Category Archives: Restoration and repair

Oyster boats and mystery boats

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Fal oyster boats at Mylor. As usual, click on the images
for larger photos

The start of the Tall Ships Race included some interesting-looking mystery boats, as did a brief trip to Mylor and it’s cute little church. But first I thought I should show you some of the last sail-powered fishing boats in the UK. These yacht-like vessels work oyster beds in the Fal and Helford estuaries and are forbidden by a local byelaw from using engines. On their days off I gather those who work them also enjoy some keen racing.

For material relating to Percy Dalton, artist and designer of the St Melorus Fal oyster boat, click here.

Falmouth quay punt (I’d guess), a handsome motor cruiser, and
a mackerel driver (again, that’s my guess) at the start of the Tall
Ships race. That’s Sedov in the background in the last photo,
by the way

I was intrigued by this little dinghy, which must have been either
strip-planked or carvel, or something in between. Does anyone
know the answer from what you can see?


The moment every boat restorer looks forward to, hopes for, and dreams about

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Ross Lillistone’s restored Finn

Sailing in perfect conditions and looking good… Here is a Flickr set of boatbuilder and restorer Ross Lillistone’s restored Finn thought to have been built for the 1956 Olympics. As Ross points out, the sail isn’t quite right, but she looks great to me!

Here’s Ross’s email to me about it:

‘Dear Gavin,

‘The set was put up by Michael Storer after I sent him a few pictures of the boat after an on-line conversation.

‘The boat was restored by an apprentice at Norman Wright & Sons in Brisbane quite a few years ago, and passed through several hands before coming to me. Research suggests that she was originally KA 6, but in the photos she is carrying the sail KA 151, which itself carries a stamp from the 1970 Finn Gold Cup. I’m afraid that I can’t take credit for the restoration, but I am the custodian and maintain her. She is a beautiful boat, built from five layers of diagonal cedar, with an Australian red cedar plywood deck. Super to sail, even for a 54 year-old like me!

‘You may be interested in other photos which appear on my website. The boat I’m working on at the moment can be seen under the buttons labeled Periwinkle Photos (1, 2 and 3). She is a design and build commission, and you will see that her layout bears a striking resemblance to Nathanael Herreshoff’s Coquina. This was definitely not a case of copying, but rather an example of convergent evolution, separated by one-and-a-big centuries. The rig configuration determined the layout.

Please let me know if you want more photos (or drawings) of any of my stuff.



Thanks Ross. To you and to other professionals, I’d say that focuses on traditional, traditionally built and vintage boats, with occasional forays into modern designs derived from traditional types. If you’ve got a story to tell, please get in touch. I need good photos, and 200-300 words or a little more if you need them to tell your story.

Photos of the Regates Royales de Cannes 2008 from Guy Capra

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Swept decks to die for

Guy Capra sent me links to some photos he took of this year’s Regates Royales de Cannes annual meet. Guy, you may remember, is the inventor and promoter of the Godyoto.

Here’s his note:

‘Hello Gavin,

‘Here are some photos of the Regates Royales de Cannes I took – you can use or point to them if you want

‘I think the young man on the large yacht Moon Beam is an apprentice carpenter seen on the French TV today at the news TF1 13h.

‘Also, these photos show details of the Amerigo Vespucci when she was in Toulon recently, and here is an an interesting short video of making a traditional rope.


Thanks Guy – some nice photos there!