Boatbreakers In Devon

The Boatbreakers team were in Devon to scrap an old wooden yacht on a farm. Typically for the team the day the job was booked for ended up being the hottest day of the year so far!

One of the best parts of covering the whole of the UK as a boat breaking team is to visit different corners of the country. It’s always interesting for us to remove boats from locations that you wouldn’t expect them to be in. Our latest boat was an old wooden yacht in Devon. She had been sat in a courtyard of a farm house for the last 25 years.

Sadly the owner had recently passed away and it had been left to his son to find a solution for the boat. The family had been about to list the house for sale and before marketing the property the boat had to go. Before contacting us the owners had tried to find someone to take her on as a project. Although many people showed interest, when it came to the crunch and people realised the costs to even get the boat moved any enthusiasm soon faded.

Viable Boat Disposal Solution

With our Boatbreakers team offering the only viable solution the owners decided to arrange for the boat to be scrapped. Usually with a boat like this we would simply send the Hiab down to lift her away. However, due to the house being on a narrow lane with a narrow gate we simply wouldn’t of been able to get the truck in.

It quickly became clear that we would need to send a team down to chop the boat. With our vehicle and two trailers (stacked on each other) we knew we’d be able to get the boat away in pieces.

There are always a few more things to factor in when we chop on site. Hotels, extra staff, risk assessments, and the time it takes to get the job done all have to come into consideration. We are also always conscious that we don’t want to cause any damage to the property or leave any signs of our work behind. It also didn’t help that we planned the job on the hottest days of the year! But with plenty of suncream and cold water the team we up for the cut.

Loose Boat Bits

We sent a team of three people down to Devon with a flatbed trailer and our smaller box trailer. The plan was to get to the property as early as possible and unload the smaller box trailer. Our box trailer was to be filled with anything inside the vessel, as well as any smaller loose bits of boat.

The team unloaded the trailer and set out some ground sheets so any mess could easily be collected. Her former owner’s son was also in attendance to keep us topped up with cold drinks. He also wanted to keep the portholes and other interesting brass fittings to make some kind of mementos from the boat. We didn’t mind this happening as long as him chopping bits of the boat didn’t cause any risks or delays to our plan.

First Cut

With any on site boat disposal the first cut we will always go for is for the bow. Once the bow is off it seems to take a lot of strength out of the hull. It also make access to the boat much easier, not to mention cutting the inside of the boat a lot cooler in the heat.

As the bow was chopped we used some of logs on site to roll it onto the trailer. Next we cut the roof of the boat off and loaded it behind the bow. With these large sections strapped down onto the flatbed trailer Steve then headed off to the weigh in the first load. Whilst he was done the rest of the team continued to gut the boat and load up the box trailer.

Stacked like Pringles

The next set of cuts where to make remove sections along the sides. These could then be stacked up like Pringles until we were ready to load. Our aim was to expose the engine and the keel and have the majority of the hull in pieces. In total the boat weighed 5 tonnes so we needed to remove as much weight to be able to deal with the keel.

With the box trailer full of the boat’s interior and the side pieces stacked. We were soon left with just the keel and the engine sat on top. The team had brought some metal boat stands along to help support the older wooden posts.

Steve returned to the site and hooked on to the smaller trailer. He then took that off to be emptied so now all we had to worry about were the side pieces and the keel. As we couldn’t send a Hiab to lift the keel it was always going to be a bit of a brain teaser to get the keel away.

Jack-up the Keel

After some conversation we decided the best course of action would be to jack up the front of the keel and reverse the trailer up as close as possible. Then re-block the keel in a higher position before jacking again until we could get some wooden rollers under her. With the metal boat stand providing the stability we repeated this process and winched the keel up onto the trailer.

As the keel was on we decided to call it a day at 6pm on the first day after a hard day’s work in the sun. The team then had a night in the Premier Inn and a curry to enjoy to prepare for day 2.

Easier Second Day

Because we stayed locally we started earlier on what promised to be an easier second day. With the keel up on the trailer we made sure the boat stands were in tight before strapping the life out of it! Once the keel was secure the Pringle shaped sections were stacked on top a strapped to the keel. We were then good to go and set off for the weigh-bridge to unload the final boat bits. Luckily they had a big machine that could grab the keel off so it was nowhere near as tough to unload.

Now the boat was all gone we headed back to the site to clean up any final mess and reload our box trailer. It was definitely an interesting job to complete and in a beautiful setting. Whilst we were chopping the boat the birds were flying around us, the house cat was trying to get a fuss and every now and then the dogs would come out for a stroke.

The Boatbreakers Devon mission went according to plan and as you can see by the before and after pictures the house is now ready to be put on the market.

Boatbreakers Devon Wooden Yacht ScrapBefore
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