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Tim's Boating Blog

Sunday 8th May

Birdham Pool Marina's 7th Classic Boat Festival

Visit their website here.


Thursday 29th April

Boleh left Birdham Pool on Tuesday 19th April 2022, ready for a busy new season, after her Winter refit ashore with us


Wednesday 2nd March

It is good to have Tiger C back with us again. She, like all of us, coped with the COVID lock downs in her own way. Circumstances meant that she has spent the last two years on a mooring, or in a boatyard on the River Tamar. But she returned to her home of Itchenor, and after being in our shed for about 3 weeks, she is repainted, re-varnished and anti-fouled ready for the new 2022 season.


Sunday 20th February

Leading Wind in our shed early 2022, to have all her brightwork re-varnished. She was re-launched two weeks later, and didn’t make a drop of water!


Thursday 17th February

In late Summer 2021, Earendil came into the shed and we recaulked her deck, and prepared all her brightwork, then built up coats of Coelan clear coating over their tinted primer


Saturday 23rd January

Boleh arrived at Birdham Pool 6th December 2021 . She is now blocked off in the yard, and we have started on the schedule of work we have been asked to carry out this Winter. She had a full season of charters last year, and is looking good!


Saturday 7th August

All the work is now completed for Triggers Broom’s new cockpit sole and interior


Sunday 23rd May

The first week of May 2021, Volante’s new keel bolts arrived, and we reunited her with her ballast keel on a new tarred felt gasket. When this work was completed, the boat was moved back into our shed, and work commenced on resplining the hull topsides planking.


Wednesday 30th April

With Boleh's mast assembly repaired and re-varnished, and all the hull maintenance completed, she was re-launched, the mast stepped and her new Fischer Panda generator set installation completed by their engineer. We then carried out some modifications to the generator enclosure/ cabin table assembly that became necessary to accommodate the new genset installation.

Boleh left Birdham Pool near the top of a nice big Spring tide on Tuesday 27th April, to go back to her berth in Haslar Marina


Wednesday 24th March

‘Frenesi' was moved out of our shed and re-launched with all the repair work completed, early January 2021. Both her masts were re-varnished before re-stepping, and a new set of standing rigging was supplied and fitted by Holman rigging.


Wednesday 21st January

‘Boleh' came to Birdham Pool on 14th December2020, to have her mast assembly un-stepped then be lifted out and blocked off in the yard. We will then, over the Winter, check over and re-varnish the spars, carry out the general hull maintenance, remove her original generator set that provides the power for her electric propulsion, modify existing genset bearers, then lift in a new, more compact unit ready for connecting up.

This will be the first time her spars have been un-stepped in five years’


Tuesday 13th October

‘Freya’ is a 27 foot double ended Norwegian motor boat built in 1971.

After the large programme of repair work carried out over 2019/2020, Freya was re-launched without her interior fit out, or engine, to see how the hull would take up. She has been moved to a shallow berth, do that we can keep an eye on her for a few weeks’


Sunday 26th July

‘Ariadne’ is a Boston Pilot Cutter, built in 1904. She arrived at Birdham Pool on 10th July2020, and is now blocked off in the yard ready for us to start a repair program to enable her to be re-launched as soon as possible


‘Talisman IV finally goes on her maiden voyage from Birdham Pool after goodness knows how much time and effort to achieve! My wife and I went out for a day trip down the harbour on 17th July 2020. Engine behaved faultlessly, and is plenty enough power for the boat’s designed purpose. Looking forward to more trips. Think she will be fine for short passages in the Solent in good weather.


Wednesday 6th May

‘Iris’ came out of our shed and into the shipyard on 1st May morning. Great to see her emerge into some sunshine. Very smooth operation carried out by the yard crew, John, Dave and Chris. Thanks, guys!

With the Marina still under lockdown, I was dreading the point at which we needed a boat moved, in order for us to start work on another, but the management decided that it would be possible to do some critical boat movements, without breaking the present government rules, which makes such a difference for us.

Still work to be done on ‘Iris’, but just about all of it below decks now.

She has left a very big space in the shed, but it will be filled up again very soon?


Monday 3rd March

Birdham Pool Marina - Classic Boat Festival 2020 is coming June 13th and 14th.

Please view the PDF for more details by clicking the image below or visit their website here.


