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A new lease of life for Odyssey

A new lease of life for Odyssey

There are no shortcuts with wooden boat restorations. While some may see a shipwright-managed re-build as expensive, the fact is that finding an aging but well-built wooden sailing yacht or motor cruiser and restoring it can be the most cost-effective way to own a good quality boat that you would not otherwise be able to afford.

Craig and his team at Lighthouse Shipwrights are immensely passionate about wooden boats. A professional shipwright, Craig Fielding has spent the good part of the last three years completely refurbishing Odyssey, a 70-foot timber MillKraft, originally commissioned by Gold Coast icon Keith Williams in 1971 and regarded as one of the best known motor yachts in Queensland.

The owner of Odyssey, Mr C. Black, chose Craig and his team to undertake the mammoth task of rebuilding the yacht from the ground up and improving on the original design while retaining its classic characteristics. Craig knew it would be his largest project of this type but was confident that he could draw on his team’s expert workmanship and enlist the assistance of the many specialist companies based at the Gold Coast City Marina, which would be required to provide supporting services and equipment.

Constructed using diagonal-planked Oregon timber, Odyssey was stripped back. Using modern methods, it was thoughtfully modified to enhance every possible aspect. Craig and his team extended roof heights, installed doors and replaced windows, redesigned the entertainment areas, and extended the vessel’s transom by five feet. The team inlaid the decks with teak, installed a new galley, and completely reupholstered all furnishings, but retained the original wheel and hand railings.

Machinery upgrades to Odyssey included the installation of stern and bow thrusters, repowering with twin John Deere diesel engines, a genset, new instrumentation, stabilizers, air-conditioning systems, desalinator and davit, with RIB tender. Technical advancements were fitted such as navigation systems, full instrumentation, new plough anchor and winch, and even a 50-inch television was mounted in the saloon.

The Odyssey project demonstrates that Lighthouse Shipwright has mastered the fundamentals of naval architecture principles and can apply that knowledge to design and building your dream vessel.

With their comprehensive project management skills you can be assured your expectations will be met.

Tips for a perfect restoration:

  • Choose a good pedigree of original builder.
  •  Your classic boat should be structurally sound.
  •  Original design must be stylish and timeless to ensure easy resale.
  •  Have a professional shipwright undertake a cost estimate prior to acquisition.
  •  Factor in estimated restoration costs and then compare against resale values of similar refurbished vessels.
  •  Have the finances required so as not to delay the restoration.
  •  If allowed, provide manual labour to your shipwright to reduce your costs.
  •  Insist your shipwright only use well-recommended quality materials and components.
  •  Be patient and persevere if unexpected obstacles arise.

Odyssey showcases everything Craig and his team are capable of achieving. Whether it’s an Anti-foul, a new duckboard, bathroom, paintwork, thrusters, stabilizers, plumbing, redesign and much more. Lighthouse Shipwrights will undertake restorations of any vessel deemed restorable. While working within your budget, the original style of the vessel will be preserved although modern technologies and features can be added. Restorations can begin from as little as $5000 on the smaller vessels, and Craig offers a free restoration consultation for those thinking of buying or restoring an oldie.


Editorial by Andy Kancachian