Some say there are too many of us crusty old men at the MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival, complaining that ‘these young fellers’ don’t appreciate the value of old wooden boats and are unwilling to put the time into preserving them. Then along comes a story of a 12 year-old Tasmanian lad who did exactly that – bought an old wreck and worked hard and long to bring it back to life and show it at the festival. Good on you, Saul, we’ll be proud to have you!
My name is Saul Davidson. I bought this Hartley TS16 (Wendy Rose) back in 2015 when I was about 12 years old from a guy on Bruny who had left the boat outside for years. The Boat was really run down with rot all over the port side of the cabin and stern. The paint was flaking off the boat majorly with bare bits of timber all over the vessel. I was and still am a very keen sailor, so I took up the challenge to repair Wendy Rose. I had the all the tools given to me from my father and he told me what to do but he didn’t once touch the boat. He was only there to help me when I got stuck. Over time, on weekends and after school I would cut out rot and put in replacement bits of timber, I fixed the stern with bog. Once all the rot was replaced I sanded the cabin back to timber and painted it. Then I rolled it on to its side and began to sand off all the anti-foul that had been put on, painted it and did the other side. I put bog in almost every edge under the boat to prevent rot. I then started work on the inside of the cabin with the help of some good friends, using heat guns to peel back the paint, and then put on a fresh coat of paint. Then she was launched, and it leaked. So I marked the leaks and replaced the bungs on the boat, put bog into the leaks and reinforced with fibre glass strip.
Then it was done. She floated 3 years after I started. I was always dreaming of bring her to the festival, as I had volunteered every time to help in the inflatable boats at the festival and on the (Tawe Nunnugah) Raid to Hobart, I was a skipper on the inflatable boats, and I will be again this year.
Wendy Rose is a lovely boat and I would love to bring her along.