More than 55 comments from visitors to the PBO Project Boat Hantu Biru at the Southampton Boat Show

Thank you to everyone who took the time to visit the PBO Project Boat at the PSP Southampton Boat Show 2014.

Bought for £510 as a wreck from eBay and restored over two-and-a-half years with how-to and step-by-step articles each month in the magazine, the Snapdragon 23 Hantu Biru was inundated with visitors at the show.

Many wanted to know how PBO Editor David Pugh and Deputy Editor Ben Meakins achieved the paintwork and to discuss their own project boats with the team.

We received so many lovely comments over the 10 days of the event, that we kept a ‘guestbook’ on the final Friday and Saturday of the show.

Here’s what more than 55 show visitors said about the PBO Project Boat (and related series of articles).

Clint Marquardt, Guildford, Surrey: “Hantu Biru was the highlight of the show for me, an awesome job, well done. Being able to get aboard her was even better. I can’t wait for the book. This has been my bible.”

Steve Capel, Portsmouth area: “I think what it does for most boat owners, it doesn’t matter if it’s this boat of not, it’s just a rack of general problems that everyone has that you take a look at and go ‘Oh I’ll remember that one’ And it’s a good story at the end of the day.

“There’s a certain reality about it, which jumps off the page at you. With me it’s been handy because I’ve just got a 18ft Seawitch that needs some work.

Bob Simpson, from Kircubright, south west Scotland: “I’m very impressed. It’s a boat anybody would like. The result reflects the amount of work done. It’s absolutely tremendous.

“I’ve been following it in the magazine. A lot of it is beyond me but it’s good to see how it could be done.”

Nicki Iszard, Essex: “I just think it’s so neat and sweet. I admire all the paintwork. It must have involved a lot of work. We’ve got a boat on the canal. We just saw it at the show and stopped to have a look, my husband is interested in all things that have been restored.
“It’s come back to an original. It’s lovely.”

Jim Lees and Mark Phillips, who write the Skint Sailors blog,
and sail from Langstone Harbour, east of Portsmouth

Mark: “We think she’s fabulous. When you look at the before picture, she’s not the same boat. I could do with them doing a spot of work on mine. PBO need to start up a DIY SOS programme.
“We do a blog and PBO is one of the good magazines for picking up cheats and tips. We’ve been on and had a nosy. You can see there’s a lot of work gone into it.
Jim: “I’ve got an old Valiant 18 on the back of a trailer. I think she [the Project Boat] looks gorgeous. I love the light grey. I was going to have a green boat but now I’m not, I’m having grey and wooden decks as well.”
He added: “It’s the boat of the show.”

“I’ve been following it in the magazine. I’m a yacht chandlery. It’s good to see people like buying boats and spending money on them.”

Robert Denton, Christchurch, Dorset: “It’s nice to see an old boat being restored rather than renewed.
“I need to find a boat like this. It’s just a lovely size, big enough to go out on.
“Well done, you’ve done a lovely job. Super. This is how boats should be.”

Darryl Mingay, Kent: “Well done. It’s been a pleasure to read about.
“There’s been times when I’ve thought ‘You’ve got to be mad doing that, moving it in the snow’ but having said that the sense of satisfaction and the first shots of you taking it to Beaulieu Boatjumble a year ago, I was like ‘Wow’.
“Now I can understand the whole thing.”

Richard Jales, Chandlers Ford: “I get the magazine on subscription and have been following it. It’s been a real labour of love. I think it’s a fantastic achievement.”
He added: “It shows what can be achieved if you put your mind to it. It has inspired me to do stuff on my boat. There’s always work to do on a boat.
“I’d much rather be sailing than doing stuff on it but then you think ‘If these guys are prepared to put that amount of effort into it I can too.’ There’ve been some good tips along the way with what you’ve learnt.
“It looks smaller in real life than in the magazine. It’s nice to keep these boats going rather than leave them to rot and be scrapped.”

Dave and Maggie Futcher, London: “Incredible, it’s just so lovely. It’s better than a new Cornish Crabber. It just makes you think how crazy it is and you haven’t got to spend thousands to have a bigger boat. It’s really inspiring.”