Wednesday 8th January

'Talisman’ at last has her new engine lowered in. It is a 35hp Beta Marine diesel. I specified the 7 degree down angle gearbox to keep the the height of the engine to minimum above the cockpit sole, which is about 120mm. Just need to get on with all the many jobs necessary to get it ready to run now!


Saturday 5th October

We completed all the work necessary to enable Leading Wind to be re-launched, and she was afloat in time for the Classic Boat Festival. Two weeks later, after getting all the fittings on and all the rigging done, the lovely new mast was stepped, and the engine lifted back in. Getting very close to being ready for that long awaited maiden voyage following this extensive schedule of repair work.


Friday 29th September

Iris is a Westerman 40 designed by Ed Burnett and built by Covey Island Boat Works, Nova Scotia. She was lifted out at Birdham and moved into our shed soon after the Classic Boat Festival. She is the biggest vessel we have ever worked on in the shed. She fits in there fair enough, though looks vast! We have a large and diverse schedule of work to carry out on her this Autumn/ Winter of 2019.


Friday 13th September

2019 Birdham Pool Classic Boat Festival Weekend was the best yet. The sixth year it has been held saw well over 20 lovely wooden boats gathered all dressed overall. The weather was brilliant, lots and lots of people enjoying themselves in the sun. Live music excellent as usual. I spoke to many people, those with their own boats, and others who are just interested in what we do. Great to see a few friendly faces I have not seen for a long time.

You can watch a short video of the event by clicking the image below:


Friday 22nd June

Birdham Pool Marina - Classic Boat Festival 2019 is coming Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th September.

Please view the PDF for more details by clicking the image below or visit their website here.


Tuesday 5th June

After 33 years of Ownership, Dermot Wright decided that he must sadly part with Blue Gem. It is a sad time for me, too. I have known the boat ever since I first joined Combes Boatyard, Bosham in 1989, and Dermot has had my company look after her maintenance needs since 2000.
She has found a new home now upon the inland waterways of the Midlands . Hope she will continue to be well looked after



Sunday 12th May

Boleh re-launched just before Easter, after a programme of routine maintenance carried out. All ready for a busy season!



Thursday 4th April

This year, is the first year that Boleh has been lifted out at Birdham Pool for annual maintenance. We have repair of topsides paint work, antifouling and a list of other smaller jobs to be carried out before she is relaunched on 18th April.

Because she draws over 2 metres of water, she needs to go back in on the top of a spring ride, when the level of the pool goes up via the spillway, and there is then enough water for her in the craning berth. She is going to be busy this coming season with the various organisations who have booked her already. Good news!



Tuesday 27th November

After the Birdham Pool Classic Boat weekend, I had Widget lifted out and moved into our shed. The centre plate cases had been leaking, and a few cracked timbers needed sorting out.

I was able to remove the case by dismantling it in the boat rather than removing the centre thwart and then the case in one piece. The case sides detached from the bed logs quite easily, then the bed logs themselves by driving the six galvanised bolts a side that secured them. The case sides needed repair sections of about half their full depth from the bottom, and two long repairs were scarphed into the keelson externally either side of the centre plate slot. The bed logs were fine, and I made a new pair of head ledges for the ends of the case. I had the centre plate grit blasted and re-galvanised, then everything went back together with new bolts and bedding etc.
Six timbers had repair sections scarphed in, then I scraped, sanded and repainted the bilges right through. The topsides and deck brightwork received attention, and the deck was repainted . I will re-varnish the mast, then I think Widget can go back to Prinsted.



Saturday 15th September

Birdham Pool Classic Boat Festival weekend went very well. Weather was perfect both days, there were nice group of boats gathered and the live music was excellent as always. Lots of folk chilling out enjoying themselves.

I re-launched Talisman ready for the weekend, and also brought my dayboat, Widget III round from Payne’s Boatyard, Prinsted. That turned our to be a little adventure. My youngest daughter came with me, and shortly after we got away from Prinsted, the cooling water stopped circulating on the outboard. It was a beautiful day, and it seemed a shame to abort mission, so we started rowing, and ended up rowing Widget all the way to Birdham! It took us about 3 1/2 hours and just made the last lock into the Pool.



Thursday 5th July


I was very pleased when Acamar’s new owner, Mr. Julian Young, came to us requesting some work to be done, not only for the most obvious reasons, but also because seeing her again stirred in me many happy memories.

