AMBITIOUS boatbuilders are on the hunt for treasure to bring good luck to a life-size replica ship that will sail to America.

Once completed, the Mayflower, a replica of the 1620s ship that ferried the pilgrims to the New World, will retrace its maiden voyage.

But before the ship is brought to life using historic building methods, traditional ceremonies and customs are also hoped to be repeated.

The first is set to be a keel-laying and coin ceremony.

Sean Day, spokesman for the Mayflower Project, based in George Street, Harwich, said: “The keel is iconic in building a ship.

“Now we are looking for a gold coin to go in the keel. It would be great to have a solid 1620 coin, maybe a sovereign or two-gram coin, an English one.

It is hoped the ship will sail in 2020 to mark the 400th anniversary of original Mayflower voyage.

While the build is ongoing, project bosses have been offering work experience for Harwich and Dovercourt High School students, extending the apprenticeship and vocational training schemes and even winning the charity cup prize at this year's Tendring Show.

A pole-lathe has been built and put into action creating finer details like handrails.

Anyone who can help with the build or finding a coin for the keel is asked to call or 01255 318023.