Mike Birch, Nottinghamshire: “This is all we’ve come to the show for. This is luxury compared to our boat.
“I’ve been following it in the magazine, not religiously but I do like the magazine. It’s a good read.
‘[The Project Boat] It’s a thing of greatness. Super. I’m pleased we’ve seen it. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a boat show. I’ll be back.”

Richard Page, Farnham: “I bought an old Galion 22 off eBay in a real state, that’s thanks to you.
“It cost £300 and the engine was £150. I bought it in February/March and thought I’d have it on the water by the end of the season.
“It’s cost me a lot more time and money than I anticipated. It was built in 1967 and had had three owners altogether. The first had it until the late 90s and had a lot of work on it, but latterly had done a lot of bad work – paint over paint. I stripped that right back to the first coat.
“It’s a really good project, what’s next?”

Julian Osgood, north Yorkshire: “I just think it’s a brilliant project. It’s great, I subscribe to the magazine so I’ve followed it for quite a while.
“When they’ve finished off they can start on doing mine!”

“I’ve followed it from the start. I’ve been doing various boats up over the last seven years. I found the Project Boat useful.”

Michelle Johnson, Poole: “That’s really amazing and good to see. It’s sad to see some boats left to rot. Now look at her in the water where she should be.
“How does she sail?”
(To which PBO Deputy Editor Ben Meakins replied “Very well actually, which is a big relief.”)

Brodie Birkett, Sydney, Australia: “The reason I like the magazine is because you have all the articles of how to do stuff. Although I’m probably not going to so any of them, I like to know how.
“Once when a windlass failed when we were anchored in a force 8 I made a jump start for the windlass using something I’d seen in PBO. It was enough to get the magnet working. We ended up doing that for the rest of the trip.
“It’s those little things.”
He added: “I came back to England for my Mum’s 50th and came to see the Project Boat. It’s a cracking job, well done. I’ll look forward to seeing what’s next.”

Clare Pengelly, Salisbury: “It’s amazing to see something I’ve seen published in real life. I’ve got a perfectly functioning working boat, it’s just all in bits. A Morgan Giles 36, a bit bigger but the same vintage.
“I’ve got the roller, got the brush, now I’m hoping for a paint finish like that.
“I’m now encouraged.”

John Disney, Southend, Essex: “It shows people who can’t afford to spend a lot of money on a boat can actually get a boat and through some hard work and intelligence end up with a nice product.
“Reading about it was fascinating. I used to have a Cobra 750, now I’ve got a Bavaria 32, fitting all the bits myself.
“There’re a lot of jobs you do that people think ‘Oh I’m not sure about that’ like the glasswork and taking the keel out.
“It’s the best way to learn. If you haven’t learnt anything you haven’t made any mistakes believe me.”

Ian Burtonshaw, of Leigh Sailing Club: “She’s absolutely lovely, a really good boat. They’ve done a really, really good job.
“I’ve been reading a lot about this boat, not in detail as I’m not practical myself but it was interesting to see what a state it was in.
“Certainly it’s a fascinating idea from the point of view of PBO to take on a project. David Pugh and Ben Meakins have probably learnt a huge amount from it.”

Simon Turl, Southampton: “I do like restoration projects. I just don’t have the patience for it myself.”

Richard Muddle, St Aubins: “Who actually did the work?
(When told it really was David and Ben and the PBO team)
“That’s quite impressive to take a piece of junk and get it back on the water.
“You can’t help but follow the project. You think ‘What have they done now?’ there was a big period when they didn’t seem to do anything.
“It was good to follow. If you get a ding on your own boat, you think ‘That can’t be too hard to fix’ after seeing the Project Boat.”

Stephen Harrison, Surrey: “I’ve been following it. It’s incredible. You’d think it was a new boat.
“Having seen all the pictures and all the stages it’s nice to see the end result. There have been a lot of helpful repair tips along the way.”

