The vintage Sailor radio has gone in for repairs. It's not in great condition but radio expert Rob Wells is optimistic. Watch the video here

Whether for listening to BBC cricket or calling up Dutch harbours, the old Sailor radio is still loved by boat owners!

The maritime Sailor radio on the PBO Project Boat is in need of some serious TLC. It’s been onboard the Maxi 84 since it was built in 1978, and has suffered water-damage. 

Maximus had been on the hard standing for two years when we acquired her in May 2021. Rainwater had seeped through a gap between the ill-fitting companionway hatch boards. Sadly, this leak found its way to the Sailor radio. 

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When Greg Wells of Raymarine stepped onboard Maximus and saw the set for the first time, he agreed it was a beautiful radio, and we shouldn’t get rid of it – even if we were upgrading to the new Raymarine Ray 73 with AIS. “Give it to my brother Rob to fix,” he said. “He’ll love this project!”

The Sailor radio onboard Maximus doesn’t have the case like Jan Bonnemaijer’s does (see photo below)

Sailor radio “not in good shape”

We didn’t hesitate to hand the Sailor over to radio expert Rob Wells.

His verdict? 

“It’s not in too good a shape,” Rob admitted, “but I applied some voltage to the terminals and it made a bit of noise. I put a dummy load in, touched the PTT (push-to-talk) and I think it went into transmit!”

Rob is going to see if he can repair the radio. He’s promised to film his journey so we can share it with you. You can watch his excellent first video here

It seems Rob isn’t the only Sailor radio enthusiast out there. Surveyor Ben Sutcliffe-Davies used to have one on his dad’s fishing boat, and letters have flooded in, in response to our last article, “Remember the Sailor vintage marine radio?”

The Sailor Radio on Jan Bonnemaijer’s Sigma 38 – still going strong

For example, Jan Bonnemaijers is still using his on his Sigma 38 in the Netherlands. 

“We have a genuine RT144,” he told us. “Years ago I had it installed by Radio Holland. I also let them install channel 31, which is commonly used by Dutch Yacht harbours. After all those years it still works fine!”

Listening to BBC Cricket!

Paul Nye also has a working Sailor RT144 on his 1938 Gauntlet 13 tonner. Although he has a modern portable VHF for convenience he still uses the Sailor out at sea. 

“The quality is top-notch, and you can’t beat talking into a proper telephone handset rather than fumbling around with those little plastic things,” he said. “The act of turning the dial with its precision clunks as it changes channels feels like a proper grown-up piece of kit.”

Paul trained as a Radio Officer over 50 years ago and says the radio takes him back to that era. 

“When I bought Grey Seal 5 years ago there was also a matching receiver on board – the same size and colour as the transmitter, but it’s redundant now as its main purpose was receiving radio beacons used for direction finding. Apart from the odd plaintive morse idents the only channel I could find was BBC cricket so not a complete waste of time!”

We’ll be posting weekly updates on the Sailor radio repair on our YouTube channel. Even non-radio enthusiasts will be impressed by how fascinating this set is when you take it apart.

Thanks to our Project Boat Supporters

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