Boat restorer's labour of love

A BOAT restorer has spent 3,000 hours bringing a dilapidated sailing boat back to life.Bruce Miller, of Hamilton Gardens, Felixstowe, put in between 40 and 50 hours a week on top of his job as a property consultant to restore the Cherub.

A BOAT restorer has spent 3,000 hours bringing a dilapidated sailing boat back to life.

Bruce Miller, of Hamilton Gardens, Felixstowe, put in between 40 and 50 hours a week on top of his job as a property consultant to restore the Cherub.

This boat was built in 1924 by Eversons of Woodbridge and was the first of the Deben Cherub series. It cost £160 when it was built and there were 17 of the three-ton class cruisers made.

The designer was a Mr A Curjel of Woodbridge and Mr Miller said the Cherub was a traditional east coast sailing craft.


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He has restored 25 boats and he bought the Cherub for £750 from a boatyard in Aldeburgh in 2000 and waited until August 2001 before he had enough time to start the restoration.

He has kept a photographic record illustrating the decaying state of the boat and the subsequent changes as he spent thousands of hours transforming her into a seaworthy vessel.

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The wooden ''gaffer'' was launched on the River Deben on Wednesday at Woodbridge and it will be taken to a mooring off Felixstowe Ferry for finishing before being sailed.

Mr Miller said: ''I shall never sell her. It has been extremely hard work restoring the boat. But what I would like to say is anybody who has any ability with woodwork, if they stick with it, they can do it. However, it has been a daunting task.

''It has given me tremendous pleasure and satisfaction to have brought back to life a boat that would probably have rotted away never to have been used again.''

The boat was originally built with pitch pine and Mr Miller had to source a supply of the 100-year-old wood for his restoration. He said the wood could not be bought these days and this had made it difficult to find a supply. He also used English oak.

Eversons started in 1889 and the Cherub series is believed to have been the first cabin class built on the east coast. The boatyard spent 13 years building 17 of the 21-foot long Cherubs.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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