Boat building

Building our own boat Papilio Ruga

Building the Feadship Seaflower

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My first foray into boat building was at the age of eight. With the help of my long-suffering mother, I designed and built a small boat. As I recall, it was about the size and shape of a small coffin. It nearly became a coffin, as it sank on its maiden voyage, in the middle of a fairly swift-flowing river!

My parents bought me a small rowing boat, and then a little later, a sailing dinghy, but I still had the bug to build. As a teenager, I built a couple of canoes and a Mirror sailing dinghy, and then with a couple of friends, rebuilt an old gaff cutter called Gypsy.

She was built in 1908, and I think we must have spent at least five or six hours working for every hour of sailing - it was a lot of fun though, and a great learning experience.

Our next big venture was to build an 11 meter junk-rigged schooner. Lana and I built her in England and then we sailed her out to the West Indies.

She was called Papilio Ruga, which is Esperanto for Red Butterfly.

To read about her build, please click here.

When we arrived in the West Indies, we both got jobs working for a charter-boat company called The Moorings. Lana was running the dive shop, while I was organising the maintenance of the fleet of charter boats. The company was running in excess of a hundred boats from this one base in Tortola at that time.

One of the most interesting parts of the job was to supervise the construction of new boats that were being built in the US on behalf of The Moorings. I selected equipment and engines to give us the best commonality of spares, and made frequent trips to the manufacturers for quality control. We even got to sail a few of them down from Florida!

I supervised the build of six Morgan 60 schooners, in excess of fifty Morgan 46s and twelve Mariner 40s.

Morgan 60

Morgan 46

After sailing on board various yachts, and being involved with numerous refits, I was lucky enough to become Project Manager for the build of the 40 meter Feadship Seaflower. I spent some two years in Holland overseeing the build, before sailing her for some two thousand miles.
To see something of the build of Seaflower please click here.

Some friends of ours are now publishing a nautical newspaper called The Triton. Lots of news and useful info.

Click here to visit them

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