A Boat on the Side

The Restoration of a Daydream . . . .

And no, I’m not talking about some idle fantasy here, it’s a real boat – designed maybe 60 years ago in New South Wales. She’s a 28’ (8.5m) double-ender with a deep, well ballasted keel and rather narrow beam. Chop the canoe stern off and you’d be close to a Folkboat except these were built in ply rather than clinker. The one we’re working on is high and dry in the yard of Tamborine Mountain brewery and the owner, a master brewer, is on the job with me when he’s not working his alchemy in the vats.

The boat was, frankly a mess with rotted frames, rotted cockpit and, well, rot in extremis . . . .

The first job was to strip away all the old ply and fittings, saving as much as possible then we ripped out the soft bits and coated what was left in a mixture of thinned BoteCote epoxy plus TRDP preservative. We used an automotive parts cleaning gun to force the thinned mix into all the cavities. Fortunately most of the structure was sound but we needed to replace nearly all of the 50 x 23 stringers in clear Oregon prior to fairing and re-skinning.

Originally the boat was built from 12mm ply but for extra strength I decided to use two layers of 6mm marine with the joints staggered. Once epoxied together the sheeting forms a tough laminated shell over which will go the glass cloth in several layers.

The boat, now half a century old, is quite a shapely thing, reminiscent of a classic S & S or a pre-war racer. There’s a lot to be done but good progress has been made so far and as she’s an Australian classic, one of a dwindling breed, she’s well worth saving.

Interestingly the aft section of the keel has a built-in tank which I suspect was filled up when pressing on to windward in a stiff breeze and emptied out when running downhill. More importantly, the brewery also has an excellent range of traditionally crafted full flavoured cheese and a fine restaurant. This job is good. I’m hoping the client will find another old boat to fix up after this one . . . . . .

Daydream Believer

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  1. g.day there i all so own a day dream 28 mine is on a swing mooring off williamstown in melbourne im woundering if u have more photos to view off your boat out of the water i have lost my rudder and need to make a new one any help information u mite have on the day dream yachts will be great thank,s jason

  2. Can you please post some more pics. Is that the boat from the southport hatch club?

  3. Giddy. The boats name is True. She was built by Fletcher in1974.

  4. I was commissioned to work on and oversee the restoration of this boat, owned by Andre Morris here on Tamborine Mountain. We stripped out the hull, carried out some framing repairs, replaced some stringers and re-clad the bottom with epoxy saturated marine ply. I designed and built a completely new cockpit unit with rounded coaming and seat capped with some nicely figured English oak we had in stock. Unfortunately Andre went to live in PNG so the project was abandoned. Andre contacted me recently and told me he had the boat up for sale.
    – Derek

  5. Derek, did Andre finish the project to a stage where the boat was back in the water? Any idea how I could contact him re this boat if still for sale?

    Thanks mate,


  6. Bruce, no I don’t think so – last time I saw it was as per the photos plus new cockpit unit built but not installed. Id you want to contact the owner, email me at info@scruffie.com and I’ll pass it on.

  7. I have a daydream, owned her for the 24 years, believed to be one of the first ones built in glass. I have been doing her up for more years than I wish to think about. Full teak fit out, complete new rig, standing running rigging , mast, boom, self tacking staysail, yes she is now a cutter. Stainless tanks, fridge/freezer the list goes on & on. Fletcher’s ply one was the first, believed to have gone to Fiji & back with the only miss hap was capsizing the dinky when coming ashore. I’ll post some pictures of mine (when I figure out how to).

  8. Your article in Google gave me quite a thrill and brought back many memories. I sailed on the original Daydream on Sydney Harbour in the 1950’s and sailed to New Zealand on it. The builder/skipper was Peter Fletcher and the other crew to NZ was his brother Doug. I still have photos of it and also the Boat Plans magazine in which it was featured. Most of the photos are on 35mm slides. I now live on Bribie Island so it i9s OK for you to contact me by phone or email if you wish. Good luck with yor renovations.
    Ian (83 y.o. but still sane)


  10. Very interesting to read Ian Stillman’s letter.
    I have just purchased Peter Fletcher’s original Daydream from its owner in Lake Macquarie. I will be sailing her down to Pittwater in the next few weeks.
    Since Peter built her and em barques on his historic cruise/race, she has acquired an aluminium mast and boom tabernacle mounted and supported by a stainless internal brace.
    The mainsail drops via a lazy jack system onto the boom and a jib curler has been fitted.
    In addition the saloon headroom has been increased by about 4inches without effecting the profile noticeably .
    I have a bit of cosmetic work to do. Mainly stripping pint of hardwood trim both exterior and interior. The yacht has been completely painted!
    In addition, some ten or so years ago the hull and decks were professionally
    Dynal sheathed and is in excellent condition.
    Well, if anyone reads this,I will keep an update running.
    Oh by the way, I understand from Peter Fletcher’s daughter in England that his tender that he towed behind her was called “forty winks”!!

  11. This brings back many fond memories of when I sailed on the Daydream on Sydney Harbour and to N Z. The dinghy was indeed called “Forty Winks”. It was a great yacht to sail on, but not really designed to cross “The Ditch”. If there is anything you would like to know about the daydream and its history, you are quite welcome to contact me.

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