I owned Acamar, Stella No. 19 from 1990 to 1998. I bought her when she was lying in a mud berth at Combes Boatyard Bosham. She was in a bit of a sorry state, and over two years I brought her back to life with a new deck etc etc, and had some quality time out on the water with her until I took on the premises at Dolphin Quay in 1996. Then the demands of your own business stopped me using her, and I sold her to Colin Livings who was a good owner who put a nice new diesel in her, refurbished her rig and looked after her very well generally.

When Julian bought her, he had her surveyed, and though very little was found to be amiss, it was felt that the keel bolts needed inspecting. I fitted new ones, but that was over 20 years ago. Some were found to be not too badly wasted but others were well gone, so nine new ones went in (all the ones we could get at without removing the engine). Julian was taking Acamar to a new home at Wolverstone on the East Coast. He had a new road trailer built for her, and we made a set of tressles so that the mast could be carried on deck. Julian left Birdham Pool with Acamar on Sunday 24th June 2018, I was there to wave them off. I’m sorry to see her leave Chichester Harbour, but I’m sure she has found another good owner to see her right!

All the very best to them both.


Friday 22nd June

Birdham Pool Marina - Classic Boat Festival 2018

Please view the PDF by clicking the image below or visit their website here.


Wednesday 13th June

It was with great sadness that we heard that Tony Harwood, owner and great friend of Volante of Ville, passed away suddenly in May.

He will be missed greatly by all of us at Birdham Pool.

Tony came to us not long after he bought Volante, about ten years ago now, and has had us see to her repair and maintenance needs ever since.

He has made a huge commitment to the boat in that time, tackling some very serious structural issues, as well as the huge general maintenance that comes with a large wooden yacht heading towards her sixtieth birthday.

When Volante was returned to her berth in Haslar Marina, Gosport, Iate December 2017, she looked lovely and ready for the 2018 season. It is so unfair and unjust that after all he did for her, Tony won’t be out with her on the water any more.

His love of sailing and boats generally is well known to me. His tales of the thrills and spills and countless anecdotes associated with his sailing career have kept me amused over the years for sure!

Thank you for letting us look after Volante, Tony. Fare thee well, take care when you cross the Bar.


Sunday 29th October

Our friends at Birdham Pool have produced a video on the story of Birdham Pool Marina and it's place today in the modern and traditional boating world, click the image below to watch on Vimeo.


Wednesday 2nd August

Talisman IV is relaunched after extensive restoration that began at the end of 2011. She was craned in on Tuesday 25th July, which was a beautiful, sunny day. She leaked initially, predictably, as she has not been in the water for thirty years! However, after a couple of days, she was taking up nicely, and after a week, hardly leaking at all, bless her!

Please click the image below for a video


Wednesday 5th July

Classic Boat Festival celebrating Birdham Pool Marina.

Please contact Birdham Pool Marina office, or Tim Gilmore if you would like to attend with your boat.


Friday 16th June

The ongoing re-development programme at Birdham Pool is continuing at a brisk pace now. With the conversion of the old offices/workshops into 4 cottages complete (two of them sold) and the new crane fully operational the focus is now on the three Atcost buildings (sheds) and furnishing the old shipway into more hard standing and car parking spaces.

The Atcosts have had all the original asbestos sheets they were clad with removed from the walls and new metal cladding has been fitted in their place. The roof panels have remained but all the transparent sky light panels have been replaced which has made a huge difference to the amount of natural light available inside.

We operate from the shed nearest the slipway so the contractors were our very near neighbours whilst all the ground work to fill the slipway was going on! They kept us informed with what was going to happen at each stage and even when they had to dig trenches for a new drain right round the building they carried out the work with minimum disruption to us. We thought we would have to move out of the shed for a while whilst all the cladding etc. was replaced but not so. We were so pleased because with the work commencing in early spring we were getting to our busiest time of the year.



Sunday 8th January

As part of the redevelopment programme currently underway at Birdham Pool, the 'old faithful ' Pettibone mobile crane has been sold on, and a new 30ton pillar crane installed. The ground work necessary to achieve this was considerable with long reinforced concrete piles etc . The completed work looks very smart with new concrete apron and plinth that the pillar is mounted on. The crane is all electric, therefore very quiet in operation, also the jet washing facility is electric too, housed in a small building adjacent to the crane.

The railway slipway at the Pool is now no longer in use, and the famous old turntable arrangement at the top of it has been removed and the well it sat in now filled in and made into extra yard space.

Saturday 24th June

The Classic Boat Festival and Open Weekend is coming soon! Please see the poster below for more details.

