UP UNTIL the end of the 1960s, a Snipe sailing dinghy could be seen cutting through the waters of Lough Erne at Crom Castle.

For 15 years, such a distinctive boat was regularly raced on the Lough, but no more.

Now however, Fred Ternan and his brother, George, are nearly there with their project of getting another Snipe out on the waters around Crom Castle once more.

They are in the final stages of their restoration of a Snipe, and hope to have it officially launched by this Summer.

“[This Snipe] was built before World War Two. We believe it might have been built in the Bangor area, because we know it was entered in a regatta at Ballyholme Yacht Club in 1949,” explained Fred.

“We’ve just found that out recently. We’ll be finalising the woodwork on Thursday [April 1] afternoon, and then she would have to be painted.

“So that should be finished by the end of April, and we will get her ready for launching after that.”

Fred hopes to have some of the people who would have raced a Snipe dinghy on Lough Erne back in the 1950s and 60s at the launch, such as Johnny Madden, who has provided him with boats and information on them.

But for the time being, Fred – who has had a distinguished career in sailboat racing – is glad to reach the finishing line of his latest project, and is looking forward to the Snipe sailing again at Crom, which was the centre of sailboat racing in Lough Erne at one time.

“It has been a big job,” said Fred, who has been working on the boat with George for more than a year.

“We had to renew most of the keel, and then the garboards on side of the keel, and then all the deck beams had to be replaced and that was the main part of it.

“We were able to use some of the actual decking, but some of it had to be replaced.”

Fred has been in touch with the North American Association of this class of dinghy, as well as the UK Association, and he hopes maybe when life returns to some sort of normality, the UK class might come over and put their modern-day Snipe dinghy to the test on Lough Erne.