AN extra special boat was welcomed into Harwich as it makes its way to London to take part in the Mayflower celebrations.

The Lowestoft-based fishing smack Excelsior arrived in the town on Wednesday as it makes its first trip of the season up to the capital.

The boat is the last remaining working Lowestoft sailing smack, and is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Skipper Karol Petryka and his crew of seven enjoyed a “great” overnight stay on Ha’Penny Pier and are “excited” to be part of the Mayflower commemorations on the Thames.

The celebrations will include a flotilla of boats sailing between Tower Bridge and Westminster on Friday.

The Excelsior Trust is a charitable organisation which provides life-changing sailing experiences for young and disadvantaged people, schools, and corporate groups.

It also provides unique sailing opportunities for individuals, all while preserving and maintaining one of the UK’s most historic ships.

Fiona Brunning, of Harwich Haven Authority, said: “Ha’Penny Pier is a popular destination for historic vessels such as Excelsior and we are delighted to see some of them returning to visit us once again this year.

“Excelsior certainly attracted lots of admirers when she arrived on the Ha’Penny Pier pontoons on Tuesday evening, and she looked stunning against the backdrop of Harwich Harbour.

“Our Pier Masters, Sue Daish and Mike Doogan will on hand to welcome visiting sailors throughout the season, which will end towards the end of October.”