Sunday, 4 June 2017

Evening On The River

"'Evening On The River,' Oil on Birch, by Mandy Dargin, 2017."
Six months ago I was contacted by Australian fine artist, Mandy Dargin, who offered to produce an artists impression of my boat Gollywog finished and happily floating on the water. I was delighted to work with her and my briefing was as follows-

My vision is of a peaceful and happy boat moored up in a secluded picturesque river side location with warm and gentle dusk lighting. Most importantly depicting a scene in which the boat is being used and cared for, nothing over the top with people on show, but I’m thinking more along the lines of having a few or all of the cabin lights on, perhaps some items left on deck after a busy day's navigating, an item of clothing or a picnic basket.. just some clues as to what kind of pleasures have been enjoyed throughout the day to compose and culminate in such a beautiful and desperately perfect night.

A briefing which Amanda has really taken to heart and transformed 70 x 40cm of blank canvas in to this gentle, dreamy scene. Titled 'Evening On The River' I'm really happy with the end result, the composition and use of colours is a testament to the talent and labour poured into it's creation.

To see more of Amanda's work please visit

Monday, 8 June 2015

On The Move

With the exterior pretty much complete it was time for Gollywog to say goodbye to the big shed and hello the outside world. With a small amount of winching she was lifted up approximately 4 feet in the air and then extracted by our friendly driver from Sealand Boat Deliveries.

Where to? Derbyshire of course. Why? The rent and council tax were frankly crippling the budget. despite Chehire council quoting us a discounted rate because we weren't operating a business, after 6 months they changed their mind and began charging us over 7000 pounds a year for the pleasure of occupying a grotty shed, and whilst the rent was reasonable the landlord was utterly obnoxious. So all in all the price we paid not to get rained on afforded us the luxury of being defecated on instead.

What's next? Now it's time to tackle the interior fit out. In the pleasant surroundings of Roger's yard (where he likes to build steam locomotives and things) and starting with the mechanical side of things, steering, exhaust, electrics etc and with increasing interest from advertising on Apollo Duck it's only a matter of time till she is steaming into the sunset!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Before and After

As the title suggests, this post contains mostly contains before and after photos of the restoration so far. Enjoy!

And as special treat here is a photo of the intrepid photographer himself.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Cockpit's Edge

Laser cut from my old friend 316 stainless steel I laid out the pieces needed to re-trim the edges in something more classy and more Halvorsen than the 70's composite edging it was originally fitted with. 

I trimmed, bent and screwed all 5 pieces to perfectly follow the shape of the boat. Chamfering the joining edges ready for welding.

To maintain a perfect fit I tack welded all the pieces while they were held in place. Using short bursts of high amperage I was able to fuse the steel cold enough not to discolour the wood.

Then with the magic of two days blending the welds, machining the rounded edges, grinding the machining marks, and linishing the grinding marks, only then was I able to begin buffing to a mirror finish.

However despite all the tedious polishing the results are quite satisfying, using matching 316 filler wire allowed me to create invisible joints forming one single ribbon of shininess round the Cockpit's edge.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Bow Handrails

Who doesn't like bow handrails. They embody everything that's great about owning a big motor yacht. The delightful arrogance of igniting fossil fuels and ploughing through the elements with style and grace begins with a strong bow.

I based my stanchion design on a pre-war Bentley handbrake (left), not because I don't have any imagination but because it's a lovely shape. I then produced some CAD drawings and a cardboard prototype.

Using the drawings I had everything I needed laser cut from 6mm 316 Stainless Steel by Alma Sheet Metal. Along with a few other parts for other jobs coming soon!

I added tabs to the centre 'holy' piece and slots to the outers so everything simply slotted, welded and then blended together with no welds showing. Simply.

All the parts were polished before and after I assembled them to get the best possible finish. Not forgetting the polished stainless screws.

Each stanchion was fitted according to the curvature of the deck and the handrail itself was rolled to follow the shape of the boat.

I used a laser to line up the beginning of the hand rails with the existing design.

And the finished thing, complete with the Chrome plated portholes.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

More Shiny Things

The bronze port holes have been chrome plated to fit in with all the polished stainless steel and also for easy maintenance, after all who wants to spend their time bent over buffing portholes.


