Arthur working on Sea Lavender: Arthur working on Sea Lavender
It is a feature of our Yard that we employ a specialist team to undertake timber restoration work and fine joinery. Arthur Beacham came to WQB to do a little wood work for 3 weeks, but 7 years later he is yet to leave, despite being long past retirement age.
Apprenticed as a shop-fitter, he has nonetheless spent a good proportion of his working life working on boats. “They’re more interesting because no two boats are the same and there aren’t any straight lines”.
He worked for George Hurley in Plymouth in the early years, fitting out the first GRP 22s and 24s. You wouldn’t ask him to work on a plastic boat nowadays. He has done almost everything you can do with timber on a boat – laid teak decks, made masts, fitted new planks, transoms and stems, made doors, lockers, tables, rubbing strakes, windows, king planks – the list is endless. “I’m no shipwright, mind, so don’t ask me how they go together.”
Major projects are undertaken seriously. The two most recent at WQB are Blue Pool, a Fairey Fisherman, where only the hull and deck (newly sheathed) are original, and a Percy Mitchel Motor Yacht, Torana. Each has taken 3 seasons to complete. The quality is unmistakably Arthur. Everything is thought through to the last detail, with no drawings to work from. And the methods are traditional – Arthur doesn’t rely on epoxy to make joints work. Craftsmanship of this standard is remarkable and rare.