Please select your home edition
Pantaenius 2020 UK - LEADERBOARD

J-Bird III Restoration Series: Part 4 - J-Bird's new home

by Ocean Crusaders 14 Jun 20:05 BST

In parts 1 - 3 we have explored the purchase, haul out and delivery from Sydney to Brisbane of the World's First TP52, a vessel we rescued from becoming scrap. When we last left the boat, it had just arrived at our yard in Brisbane.

Walking around the yard like a zombie due to a long drive and severe lack of sleep isn't ideal when you have such an important job to do as to lifting a 52ft yacht onto a cradle, but that is exactly what I was faced with. You would think the excitement of her being at our yard would allow me to get through, however the day would be a long struggle for me, lucky I had good people around me.

The yacht turned up first and with a lot of skill and experience, Stuart from Boats by Road eased her into the back yard. When I say 'Our' yard, it is the home of Ocean Crusaders but the back yard of a friend who just happens to own JSA Marine, a boat service/repair company based at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. His son Dylan lives there and they have boats all over the back yard that are in various states of repair. This would be the biggest by far.

We are set up entirely off the grid with a couple of 40ft containers and domes which we store our boats and vehicles under. To prepare for the arrival of J-Bird we had purchased a second-hand shipping cradle from a guy who had closed his boat transport business. We have a forklift in the yard as well so we moved it into a position so that the crane could lift the boat onto it and eventually we would put a set of wheels on the cradle to roll it back into the existing dome.

Wayne Burgess from Bayside Crane Hire is a master at his trade. When someone turns up in a mint condition crane that looks like he has polished it when he gets home after every job, you know there is a good operator behind the wheel. He was recommended by Jason at JSA Marine.

The boat was unsecured and sitting waiting and with my friend Pete Rogers who is a rigger/dogger and Wayne's rigger the mast was soon in the air and placed out of the way. We would later reposition it onto the roof of the containers using our crane truck. For now, it was all about the boat itself.

Between Stuart and Wayne, they had the lifting position pretty much spot on and soon J-Bird was flying once again, a short flight, but a smooth and beautiful one. Sitting over the cradle, we adjusted the stands to fit the hull and Wayne gently lowered her into position. Everything happened so smoothly and that comes down to great operators. I really couldn't have been happier with the whole process from The Quays Marina preparing her for the road, to Boats By Road for her smooth journey, to Wayne lifting her and placing her so gently onto her new cradle, where she will be until she is looking totally different.

The final part was to lift the keel off the back of the truck. Of course, this went without hitch and soon enough I was at the yard alone with our new girl.

In the coming days I would purchase hubs to install onto the cradle a we had enough wheels on trailers we own to roll her back into the dome. We then removed the wheels and settled her down onto blocks. We also stood the keel up behind the containers, something that would stretch the capabilities of our forklift substantially. The tyres were under extreme pressure but luckily, we have a four tonne forklift.

In order to completely enclose the boat, we purchased another 20ft container which would also store all of the gear from the boat. It was delivered and as it was a standard height container and our other container was high cube, we had to put it high on blocks. We then purchased another 40ft dome as the containers were separated, so as to get the doors opening towards each other. The domes would overlap but that was fine for this program.

Slowly but steadily J-Bird was fully covered and when the end wall went on, she was out of the elements and the big dry up started. What I mean by that is that this boat had been sucking in water into the bilges and the deck for many years with no maintenance. She was definitely heavier than she should've been. Originally the boat was meant to be 7,495kg out of the factory. That's about half a tonne heavier than a new TP52 showing that it was built for the original purpose of the class, the Trans-Pacific Yacht Race.

When we lifted it, the keel was just short of 4 tonne. The mast was 300kg which is amazing for a 25m rig, and the hull, with a lot of gear in it still, was just over 4 tonne too, hence the total of 8,300kg all up. Yes, we had to remove a lot of additional gear from the boat, however the biggest thing we were to remove was the rotten core and a seized diesel engine.

