Traditional Shipwrights in the Devon countryside


Traditional Shipwrights in the Devon countryside

“What’s a traditional shipwright doing in the middle of the Devon countryside?” I’m frequently asked that says Peter Newbery-Thornton, Managing Director of Devon Wooden Boats Ltd. “We have a central location with access to the Exe, Teign and Dart rivers and therefore to Dartmouth, Brixham, Totnes, Paignton, Torquay, Teignmouth, and Exmouth. Our inland industrial estate location has the benefit of excellent road access, and the clean and dry facilities essential for the restorations and repairs we undertake. Our workshops can take boats on trailers up to 32 feet in length. For bigger boats we use the facilities at MDL Dartside Quay which has 65 ton travel hoist on the river Dart or Baltic Wharf boatyard which has a 22 ton travel hoist at Totnes. At Devon Wooden Boats we are specialists in traditional wooden boats up to 50 feet in length.”

“Our restoration philosophy is simple ‘Keep it appropriate for the boat!’, while following current regulations of course. We often install modern technology, but always try to hide it from view so the boat looks right for her age”.

restoration before and after

“Typical of our work is the restoration and repair of ‘Cleone’ - an 1860 gaff yawl, ‘Viva Tridanté’ – a 1962 Sonni Levi Cowes/Torquay racing powerboat, ‘Southern Angler’ – a 50ft mackerel fishing trip boat built in the 1950s, and the Teignmouth Ferry No 4 – the 1940s built open passenger ferry still in daily use across the River Teign (now in her 3rd year of running with dry bilges). Smaller projects include custom manufacturing spars, tillers and dead-eyes. We also build, restore and maintain wooden sailing dinghies.”

restoration before and after

“I find it hugely rewarding to preserve our maritime heritage or to save a family heirloom for future generations. I work closely with our customers every step of the way from redesigning layouts, recreating lost original features, sourcing authentic fittings or even choosing new colour schemes.”

restoration before and after

“A new project came about from a lunchtime chat in the workshop. We were reminiscing about dinghy sailing in our youth. So, we set about designing a wooden high-performance single-handed dinghy which, while being fast and manoeuvrable, would be simple to sail. And so, the #DASH12 was born. We chose to build in wood as it’s a lot more environmentally friendly than FRPs which everything seems to be built with now. Being traditional shipwrights, wood is what we know best!” [Peter Newbery-Thornton]

Dash Dinghies Ltd intend to add more dinghies to this range, all with the same principle of high performance and sail ability.

Classic Boat Magazine did an in-depth Questions and Answers session with Peter in the January 2019 issue, Please click here to read

For more information on both companies:

Devon Wooden Boats Ltd.

Dash Dinghies Ltd.

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