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Finding his Fortune

David building his own copper rivets

Finding his Fortune

May 10, 2012

David is a shipwright from New Zealand, and a very resourceful one at that. He is also the owner of Fortune, a 37-foot OD Garden wooden ketch he is fully restoring at Berkeley Marine Center. Earlier this year, David was still looking for a new boat, with one caveat -- the boat had to essentially be "free"!

It's a little known fact that wooden boats are often passed along to the right person for exactly that price. Wooden boat owners are a special breed, and their boats are like their children. They want their high-maintenance babies to end up being well cared for. Everything else is secondary. And caring for a wooden boat is the true definition of a "labor of love." Costs can quickly outpace the monetary value of the vessel.

With some help from a Berkeley boat diver, David located his "Fortune" at a private dock in Alameda. She was a beauty in need of care. After the owner sized him up and deemed him an acceptable suitor, the deal was made. Fortune changed hands, as David puts it, "for a 15 year-old bottle of scotch and a promise not to cut her up."

And that's just the beginning! David is now busy with the extensive restoration project, and can be found most days, and evenings, at the yard. He plans to sail Fortune to New Zealand this summer, completing some of the projects while under way.