Vintage wooden boat restoration - Norfolk Broads

Vintage wooden boat restoration - Norfolk Broads

The rescue and restoration of a piece of the Norfolk Broads heritage, a vintage 1930s teak cruiser that's looking to return home.

We did it!

On 16th Dec 2016 we successfully raised £60 with 2 supporters in 56 days

Saving of a piece of the Broadlands history and heritage.


Nocturne is a 1936 built Traditional Norfolk Broads river cruiser - built out of Burmese teak specifically for use as a holiday hire boat. She was built by Windboats in Wroxham, by Graham Bunn.

photo under different ownership  %A9 Blakes Holiday Boating

We are looking for funders to help complete the rennovation and in return be rewarded with a special and unique experience.

She began life as a hire boat and along with many other wooden cruisers, started the whole water based leisure and tourism industry that the Norfolk Broads are renowned for. However unlike the modern boats, she represents the craftsmanship of the early Norfolk boat builders and is an important part of the heritage of the area. Over the years, many like her have been lost to neglect or hidden away in private ownership, so these pre-war boats are a rare sight on the local waterways.

Her restoration has already begun. My wife and I started on a journey 5 years ago, to save vessels like these and to bring them back to the Norfolk broads, to put them back out for hire on the water, to be enjoyed by people once again. We have already completed the restoration of our first, Lady Christina, the sister ship to Nocturne and we have two more "Windboats" (see our other projects) waiting to be saved. We have already commited 1000's of hours and all of our savings to Lady Christina and now Nocturne and are well on the way to getting her restored back to her former glory.

She has had a sad few decades in the latter part of her life but we wish to transform her, have her grace the waterways once again and be enjoyed by those that share a passion for heritage and history.

The Project:

We have already successfully restored Lady Christina, a 38ft 1938 teak cruiser , so we have proven that we have the skill and will to start something like this and deliver.  We have since turned our energies to Nocturne. We aim to raise £30k to finish the restoration by using the funds to procure the remaining materials and to hire extra skilled labour to work alongside us to accelerate the project. If, and it's a huge IF, we exceed our goal we will "Stretch" the project and these extra monies will be used to fund maintenance work/mooring fees and secure her future further.

Work thus far -

  • we have completed stripped back the whole boat,
  • replaced all the internal ribs/timbers,
  • Rebuilt the back cabin sides
  • replaced around about 70ft of planking,
  • Stripped/scrapped and sanded all the internal bulkheads
  • stripped the engine compartment and fitted a new floor frame,
  • Scrapped out and recaulked the whole boat, some 1500ft, including below the waterline;
  • built a bespoke hardwood galley kitchen;
  • Sanded, oiled and started varnishing the hull and internal bulkheads
  • Removed and cut new decking for the whole boat

All this work has saved the boat structurally and she is now stronger than ever before. We have more photos of the restoration work on our facebook,

Work remaining:

 With the galley completed the next phases are:

  • Fit the cut decking, epoxy and cover with marine ply
  • Finish repairs on the super structure including the building of a new folding wheelhouse
  • Complete the overhaul of the engine
  • Continue with the internal refit - saloon, wheelhouse, wetroom and rear master cabin
  • Rewire and plumb the boat
  • Complete all the varnishing
  • Have her lifted, transported and launched back onto the Norfolk broads.

Not only will the project help us save this beautiful boat and return her to the waterways for holiday makers (and our funders) to enjoy, but it was ensure that this important piece of history is saved for the next generation and that she exists for at least another 50 years.

The important bit - THE REWARDS:

Every pledge will be rewarded with the funders name being  recorded on a special commerative plaque that will be hand made from timbers removed from the boat.

We have set a range of pledges from 10 - 2500 pounds. From a simple pledge to help out and be commerated for to a range of discounted Champagne cruises and weekend breaks.

Each of the rewards offers a much greater value of return than the amount pledged and something you just can't get anywhere else. We are also making each funder a ‘Member of the Little Ships CLub’ which will have ongoing benefits & discount for years to come. 

About Us

We are a husband and wife team, with 3 children that have dedicated ourselves to a cause that we are trully passionate about. We've been together for 19 years and have always worked together as a team.

We've moved home 5 times to get ourselves to Norfolk with our wrecks, to bring these boats back home and restore them. Our dream is to run our restored fleet, to have others enjoy them and create life long memories on these beautiful boats. We are a family orientated business with a focus on history, saving heritage and providing an unforgettable experience on board one of our Little Ships! Adam & Katie.  

Here are a few snippets from Lady Christina and her story - we hope they will give you a taste of the project and experience you are pledging for:

Thank you for taking the time to look at our project and please get in touch if you would like to discuss anything.

Adam & Katie.

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