Adrian Hawkins, Newport, South Wales: “They’ve done a good job. I’ve found everything about the project useful. I’ve had a boat for about five years so I was quite late coming to sailing.
“I like the magazine because it’s so practical, I had to do a bit of work on my rudder this spring and it just so happened to coincide with an article on epoxy resin. It was perfect timing for me.”

Andrew Whitfield, Hamble: “I used to read the magazine but I’ve given up sailing boats. I just looked through the before and after pictures. I know the amount of work involved, it’s heartbreaking. “Very skilled to get the finish back like this, it’s tremendous.”

Phil Craig, Southampton: “It’s been fantastic reading all through the restoration of it all. I wonder how many people have been inspired to buy a boat off eBay and then foundered.”
He added: “The articles have been brilliant to follow. Nice one.”

“It’s the perfect sort of starter boat for someone. Ideal.”

Mike Yuill, Watchet, Somerset: “I’ve been following the progress in PBO, I wanted to come and see it. This is exciting. It’s what I’ve come to see at the show.
It’s brilliant, there’s hope for us all.
“From the outside it looks like a modern boat, when you go below you can see her age from the cabin layout. It’s a lovely job.”

John Dickson, Winchester: “It might be the only boat of reality in the boat show, the rest are unachievable for a lot of people. I’m thinking about buying a boat and it’s nice to know this magazine could show me all the jobs.”

David Prior, Drinkstone, Bury St Edmunds: “I think she’s finished to a really high standard and a really excellent example of what you can do with a bit of enthusiasm and motivation. It gives everybody a bit of hope that you can get into sailing.
“I’ve just had a look around a £4million motoryacht but my preference is this because it’s more real, more tangible for the rest of us.
“Outstanding job. I’ve nicked lots of your ideas. You’ve done really well with this.
“I did feel for you, I looked at some of the jobs and thought ‘Oh my God’.
“With any project you’re definitely going to get into the Doldrums and think it’s not something to keep going.
“Great articles, really good, I know all the time and effort involved.”

Neil Hardy, Worth Matravers: “I’ve followed this with interest. I’ve got a 33 footer, my neighbour and I. We’re always maintaining it. Some of the ideas were very helpful. I only wish you’d send the team round to my boat to do it up.
“It’s most impressive seeing it in the flesh.”

Paul Easter, Godalming, near Guildford: “I was at a hospital appointment the other day and read about the Project Boat in an issue from 2012. I didn’t know it was going to be here. It’s just completely random seeing it here at the Southampton Boat Show all finished.
“Beautiful. Very nice inside.”

Wyn Howard, Lee on Solent: “I like Practical Boat Owner. It’s practical, so nice some of the projects and questions are really good.
“I’ve enjoyed the project boat. It’s fabulous, isn’t it a lovely little boat?”

Michael Sweet, Exeter: “Well done, I look at a boat like that [in the wreck photos] and think ‘Move on!’
“I think it’s amazing, what work, looks great.”

Les Ball, South Wales: “Amazing recovery from what it was. We’re new to boating and yachting. We’ve just joined a yacht club and are going to start doing some training.
“We came here to get an idea of what boats are like when brand new and maybe looking at a project.”

Joep van Lunenburg, Netherlands: “Good fun to do. Learn from experience and practicing.”

Richard Sheldon, sails out of Port Maddock, north Wales: “I wish I had the same skill set.
“I’ve been following it. It looked like a long old slog to be fair. I know that even the little jobs take a long time. I’m really impressed.
“I could do with making a cockpit sole for my boat.”

Richard Tunks, sails on the East Coast: “Very nice. I’ve really enjoyed the series throughout the magazine over the last few years, describing how you restored it. Really good thing to do, showed people can take a completely old wreck and turn it into something really sorted.
“It looks like it will sail well.
“For me I own a 29 footer. It just builds confidence that there’s a bank of things you can do yourself and not just walk into a yard and start burning money.”

Karen Dolan, has a boat based at Chichester Marina: “We’ve been following this every month like everyone else. I think it’s been really good for the magazine. Nice to see what you’ve done.
“It gives us a lot of ideas. It’s been interesting for us to see. One of the reasons we wanted to come to the Southampton Boat Show was to see it.”

