Refit, restoration, conservation

Rosemary III following her refit with Butler & Co. ©Nic Compton/ Salty Dog Media

Rosemary III following her refit with Butler & Co. ©Nic Compton/ Salty Dog Media's not all the same. We appreciate old vessels, and we appreciate that in owning one you own a piece of history. Therefore, when the time comes to give your vessel some well deserved tlc, we appreciate the responsibility to refit sympathetically, to restore faithfully and to conserve her history. That wood, brass and bronze has a story; decades of it written upon its surfaces. The need for essential structural work or simply the need to ensure that your vessel meets your needs, need not mean that its soul, and its identity be lost.

Butler & Co specialise in the details. We use traditional techniques, local craftsmen and our own skilled shipwrights. If we can't find something we make it, true to the original. 


Below are a selection of the restoration and refit projects undertaken by Butler & Co. Each has a brief as unique as the vessel itself, but Butler & Co are proud to have been involved in the following projects and to have had a hand in preserving these vessels for future generations to enjoy.

Bandor - 1928 Norman Dallimore

The delightful 37ft cruising yacht “Bandor” came to the yard initially for some investigative work and a deck re-caulk. However closer inspection revealed some serious degradation in and around a knot in the wooden keel under the mast step; the keel, particularly up forward was found not to be holding fastenings; and some degradation to the inside of the stem head at deck level.

 The work on Bandor has involved dropping and replacing the wood keel, she has now had two full frames replaced up forward, while the other original frames have been re-bedded into the new wood keel. Her deck has been re-caulked, a section of stem replaced; along with a new king plank and general repairs to the covering boards and beam shelves.  We have also replaced the fabricated stainless steel fore-stay fitting with one cast in bronze, laid new wooden floors throughout  and exchanged the Yanmar engine for a 25hp Beta engine. All in all the full works!

The work on Bandor has been fairly relaxed and her lovely owners have been working alongside the Butler and Co team to complete their own to do list aboard while she has had a year out of commission.

Rosemary III © Nic Compton/ Salty Dog Media

rosemary iii - 38ft Fife III

Rosemary III was restored by Butler & Co for the Fife family, and their remit for the work was firmly preservation rather than replacement. Extensive research ensured that she has been faithfully restored to her original specification, with the exception of her engine and minimal, unobtrusive electronics. Despite this, much of her original structure remains; blemishes of time are enhanced rather than hidden, truly embracing her history. As examples, Butler & Co dismantled her remaining original cleats and cast new, completing her a full set; the method of fastening her deck, through the use of secret nails, necessitated that fragments of the old nails were taken from her deck beams, allowing new nails to be made to the pattern of originals and her deck to be refastened ; and Butler & Co made faithful use of subtle techniques, specialist to the Fife yard, including manufacturing tools, such as Fife's patented caulking roller, to complete the work.

'Amokura', Fred Sheppard yawl at Douarnenez 2016

Amokura - 50ft Fred Sheppherd yawl

Amokura came to Butler & Co for structural work after her owner met Ashley in the Mediterranean. As with many older wooden yachts she had a persistent leak and Butler & Co traced this to her original elm keel which, after 76 years, was not holding fastenings well. Butler & Co travelled to Somerscales in north Yorkshire to source a 40ft Iroko log from which to fashion Amokura's replacement wooden keel. At the same time, Amokura's topsides were re-splined and repainted to give her a gleaming finish. To complement this, her wooden, racing rig was re-instated, replacing her later bombproof aluminium one, and her owner had several chromed deck fittings replaced with bronze, including a bespoke stemhead fitting.

Amokura returned to the Butler & Co yard in 2016 for some further interior, systems and paint work.  

'Pilgrim', Brixham trawler

Pilgrim - 100 tonne brixham sailing trawler

Butler & Co took on the structural restoration of Pilgrim for the Pilgrim Preservation Trust, when the old girl was in a desperately in need. After years of hard graft Pilgrim was structurally unstable, missing the bottom 3 planks on both sides and had sat on the hard at Mashfords, near Plymouth, for 4 years. Despite her condition, Butler & Co temporarily patched her, sought and obtained a load line exemption to tow her and brought her back to the Butler & Co yard.

The structural restoration of Pilgrim was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and was the 3rd HLF-funded project Butler & Co completed. Her hull structure was restored faithfully to the original, including replicating traditional ironwork and replacing her centreline structure. Butler & Co also fitted out the engine room, installing 2 engines, generator and bilge pump system. As  Pilgrim was to be run as a commercial vessel, she was surveyed throughout her restoration and MCA coded upon completion. Butler & Co managed communications with the MCA throughout.

'Pet' PZ 211, Mounts Bay pilchard driver

'Pet' PZ 211, Mounts Bay pilchard driver

Pet - 32ft Mounts bay lugger

A Porthleven lugger built in 1903, Pet came to grief on a reef in the Channel Islands. Despite her wrecked condition she was bought for £1, but there was not much boat left - she had lost all her lower hull structure: her keel, aft deadwoods, lower planking, and her starboard side was stove in up to the beam shelf. However, her new owner, a private client and collector of Cornish maritime artifacts, recognised her as an important vessel and set about a full, authentic restoration of her hull and decks.

Very little information was available at the time on this type of vessel, in particular her construction and rigging details; therefore her new owner and Butler & Co conducted extensive research into her construction details and original deck layout. 

'Charmian', Brixham trawler yacht

Charmian - 66ft Brixham trawler yacht


'Karenza Mor', Penzance beach fishing boat

karensa mor