Memento of the Swiftsure's trip

20:07, Aug 21 2012
Jeff Sewell
Well out of order: Jeff Sewell checks his cellphone after it was recovered from under the deck of the Swiftsure whaling boat by Ron Perano after being lost during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Regatta on the River Thames two months ago

London was not calling, but Jeff Sewell got his own memento of Marlborough boat Swiftsure's historic visit to London when his mobile phone was recovered from the boat yesterday.

Retrieving the phone was one of the first tasks for boatbuilder Ron Perano after the Swiftsure arrived back from London last week.

Mr Perano and a six-strong crew from Marlborough Boys' College rowed the replica whaler down the River Thames as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee regatta in June.

During the excitement of the regatta they did not realise the English phone Mr Sewell had lent them had slipped off a ledge and under the deck near the bow of the boat. By the time they realised it was missing they were sure the phone would be too damaged to work as the bottom of the boat was filled with about 20 centimetres of water, Mr Perano said.

Unable to find the phone after a quick search the next day, they decided to leave it until the boat finished its 19,000km journey back to Marlborough, via Nelson.

While the phone was well and truly broken when it was retrieved yesterday, Mr Sewell was philosophical about the loss, joking that it was still special after travelling around the world and attending the royal event.


He was hopeful Nokia or Vodafone might be willing to pay him back the £50 credit still on the phone.

One part of the replica whaling boat will be returning to England to the town of Marlborough, in Wiltshire. Mr Perano said the town council had asked for one of the oars to hang in their newly refurbished council chambers with a plaque telling the story of the boat.

Mr Sewell said Marlborough council staff member David Sherratt, who came up with the idea, had lived in New Zealand and had written a history of New Zealand whaling.

Mr Perano hoped the next outing for the Swiftsure would be on Sunday afternoon at the welcome home party on the Picton foreshore for Olympic gold medal rower Joseph Sullivan.

He is also planning demonstration rows in Blenheim and Picton so people who supported the trip could see the boat in action.

The Marlborough Express