beams cross the hull at either end of the hold area and are firmly fastened to several frames by special wooden brackets or “knees”. Most of the hull is taken up by the hold, 33′ long, which is lined with pine boarding and covered by 16 removable hatches. The sides of the hold are made in two parts, a fixed bottom section and a removable top section, called a shifting right-up. Once the hatches are removed and stacked at either end of the hold the shifting right-ups can also be removed, enabling easier loading by the wherryman who walked up a plank with his barrow.

Fully laden she could carry over 40 tons of cargo, and the hold space was approximately 1,200 cu.ft (34 cu.m).

At the aft end (rear end) of the hold was the wherryman’s cabin with two bunks, cupboards, and a cast-iron coal stove for cooking and heating. Latterly this cabin was occupied by an engine, and the bunks and stove had gone. The cabin is now restored to how it was during Maud’s sailing days.

Read John Henson’s article on the making of the new mast in 1995.