Burnt Speedboat Collection London
Last week the team had a call from a lady in London. Her speedboat had been caught up in a houseboat fire. Luckily no-one had been hurt but the boat was, unfortunately, a total write off.
The boat had been tied up next to a houseboat on the River Thames at Taggs Island near Hampton Court Palace.
The boat was now tied up, barely afloat, at a slipway on the island. Our plan was a simple one, we would turn up with a trailer, dip it in and then winch the boat up and out of the water.
The owner had told us that there was good access to the island and to the slipway. However once our Ford Ranger truck has a trailer on the back it’s almost as long as a lorry.
The job came around quickly. The details of the boat were sent through to us on Wednesday and we collected the boat on Friday morning. We collected our trailer from our Portsmouth scrapyard in the morning and set off for London.
When we reached the island there is a single lane bridge onto it. After negotiating this we quickly found the garden with the slipway. As we had seen in the pictures the boat was there tied up just above the waterline.
Our first impression was a bad one. It seemed that the trailer may be too long and the angle too tight to get the boat out. Luckily this wasn’t our first rodeo!
Before we started the process we met the owner of the houseboat which had the fire. He showed us what was left of his houseboat or should I say what little was left.
An Interesting History
Explain to us the history of the island which was interesting. His family have purchased the islands in the 70s. It used to be full of old scrap boats cars and had a population of gypsies.
It’s now an idyllic hub for houseboat owners. There was even once a hotel on the island owned by the man who discovered Charlie Chaplin.
The boat itself is owned by a lady who also lives on the island. She is a jewellery maker who has sold jewellery in shops such as Harrods, Selfridge’s and Harvey Nics.
Getting in Position
Once we had finished talking we quickly unclipped the trailer and pushed it around by hand so that we could then clip on and reverse it down the slipway with the vehicle facing the exit of the garden. Steve then reversed the trailer down the slipway and use Luke as a guide for a pivot point. The trailer just made it down the slipway. We needed it to be fairly straight so we could winch the boat up onto the rollers.
Luckily because of the fire and the size of the boat it wasn’t very heavy. We attached the winch hook and began to crank the boat up onto the trailer. Very carefully and slowly we pulled the boat up out of the water and onto the trailer.
Miracle She’s Still Floating
On closer inspection it was a miracle that any of the boat was still floating at all. The fibreglass had gone back to its original soft matted state.
We removed any large chunks that we thought may fall off on the journey home and put them inside the boat. We then wrapped the boats in a tarpaulin to stop any further parts flying out on the road.
Very Little Salvage
There was really very little salvage in this boat at all. However, the insurance company had asked us to remove the boat as it was an environmental hazard and it was blocking at the slipway on the island.
The former owner now plans to buy a new boat for her and her kids to enjoy on the river. The houseboat owner who had the fire is planning on building himself a new one.