Coventry Boatbuilders Restorations and Replicas


Coventry Boatbuilders and Restoration

We specialise in the restoration of vintage boats. They have worked for the National Maritime Museum, the Manchester Museum, the Musee Bernier in Quebec, the Colchester Museum, and the newly opened Henley River and Rowing Museum. We have done experimental work for the Greek Trireme Trust. We have done a number of restorations of river boats and launches as well as sea going boats. Visiting our yard in Coventry is an unlikely experience with a number of boats restored and awaiting restoration, including a post war Yachting World - Jenny Wren, a 1927 Gibbs Launch, a pre-war Morgan Giles National 14, A Norfolk Broads gaff cuiser

 To see more abour restoration and repair click here

Other Boats that we have restored or Repaired-





Examples of smaller Boats


  • "The Deadly Reg" - had been in the family for over 50 years. She was grey and bottomless when we were asked to restore her. Named after a favourite Uncle!
  • "Loostrife" a 17 ft. river skiff - restored for a customer in Evesham
  • Morgan Giles - National 14, restored for the National Maritime Museum -Greenwich - We have recently restored another Morgan Giles which is now in Eire.  


  • Plymouth Watermans Gig - Restored for the National Maritime Museum - Greenwich


We also do engine restorations.



Coventry and the Greeks

In the 1980's we undertook the building of the Greek Trireme Trial Piece in Coventry for the Greek Trireme Trust. This was a 15m. section of the proposed reconstruction which was designed to see if Ancient Greek construction methods of edge fastening of planks, was feasible and if the rowers could actually operate. It was and they could, and the full version - Olympus was built a couple of years later.

Later the Manchester Museum approached us to ask if we could build a replica of the "Kyrenia" ship.


In 1998 we were asked to build a cross section of a Greek Trireme for the Henley River and Rowing Museum and the people putting together Fords transport exhibition in the Millenium Dome liked it so much that they asked for another section for that. Later the Manchester Museum were given it so you can see that one there.






In Coventry a rather special boat was built in the workshops of Coventry Boatbuilders. It is a one third replica of the "Kyrenia Ship" which sank off the Northern coast of Cyprus around 300 BC, either as the result of a storm or perhaps from a pirate attack. At that time she was probably over 100 years old and had been extensively patched and repaired. In 1966 the wreck was discovered by a local diver and excavated over the next 3 years. "Kyrenia" is remarkable for the amount of the boat that survived the 2300 years since she sank - some 60% of the boat has been recovered and she represents the most complete record that we have of Greek shipbuilding techniques.

Kyrenia had an overall length of 14 meters and a displacement of 14 tons. Carbon dating showed that the pine trees that were used to build her had been felled in about 389 BC. The cargo was about 20 tons in all and consisted of 400 amphoras, and 10,000 almonds. Everyday utensils indicated a crew of 4. The boat was powered by a square sail that was controlled by brails. Her lifetime began well before the birth of Alexander the Great, and ended well after.

What was significant about the Kyrenia ship was the way in which she was constructed. The planks, which vary from 1.5" to 2" thick are fixed together along their edges by thousands of mortices and loose tenon joints. The hull was built "shell" first and with the edge fastening technique a monoque structure was achieved. The strength of this shell was not improved upon until first iron and steel ships and then GRP were developed. Accordingly the internal framing could be much lighter.

John Prag of the Manchester Museum had the idea that their Agean Gallery should have a scale replica of the Kyrenia Ship suspended in the middle of the gallery. Coventry Boatbuilders were asked to do the work.

The replica built in the original edge fastened manner with all the original fitments, sails and gear is on permanent display in the Manchester Museum. The rigging and sail were undertaken by Owain Roberts a specialist in this area.


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