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The Rebuild

For somewhile and from time to time I always kept a watchful eye about for a little wooden boat. A dream perhaps of those salty sea dogs, long bearded wise men who played a fiddle, penny whistle or squeeze box, knock back the odd dark rum and sing a happy sea shanty! I'm none of these but the ethos, along with several others, bewitches me.

So it goes to pass that I "finds my little wooden boat and brings it home" as a project for my more leisurely years. "Phyllis" was bought in 2001 and moved from a rear garden on the Wirral, to lay languishing in a Northwich boatyard on the River Weaver. Although some 22 miles from the sea it's still accessible by river navigation on to the Manchester Ship Canal and hence into the Mersey Estuary.

It's amazing at times, as the boatyard that "Phyllis" was then dry berthed at was directly opposite the very place (British Waterways Regional Headquarters) that the previous owner, William Vance Crockett, used to work as the Engineering Superintendant.

We started some work, really just clearing out and removing the old fixtures and fittings. Some professionally commissioned restoration was started but which turned out very costly as it proved to be abortive work! All due to my total inexperience with little wooden boats and no real professional shipwright input. Anyway after somewhile, the time had come to bring "Phyllis" back to life.

The Restoration

David Moss - Boatbuilders David Moss

During my procuring of this and that I came across David Moss, a master shipwright of some reknown in the best wooden boat building circles.

I'd spoken with David a few years before and learned that each year he always had a busy boatshed.

I was also impressed with his approach to take on apprentices, both male and female, and give them homework, let alone the the opportunity to acquire the benefit of his skills and the quality of his workmanship.

It was eventually agreed I could dry berth Phyllis in a "line up" in order to get her eventually to the front of the queue to the boatshed. Such is the demand for today's shipwright craftsmen and women!