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Coastal Exploration Company at Wells-Next-The-Sea sails potatoes from Tulipland in Lincolnshire to Eric’s Fish and Chips in Thornham along with cargo bound for King’s Lynn in bid to help environment





An ex-Royal Marine is using a fishing boat to explore a more sustainable way of transporting cargo from Lincolnshire via the Wash to Norfolk.

Henry Chamberlain set up his Coastal Exploration Company in 2016 from Wells-next-the-Sea and uses a traditional 42ft smack boat called Victorious to collect potatoes from Fosdyke and deliver them to a Norfolk restaurant as a new alternative to diesel trucks.

He is collaborating on his venture with Tulipland farm in Fosdyke, taking chipping potatoes from their depot by sea to East Quay in Wells, and then on via electric car to Eric’s Fish and Chips in Thornham.

LtoR: Patrick Barkham, Henry Chamberlain, Laura Hampton, Colin Herbert Howell. PHOTOS: Peter Naylor
LtoR: Patrick Barkham, Henry Chamberlain, Laura Hampton, Colin Herbert Howell. PHOTOS: Peter Naylor

Mr Chamberlain, 53, said: “I have known Eric Snaith for a number of years from operating in Norfolk and I was aghast at how the potatoes are picked up by trucks to London.

“How crazy it is, with the cost of diesel, it becomes viable to put cargo on a ship which solves the problem of moving things around.

“There is a resurgence of companies that are moving cargo about in boats and I can bring the potatoes in the boats without the use of fossil fuels.“

Henry Chamberlain started Coastal Exploration Company in 2016 with one boat
Henry Chamberlain started Coastal Exploration Company in 2016 with one boat

It was David Parkinson from Fosdyke Yacht Haven who established the links between the trio, reaching out to them to form the supply chain in North Norfolk.

Mr Chamberlain highlights the importance of boat builders and their skills to build and restore wooden dates going hand in hand with sailing and the role Mr Parkinson has played.

After a number of years on active duty as a Royal Marine officer he also works some of the time as a security advisor for the UN in Afghanistan.

Henry Chamberlain has always loved traditional wooden boats
Henry Chamberlain has always loved traditional wooden boats

His company’s mission is not only to reduce the carbon footprint and help the environment but also to take paying passengers along on the voyage and bringing back the use of wooden fishing boats which is dying out.

He managed to get Victorious refurbished and put in the water last year and has always loved wooden boats.

Mr Chamberlain said: “We are getting people into nature and recharging through sailing, wild swim foraging and good food.

Henry Chamberlain set up Coastal Exploration Company which offers trips to people to recharge through sailing
Henry Chamberlain set up Coastal Exploration Company which offers trips to people to recharge through sailing

“I started with one boat and it is one of the ways to take people with us.

“The voyage starts in Fosdyke where the potatoes are and we sail across the Wash.”

This method means that there are no large cargo ships or fossil fuels and it is all wind energy used to transport the goods.

The Victorious docking
The Victorious docking

Along with Eric’s and Tulipland other companies are using Mr Chamberlain’s sailing cargo venture.

Norfolk Natural Living has a depot in King’s Lynn and their natural grooming and beauty products are put on the boat and taken back to their shop in Wells.

Tropic Coffee is used on the charter by guests and the coffee beans are sailed by schooner from South America and roasted in King’s Lynn before being packaged and taken to Wells.

Sailing across the Wash
Sailing across the Wash

Sandringham apple Juice is also used on board the Victorious and Mr Chamberlain hopes that other companies will get on board.

He said: “It is great for companies to put stickers on their products that say cargo by sea.

“Hopefully more companies will come forward.

Collecting bags of Tulip Land Chippers potatoes
Collecting bags of Tulip Land Chippers potatoes

“Charl Knitwear wants to use sailing as it is a good alternative to fossil fuels.”

Mr Chamberlain runs the cargo twice a year with chartered voyages giving the opportunity for keen seafarers to take a trip.

With plans to expand into Suffolk, having worked in Africa for a long time and with the UN the small difference that sailing cargo makes to the planet is important to him and needs businesses to provide cargo.

Victorious on the water
Victorious on the water

He said: “I have always felt that there is a place for these old working boats to make them useful and trying to find a better way of doing things.

“Preserving maritime history and all that knowledge of working with tide and wind is essentially what fishermen are doing.

“There is nothing better than a Norfolk boat and testing my sailing skills and I love the idea of taking all that history and learning going back generations.”

Setting sail
Setting sail

Mr Chamberlain hopes to change the perception and preparing in an uncertain world the future of supply chains and hopes to get to the stage of sailing cargo once a month.

He said: “It is amazing the different routes you can take in life.

“It is important because with the UN it was about making people's lives better.”

The crew on board
The crew on board

Jenny Stanberry, director at Tulipland, said: “It is a good exercise to do and go back to basics using traditional methods.

“We did a sample run with 10 or so bags of potatoes and it depends on the weight and what you can get on the boat.

“Everything we try to do is sustainable as we have to take care of the planet while we are on it.

“It is dependent on when the boat can be loaded and when to sail and that can be in the lap of the gods.”

Eric Snaith, Eric's Fish and Chips in Thornham, Norfolk. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
Eric Snaith, Eric's Fish and Chips in Thornham, Norfolk. PHOTO: SUBMITTED

Eric Snaith runs his family business along with Titchwell Manor and has close connections with Norfolk and Lincolnshire through his upbringing and sustainable farming is an important topic to him,

He said: “For me, this is about my Lincolnshire roots, excuse the pun.

“I was born in Boston and my mum and dad grew up on a farm.

“Sustainability to me is about local supply, keeping it close and supporting each other’s businesses and livelihoods.

Eric Snaith was born in Boston and his parents grew up on a farm. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
Eric Snaith was born in Boston and his parents grew up on a farm. PHOTO: SUBMITTED

“So whilst it’s economical, environmentally speaking, it’s also incredibly beneficial to support the local economy.

“That is at the very heart of what we do at Eric’s Fish and Chips and all my businesses.

“If we can’t keep it local, we are very careful about where we source our products and ingredients.”

The links between Coastal Exploration, Eric’s Fish and Chips, Tulipland and Fosdyke Yacht Haven are essential to sustainability.

Mr Chamberlain added: “David Parkinson has been such a great support.

“Without him we couldn't run these boats in Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

“We are appealing to anybody who wants to ship their cargo sustainably or who wants to come on and help work the boat.”

Visit https://coastalexplorationcompany.co.uk/ for further information.



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