Sunday 13th December

The 12 foot Acorn Skiff we built a couple of years ago found a buyer earlier this year, so I set to and made the spars and oars for her, fitted a mast step and partners, bought some polished gunmetal rowlocks and ordered a sail from Arun Sails in Bosham.

By the time all that had been done and her new owner had a few other things to worry about (like getting married!) the summer had slipped past and it was right at the end of September when we finally delivered her to her new home in South Devon.

She is to be looked after by Tristan Stone and his team at Stones Boatyard in East Portlemouth on the other side of the Kingsbridge Estuary from Salcombe. It was Tristan who put the boats potential new owner, Mr Conrad Clarke in touch with me initially.

After a few little adventures in the maze of single track roads that surround East Portlemouth, parts of which can be under a couple of feet of water depending on the state of tide, we finally arrived and met Conrad and his wife who thankfully were delighted with the boat.

Tristan then gave us a tour of his immaculate set up where he conducts his timer sales business and looks after all the beautiful Salcombe Yarwls and wooden launches that are kept on the Estuary.

Tristan had some input with the skiff build from the start really because he supplied me some excellent Sitka Spruce to plank her up with.

It's good to know that the boat will get pampered in such beautiful surrounds.



It was quite a day getting all sorted and it was good that we didn't have to drive back to West Sussex that same day. We were able to stay on a friend's boat that night, then have a look round Salcombe the next day and have a more leisurely drive home via Start Bay / Slapton Sands with a stop for an excellent fish and ships lunch in The Start Bay Inn (thoroughly recommended!).

With the Skiff safe and sound in East Portlemouth my attentions had to turn somehow to repairing my own boat 'Widget III'

I was keeping 'Widget' at Paynes Boatyard, Prinsted at the top of the Thorney Channel and my youngest daughter and I were enjoying some quality time out on the water together which was great, but over Christmas 2013 a savage gale caught the boat out while she was still on the pontoon outside the boatyard. Poor old 'Widget' was badly damaged on her starboard side, but Mark Douglas who owns the yard, rescued her and put her ashore in the yard out of further harms way.

I managed to get 'Widget' onto a trailer during Summer 2014 and towed her round to Birdham and put her in our shed, but then was unable to get the time to carry out the repairs.

All the repairs are done now however. She is ready to go again but now the weather is so awful I have kept her ashore.

A total of 4 plank repair sections and a dozen new steamed timbers on the starboard side were needed to put all right.

Looking forward to some quieter weather to get her back round to Prinsted by water.



Tuesday 2nd September

The Bosham Classic Boat Revival is on this coming weekend! More details can be found here.

Sunday 16th August

The Birdham Pool Classic Boat Open Weekend on Saturday and Sunday 11th and 12th of July was a great sucess.

With a very happy gathering of like minded people and their boats, some very good weather on the Saturday and some excellent live music there were a great many people around and the Pool was buzzing.

As well as the boats, there were quite a few classic cars and motorbikes for people to look at!

There is also a short video you can view here (315mb)


Tuesday 30th June

Boleh finally gets to make the move from the site in Eastney, Portsmouth, where she has been restored, to Chichester Marina, where she is to be launched and united with her spars that we have assembled over the last few days. Almost the end of an odyssey spanning at least six years.


Sunday 8th February

In 2013, my father, who was eight four at the time, decided that he must 'swallow the anchor' and sell his boat. She was his third boat and he had owned her for thirty years. He had been a member of Redclyffe Yacht Club on the river Frome that flows into Poole Harbour since 1972.

In the earliest days with a boat we sailed as a family of four: - Mum, Dad, my younger sister Joanne and myself. We spent many happy days of weekends and summer holidays around Poole Harbour or over to Christchurch and the Solent before venturing further afield to the West Country, North Brittany and on one occasion, Holland.

When Dad sold the boat, he drew a line under all boating activity completely and cancelled his membership of Redclyffe Yacht Club. It was the end of an era, memories are what you have remaining. I thought Dad might like something to remind him of happy days on the water to keep those memories alive so I decided to paint him a picture.

In search of inspiration I was working my way through all my boating memorabilia and happened to come across a photo of Dad's first boat hiding between the pages of the 'Heron Class Association Year Book' (I built Heron dinghy No. 9087 when I was in my teens with the help of Dad's brother, Uncle Frank who had been a shipwright time served with Charles Hill and Sons in Bristol)

It was one of very few photos of this boat we had (Photo media was nothing like as ubiquitous in the 1970's as it is today!)

