Climbing down below into the interior of this beautiful 28ft boat is something of a magical experience and a rarity.
The words "restoration" and "rebuild" are often misused. Some think this means a quick touch up others take their time and consider originality above and below decks. With boat builders such as Alex Laird, Greg Powlesland and here with Mark Hickman and his 1909 gaff sloop ‘Tarifa’, there is something different going on to the average 'restoration' or 'rebuilding of a classic.
These are people who study the features of an old and historical vessel, they look thoroughly at all aspects of boat building techniques of the period, the boat's design and meticulously collect every last piece of the vessel in question, as they find it, before rebuilding parts and restoring others. Mark, a stringed instrument restorer from the Isle of Wight, has saved much of Tarifa's original fabric, he has also importantly acknowledged the vessel’s period with the objects that make up her space down below.
'Tarifa' as a project was instigated by Alex Laird’s labour of love 'Partridge', a J. Beavor-Webb designed Victorian gaff cutter built in 1885 by Camper & Nicholson and which was coincidentally mostly influenced by Greg Powlesland's restoration of 'Collinette'. Tarifa's interior sets a standard of a careful restoration that isn't just a job jobbed nor is it "over-restored".
The things inside this boat are a real acknowledgement of the vessel’s era. Have a look down below on board Tarifa in this film, take a tour around the G.U. Laws designed gaff sloop built at the Burnham Yacht Building Company and listen to Mark's story.