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by Graham Tutthill
The band was ready, the champagne was on hand, Time Team's Tony Robinson was there to record the historic event, and the crowds gathered to watch as a half-size replica of Dover's Bronze Age boat prepared to take to the water.
The only problem was, it started to sink.
A team of craftsmen and archaeologists had been working for several months to build the replica boat, using the same tools and the same methods as their ancestors would have used when the original boat was built more than 3,500 years earlier.
But time was against them. They only completed the task a couple of hours before the launch was due to take place and there was no time to test it.
A team of rowers, complete with life-jackets, were waiting to go on board, but they were not needed.
As the boat was gently lowered into the water at Dover Marina, it soon became clear there was a problem.
It started listing to one side, and after a few minutes it had to be hoisted back out again. Water had got into the boat, and now, as it made its way back on to dry land, water was dripping out of it again.
But the team, though disappointed, were undeterred, and said they would continue their work.
"We are hopeful that we can think again and make the boat good," said archaeologist Peter Clark who has led the project.
"We have come an awfully long way in the past three and a half months and we think we are nearly there."
Paying tribute to all those who had worked on the boat, Mr Clark named it Ole Crumlin-Pederson after a Danish archaeologist who had worked on the project, but died before it was completed.
Full story and pictures in the Dover Mercury next Thursday.
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