Our next mission was to empty the boat out and strip her down, a task that will take quite some time. So, we will save that for several articles in the future.

Ocean Crusaders is a charity dedicated to cleaning our oceans. We go places others don't want to, remove rubbish others don't even know is there and we do it for one reason, for our marine life. J-Bird III was destined to be scrapped if we hadn't bought her and now she is being recycled and given a new life. Our motto for this boat will be 'Zero Emissions, Zero Compromise' as we turn her electric. That doesn't mean we have to compromise on anything in the way of performance!!!

To follow more regular updates of our project visit and to follow the efforts of our charity visit

Clean Oceans Make Us ALL winners!!!

Related Articles

51st La Solitaire du Figaro overall
Title for Le Cléac'h, Tom Dolan lifts Vivi Trophy Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) lifted the overall title for the 51st La Solitaire du Figaro at the end of race prize-giving in Saint Nazaire, France today. It is Le Cléach's third time of winning after successes in 2003 and 2010. Posted today at 4:59 pm
Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay Europeans overall
'Super Sunday' delivers delight and despair As if they knew about it, the weather gods delivered absolute perfection today, creating ideal conditions for breathtaking competition as Connor Bainbridge (GBR) and Ellie Aldridge (GBR) managed to win Gold overall. Posted today at 4:55 pm
Land Union September Regatta day 1
Shifty conditions in the Solent A gusty north easterly breeze kept all the competitors on their toes for the first day of racing at the Land Union September Regatta. Up to three races for all classes were held in the Central and Eastern Solent. Posted today at 7:08 am
18ft Skiffs: Sean Langman, a real supporter
One of Australia's most versatile sailors One of the Australian 18 Footers League's best supporters for many years has been one of Australia's most versatile sailors, Sean Langman. Posted today at 6:35 am
Allen 29er GP1 at the WPNSA day 1
A superb 80 boats racing in Portland Harbour Allen GP1 at Weymouth is our first event in forever. 80 boats, sunshine and wind made it well worth waiting for. Yes, we had to comply with the rule of six and adapt to online communications to reduce risk of transmission BUT the 29er fleet is the racing. Posted on 19 Sep
Armel Le Cléac'h wins 51st La Solitaire du Figaro
Ireland's Tom Dolan fifth With the fourth and final stage of La Solitaire du Figaro cancelled this evening due to the complete absence of wind, French skipper Armel Le Cléac'h wins the 51st edition. It is a third victory for the 43 year old skipper of Banque Populaire. Posted on 19 Sep
Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay Europeans day 4
Intense competition as opening series closes, all eyes on ‘Super Sunday' Another chill morning did not stop the Bainbridge/Aldridge (GBR) duo from locking out first place with a race to spare, who will be joined by second place Gruber/Meyer (GER) directly in the finals, with Nocher/Nolot (FRA) performing well to sit in third. Posted on 19 Sep
49th BVI Spring Regatta schedule announced
'What's not to Love about the BVI Spring Regatta' remains the theme The event will include more classes and opportunities for sailors from across the Caribbean and the globe to come to the British Virgin Islands and experience fantastic racing, with warm tropical winds and water. Posted on 19 Sep
Great fun learning to sail at Wimbleball Lake
Children and adults get a taste for the enjoyment that sailing offers Like a lot of local Clubs, Covid-19 has curtailed many Wimbleball SC activities during the first part of 2020. However, with the lifting of Government restrictions and a strict safety policy the Wimbleball was able to partially open its doors again. Posted on 19 Sep
Light winds La Solitaire du Figaro title showdown?
The deciding stage is usually billed as a 24-hour sprint The final, deciding stage of the La Solitaire du Figaro is usually billed as a 24-hour sprint, quite literally designed to test who still can best draw on the remaining reserves of energy for one last day-long no holds barred battle to the finish line Posted on 19 Sep