She was a 22 foot 'seamew' class designed by Ian Proctor and sold either as a complete boat or a very good kit of wooden parts by Bell Woodworking, Leicester.

Dad purchased a Bell kit early in 1972. Without going into detail somehow he managed to devote enough time to this project to enable us to have a holiday in the boat in August of that same year. Looking back goodness knows how he achieved it. I remember helping him after school and during the holidays, but as an eleven year old I could only be of limited assistance.

The boat was named 'Aquileo' and was Seamew number 112.

Through a friend of a friend, Dad managed to let one of Redclyffe Yacht Club's moorings for the rest of the season, so we had a safe and convenient base from which to take our first sailing steps.

Dad was a Bristol Channel Pilot, so the sea and handling boats were his life, but he had to contend with novice wife and kids. Mum, from the onset was not a keen sailor and could not swim, but I think her faith in Dad to look after us all enabled her to go afloat in this small sailing cruiser with little more than 4 foot head room and other primitive arrangements, and still manage to enjoy herself! Needless to say we had many thrills and spills during that first season getting used to 'Aquileo'

The Seamew had a lifting keel with a 'torpedo' of cast iron on the bottom of it. With the keel raised she drew only 1ft 9 inches which was useful in the shallows of Poole Harbour. With the keel lowered, the draft increased to 4ft 2 inches and with all the ballast therefore in the right place the boat 'stiffened up' very nicely and sailed very well indeed.

Here is the picture I painted of her for Dad. The photo I used as reference was taken on a beautiful day while we were anchored for a couple of hours off the mouth of the Beaulieu River.



Monday 28th July

The Wooden Boat open day event that Birdham Pool hosted on Saturday 19th July went very well. The weather was kind to us, lots of people turned up, there was a great atmosphere . 'Black Lady' back on the turntable again for the first time since she was launched from the Pool in 1947. She was built by Birdham Shipyard to a design of M G Duff.

About a dozen lovely wooden attended, all berthed together around the service jetties. We had a few nice smaller boats gathered around the front of our shed, including a delightful little launch on vintage trailer, towed by a period Ferguson tractor.

The Marina were so encouraged, that they plan to host future similar events.


Saturday 26th April

Premier Marinas had an official opening of their new boatyard facility at Chichester Marina. There is a completely resurfaced hard standing, a large shed flanked on both sides by units occupied and to be occupied by brokers, riggers, engineers, electronics specialist, chandlery etc.


Sunday 29th June

Birdham Pool is going to stage a Wooden Boat Open Weekend on Saturday/Sunday 19/20th July. Why not bring your own Classic for an overnight stay at Birdham Pool? Visitors berths available. The more wooden boats the merrier!

The photo below is of Black Lady on her launch day in 1947. She was built by Birdham Shipyard, and is returning to the Pool for the weekend to come up the slip, and sit on the turntable once again for another photo to be taken! (more photos of her can be seen here)


Saturday 26th April

Premier Marinas had an official opening of their new boatyard facility at Chichester Marina. There is a completely resurfaced hard standing, a large shed flanked on both sides by units occupied and to be occupied by brokers, riggers, engineers, electronics specialist, chandlery etc.

The weather was initially kind and there seemed to be a lot of people around, various attractions were laid on including Morris Dancers!


The Boleh Project

The Boleh Project in Portsmouth had an open day on Sunday 27th April.

Boleh is being restored by Boleh Trust to be used for sail training young people when she is completed. The trust has employed young people throughout the project as apprentice shipwrights. Always grateful for any support given, why not have a look at their website:



Emsworth Oyster Boat 'Terror'

On the 14th May 2014 at 7pm, Chichester Harbour Conservancy is holding a public meeting at Emsworth to discuss the future of the last Victorian Oyster boat.

It is hoped that a strong team of committed individuals will come together to take over management of her continued use and maintenance to a high standard.

After being relaunced in 2006 after being completely restored by us at Dolphin Quay Boatyard, she has been available to book for day sailing trips through the summer each year.

For more details please contact Adrian Karn, Deputy Harbour Master at karn@conservancy.co.uk or call (01243) 512301.


Copyright © 2022 Tim Gilmore Ltd, a company registered in England (Company Number 7526603) whose registered office is at 8 Ashgrove Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6LY. Tel: 01179 9736496 Email: enquiries@woodenboatsforever.co.uk