Call me a fool.

But i still have a mind to refit something like this : back on Ebay for £500 with no bids.

The same boat has now popped up at least 3 times to my knowledge : FYI its a Deben 4 tonner, very similar to the one i had and cordially disliked.


s-l1600 (2)

s-l1600 (3)

The one i had wasn’t in as good condition as this one seems to be, equally though it hasn’t got an engine or a rig and is a very long way away or i would at least have gone for a look-see.  I am a bit suspicous as its been up for sale and bid on/shown as sold several times so its possible that there is a major problem with it.

With small wooden boats i do like the deck-edge cabin design as it makes best use of the interior space, given all the problems with the one i had i still managed to totally embarass a larger and more modern cruiser-racer when sailing it back from chichester. As small wooden boats go these can be better than many and i have seen a couple of nicely restored ones : there is a problem with many later ones in that they were built often of very poor materials in the post war period when proper materials were expensive and in short supply.  Starting out now i would seriously consider taking this on as my £1000 boat project except that it would work out a lot more expensive than that by the time it had a rig and sails.

There we go again : one week i want something that planes…..this week i have gone not just retro but smelly-pipe and coal-stove retro.     Sigh….


  1. Rot glorious rot, they do look good in a classic sort of way but rot and you can’t fix it with bog and glass 🙂


    1. Don’t worry. its far too far away even to go and take a look at, then getting a crane each end and a low-loader makes it about £1000 just to move it here. It only caught my interest while doing a weekly ebay trawl. Without a rig or a motor it wouldn’t even be feasible to move it by sea….ok i CAN think of a way of doing it but wouldn’t want to.


  2. Have the same mood swings as well, classic wood to plastic flyer. Luckily a friend bought my last plastic bubble to remoind me of the lack of a soul. Have a couple of woodies and a Vivacity 20, the latter has no upkeep and reminds me of home. Our Oughtred Wee Seal mk2 is a beaut but work, as is my centerboard Star , set up as a beach cruiser. Oh, the clinker lug and old Opti, ditto. Luckily my wife is a real sailor, paid for the Oughtred.


  3. Hi
    I have a 1937 Deben 4 tonner here in
    Australia. My first old gaffer. I used to sail Fireballs and Cherubs then went all slow and got a 20′ Redwitch. A locally made fibreglass keelboat.

    My question is why do you not like the Deben? Genuine question, just curious. Almost no old boats here in Western Australia so I have little to compare her to


    1. Sorry about the delay in answering : i have been sailing for the last week and only walked in the door about half an hour ago.
      I am surprised to hear of a Deben in Aus !.
      Perhaps what i should have said is that i didn’t like MY deben at all for several reasons. First though i must say that the one i bought was in poor condition and had hardly any useful gear aboard, didn’t have an engine but still had the prop and aperture, what sails i had didn’t belong to the boat etc etc, maybe a good one would have given me a better impression. Given how bad condition mine was and how poorly equipped i did have a bit of an adventure with it in getting from Chichester back to plymouth and upwind all the way with all the problems that she had. Having researched the class a lot more it seems that the post war debens aren’t as well built as pre-war ones and often its the materials that are poor. Mine should have had a gaff rig but had been badly converted to bermudan but only had other-boat and secondhand sails (the mains’l being some 3 feet short in the hoist !). Mine definitely would have needed a complete refit…almost a rebuild. My plan was originally to dry her completely and do a epoxy/veneer cover but what i realised is that the cost of refit just wasn’t worth it for a boat that i intrinsically disliked sailing so much. My one i felt to have a very bad character if you can believe that about boats …..she wouldn’t tack in a chop for example, rolled like a bitch at anchor….i swear she tried to have me overboard a couple of times. Maybe with a lot of work and expense she would have been ok but the work and cost just wasn’t worth the effort. If i was to do a wooden boat refit it would have to be a fundamentally better boat…eg a scandinavian or english folkboat as they sail like witches !


  4. All good, truly curious, thats all. Mine was built in Fremantle Western Australia in 1937. Something of a survivor but has needed a lot of frame sistering and replacement decks. It has an engine more accurately described as a mooring weight and I am about to remove it. An outboard is fine and the gaff rig pushes her along OK. A replacement engine would cost about 3 times what I paid for her….all tsystems are shot and would have to be replaced.


    1. What i had thought to do when i got her home was a similar job to one done by an English couple (in NZ) on a sick falmouth working boat : dry the boat completely, cut all the caulking out, spline the seams and then cover the whole hull in veneer and epoxy/glass, then do a new cockpit, new rig, interior etc. I would have ended up with a decent boat but one that was a lot more expensive and nothing like as good a sailing boat as say a cheap and half decent folkboat of which there are plenty in the UK.


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