The Sailfish community has mobilised to help Marlin’s Mission get afloat safely, as Dave Selby prepares to head off on his charity voyage to the Southampton Boat Show.

First Dave received a surprise phone call from Jeremy Dale on the Isle of Wight, who said: ‘My father Henry was the original builder of the Sailfish 18 and as a teenager I probably helped to build yours.’

Jeremy Dale, managing director of marine safety equipment company Seasafe, has provided Dave with two personalised life-jackets. The fully automatic 170N I-Zip life-jackets, with integral harness, SOLAS light, whistle and sprayhood retail at £182.78.

As well as being British made, Seasafe life jackets have a washable removable cover that can be personalised and embroidered with any design you wish.

Jeremy, 60, said: ‘We can do it in the pattern of your bed-spread if you like. Perhaps the oddest one we’ve ever done was for a customer who sent us his tweed jacket as a pattern for cover.’

Jeremy Dale with Dave Selby's new bespoke lifejacket

Jeremy Dale with Dave Selby’s bespoke lifejacket

Dave, who has chosen the colours of his Sailfish and logo of his charity, said: ‘Now I’m never going to get my life-jackets mixed up with anyone else’s. That happened to me once when I accidentally picked up one that looked like mine and found a corroded canister and arming mechanism that was two years out of date.’

Meanwhile Sailfish pals Mark Berry and David Longfield, both retired automotive engineers, have been beefing up Marlin’s rigging fastenings by fabricating internal stainless-steel plates below the fore-stay and u-bolt chain plates with “a Black Country screw-driver,” ie a lump hammer. The plates spread the load under the deck and have “wings” that extend down the side of hull; these have been fibre-glassed in with West System products.

‘I could never have done it myself,’ said Dave. ‘All I had to do was make tea while David and Mark set to with angle-grinders, lump hammers and a vice.’

It’s also turned out to be a very worthwhile mod as when Dave removed one of the old u-bolts it was alarmingly bent. Luckily Wichard still make the exact same u-bolts as those originally fitted to Marlin in 1978.