Elswick pensioner restores £1 yacht in memory of his baby daughter

Stunning pictures show how a waterway loving pensioner has refurbished a yacht in memory of his baby daughter who tragically died.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:30 pm

The 1974 26ft Westerly yacht, Rebekah Louise, was destined for the scrap heap after its previous owner, in his 80s, could not maintain it.

Boater Colin Ogden, from Elswick, near Preston, was encouraged by a friend to look at the vessel and despite its terrible leaking state, he was immediately drawn to it when he spotted its name.

Louise was the middle name of Colin's baby daughter Alice, who died as an infant.

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Colin with Rebekah Louise

He immediately bought the yacht for a pound in August, and since then - between lockdowns - has spent hundreds of hours and around £2,000 repairing and revamping it.

It is the second boat Colin has worked on as a memorial project, Earlier last year he restored his late wife Lynda's old boat Whimbrel as a tribute to her.

The couple, who were both waterway enthusiasts, spent their lives sailing together on the Lancaster Canal during their 21 year marriage.

They were passionate campaigners for the restoration of the northern reaches of the Lancaster Canal, which would see the reconnection of the 42 miles of the southern canal - from Preston to Tewitfield - with the Northern reaches that go into Cumbria, which were abandoned in the late 50s.

Colin refurbished the yacht in baby Alice's memory

As Colin prepares to launch Rebekah Louise, he told the Post: "It's a lasting tribute and it brought back memories.

"When I saw the 'Louise' it was like an omen, telling me to save her. It would have been a crying shame to leave it.

"It was a shame, it had been let go and the engine had been leaking and water had flooded in - a leaking valve had pumped seawater into the back end of the boat.

" I said to the owner 'you're not going to scrap it surely?'. He agreed to sell it for a pound as a gesture. I gave him a pound coin taped to the paper I'd signed.

Rebekah Louise

"All the roof was hanging off, the lighting was broken and carpet ruined.

"I thought 'I've done Lynda's boat and I'm going to do this for Alice'.

" Most of the interior was done in September. By the end of the year I had it lifted out but couldn't get to it due to the restrictions.

"Eventually I was able to strip it back to its original gel coat which took 17 days to get it back to something decent - it was a mess. I was leaving the house at 8am and leaving the boat at 5.30pm every day.

Colin paid just £1 for the dilapidated vessel

"It had three coats of marine primer, five coats of top coat which every coat was taken back to get the gloss finish."

Colin used a staggering 500 sanding discs to help strip back the paint!

Though the hull, cabin and cockpit were beginning to look good, the retired plumber hit another issue.

He explains: " The original engine, a 1970 Volvo MD2 Diesel with 25 horsepower, had not been touched for years. A frost plug had popped under the back deck and flooded.

"The oil I removed was like treacle, the fuel filters were clogged and blocked and I had the injectors cleaned.

"But now it goes like the clappers."

Colin is hoping to launch it on the water at Glasson next week.

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