However the inner opening part, I have left bronze to fit in with the vintage charm of the interior.

I also had this lovely little flag pole holder plated so it didn't feel left out.

Continuing the vintage interior thing, these inwards opening wheelhouse doors have been fitted with fancy Timage anti-rattle brass faced stainless bodied mortice locks, whilst the rebate design allowed me to cut an unobstructed recess around the whole door to fit and aquamac weather seal. Lovely stuff.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Stainless Steel

Recent jobs completed include finishing the removable fore cabin hatch designed by Ritchie. The unit has been finished with 6 coats of International 2k varnish and I flush fitted polished 316 stainless steel piano hinges to give the clean design bonus of being easy to clean.

I replaced the old Vetus 110 stainless steel bollards with new Vetus 110 stainless steel bollards.

And finally a quick glimpse at the work in progress on the 316 stainless steel hand rails.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Deks'ing the Decks

This week, I have mostly been, preparing the side decks and applying Deks Olje saturator to protect the bare teak. Splashing it on with a paint brush and wiping off the excess with a clean rag makes this a satisfyingly simple job. Next I'll be fabricating the stainless steel handrails... which is not so simple.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Textured feeling

A job a long time in the making and recently finished is the rear cabin roof. A compromise between looks and practicality the middle portion has a textured finished while the outer edge is highly polished.

Beginning with 4 coats of 2K high build primer accompanied by copious amounts of rubbing down to smooth out the old fibreglass texture on the roof. 2 coats of International Perfection 2k paint in Mauritius Blue were then sprayed across the whole roof, with an additional 3rd coat applied to the outer edge. Next the centre was masked and more Mauritious blue was mixed with 10 percent silica sand and rolled on for and even texture. Lastly the outer edge was smoothed out from 1200 to 3000 grit and buffed up for nice shine.

In-between each process I left the paint to settle to minimise any shrinkage in the final finish, rather than wasting this time I quit my job building Bentleys, went on a road-trip to Italy and had a short holiday in Cyprus. Which was nice.

The curve of the texture mirrors the curve of the cockpit creating a repetition of shape. 

Many a happy hour was spent masking prepping and polishing this area. Turned out alright tho.

Oh and the wheelhouse roof has also been finished to the same standard, photos to be added soon.

Thursday, 25 September 2014


Australian Boat Restoration now has it's own dedicated website. Rather than relying solely on the blog, I've created an easy to navigate site to compile all the features and details of the project, from a chronological history to the finished specifications. Click below to take a look.

Click here to visit the site

Interior Mock-Up

Using a few car loads of MDF, hardboard and whatever was laying around the workshop I have mocked-up the interior, primarily the aft cabin and wheelhouse. I did this for two reasons, firstly as proof of concept of my drawings and secondly to allow further design inspirations to flourish within the now 3d space. It's great to be able to sit, ponder and pose in this space rather simply study drawings. Also it was quite annoying trying to show people round the boat and having them slide in to the concave void that is a boat bilges.

The fore cabin I have yet to tackle, I have multiple designs depending on the practical demands of the final customer, whether it be a larger bed, bigger bathroom, more storage, extra bunks, etc. I didn't want to obstruct the overall view with some clumsy erections.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Onboard Romance

There is something romantic about boats. While some of them chose to show off their alluring luxurious glow with floating glass wine bars, bubbling hot jacuzzis and proudly displaying the name of the vessel, and most likely the name of the owners lover with backlit stainless steel letters strewn across the stern for everyone to see. Others however are propelled by edwardian engineering, sport the name of a 19th century black faced minstrel doll, and have all the glamour and luxury of a rickshaw. But let's not forget, Gollywog is still a yacht, a boat built purely for pleasure and even tho it didn't have romance billowing from it's boilers, John Goddard still found the time to firmly screw this lovely picture, in-scripted with a message of love from his wife, Katie Goddard, to the wall adjoining the toilet.

To John "God Bless Our Captain"  With Love. Katie.   15.11.75

Personally speaking I can't say I'm entirely sold on the idea of naming 10 tons of buoyant wood and nails after a beautiful significant other, but the way in which my girlfriend kissed me in the wheelhouse while I was in the middle of explaining how the tightly packed grain of the huon pine makes it ideal for boatbuilding leads me to believe, there is something romantic about boats.