Note: Ed Wright joined our club last year after hearing about us in a conversation at South Eastern Sails. This is the story of three friends who are undertaking the challenging job of restoring an old wooden ski boat. Ed has sent in an article Will Morgan wrote for their yacht club newsletter, plus a collection of some photos to help with the story.


On ANZAC Day 2018 Ed Wright, Will Morgan and Travis Loton inexplicably answered a Gumtree ad from Adelaide.  An old fashioned hoarder from Sellicks Beach south of Adelaide wanted to offload the rotting timber ski boat taking up space in his backyard. Apparently he needed room for some more rusted old cars. So we did what any sensible person would do and bought it. Days later we were on the Western Highway on our way to collect the hull that would become known as “Laird”.

Laird2Once home in Melbourne after much admiration from fellow boat tragics in the Melbourne traffic, the enormity of the task ahead would quickly become apparent. Following months of sanding the beauty beneath the years of dereliction emerged. The three proud “restorers” quickly fell in love with the new occupier of Ed’s wife’s car space. Now would probably be a good time to thank her for putting up with it in the garage!!

With sanding completed the fun could finally begin.Laird3

The help of a professional was needed, Mike Newton from Aqua Deck Marine was enlisted and thankfully took a day away from his job as a boat builder to help out. “Wrapping day” came and went and with layers of fibreglass on the hull and five coats of paint inside we had the very heavy shell of a seaworthy boat.

Laird4 Next we would need an Laird5engine and Gumtree would deliver for a second time.
Another hoarder would fulfill our obscure needs, this time from Richmond in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. A classic Chris Craft Hercules Model B engine made in the USA some time around the late 1960s popped up in our search and we quickly skipped up the Hume to check it out. The engine ran, that was good enough for us and so after a pub meal in Goulburn, a pie in Gundagai and fifteen hours of real crime podcasts, things were starting to come together.

Winter 2019 has brought much progress with internal carpentry, acquisition of parts and the fitting of the engine.

Lots of problems have reared their heads and some of them have been solved. With much work still to do we don’t have a launch party date yet but hope to be at the Paynesville Boat Rally next February to meet you all. Stay tuned.

Later – We are ramping up our work and managing to get an hour or so done each day now. Next stage is to glue down the top deck and then to take it to be painted in a few weeks, then off to the upholsterer and after that the final fit out. We are still having lots of fun and now the end is in sight can start to dream about taking her on the water.


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