Charles Howard, Chichester: “Lovely to see it in the flesh instead of in the magazine. Absolutely beautiful to see it.
“I used to fish at Allenbrook Trout Farm. I saw this dilapidated boat ages ago, I thought ‘Someone ought to do that up’ and then you did. Brilliant!
“That is just amazing, it really is. Unbelievable!”

David Bartholomew, Bolton: “It looks good now it’s done. Great articles.
“There was a time when it was one of those projects you think might fade into the background, it seemed like a big task but you kept going. It’s been really good.”

Steve Huke, Worcestershire: “I saw the pictures of how it looked before, hell of a job.
“It’s a credit to you, it really is. I’ve got a small sized boat myself. You think the hours it takes to get it back like that.”

Mike Taylor, Chepstow: “I thought the project was very good. Really remarkable.
“Especially seeing it in real life. When it’s in the magazine you can always airbrush certain things to make it look better but seeing the boat now is fantastic. You can see the hours that have gone into it.”

Jim Wrigley, near Truro: “You’ve done a very good job. The boat looks much better now. It looked awful. It’s been a good project.
“It’s quite apt, good to see PBO being practical.”

Roger and Audrey Kynaston: “It’s very good. I think she is gorgeous. Incredible what’s been done.”

Derek James: “It looks so much better that it did. It’s a great job.
“You should do more. It hasn’t quite inspired me to do a slow restoration yet. I really liked the slow build. You could see lots of effort going into the boat which made the articles interesting. Made it real.”

Liam Kavanagh, Tipperary: “It was a good read.”

Jason Ellmers, Plymouth: “What’s nice is they haven’t just replaced everything.”

Rob White, Lincoln: “Fantastic project, it really was. It just shows the boats that many people would cut up and scrap have got a life ahead of them.
“Somebody will get a lot of enjoyment out of that boat.
“I would say that’s kept a lot of readers happy.”
He added (after going below deck): “Excellent, a really authentic feel.”

Gareth Hampson, Cowes: “I’ve been doing my boat up, a GK24 in the last year, you’ve been a source of rescue.
“The GRP of mine was quite similar to this but the finish on this is much better than the finish on mine. She looks very good indeed.”

Simon Creasey, Salisbury: “I’ve been reading about this for months. It’s fantastic.

“I’ve been interested to see how relatively straight forward it is to take on a project like this. When you see what a state it was in and how beautiful it looks now, it shows you really can restore an apparently unsalvageable boat.”
He added: “What a lovely boat, can I make an offer on it?”

CJ Shamworth, Haywards Heath, near Brighton: “From the minute you guys bought it, I’ve been following it. I’ve been a subscriber to PBO for many years.
“This was in a much worse condition that my boat is. It makes me a bit more positive.”

Steve Coombs, Clevedon, Somerset: “It’s good to see that she’s come back to scratch. I’ve got a 1965 Conyplex Contest. She’s in probably a worse state or was.

Mike Rushworth, West Dean near Salisbury: “Absolutely brilliant. It’s obviously a great idea.
“Everyone wants to know something. I thought it had been going six months, I can’t believe it’s been two and a half years!”

Sally Rushworth: “It’s amazing. I’ve enjoyed all the articles where you were all wading in and scrubbing it all out, where I though ‘Eww!’
“I saw it at the Beaulieu Boatjumble when it wasn’t quite as finished.”

Paul Cross, Fuerteventura: “In my very first sailing race we finished within metres of this boat, in Singapore. I remember the old army major who used to run it.
“It was painted darker then. I thought when this project started it’s got to be the same boat. It’s absolutely amazing.
“I’ve got a project boat myself, an Endurance 37, this gives me an injection enthusiasm when I’m feeling down about my project.”

Other comments from the Practical Boat Owner Facebook page:

Rich Griffiths: “Thanks for showing us round her yesterday. The pictures cannot ever do justice to the great job you’ve done.”

Paul Johnson: “Well done! Great to see Hintu sailing after all your hard work, it has been a very interesting and informative series of articles with a lovely boat at the end. Thank you.”

On the forums (about the Southampton Boat Show)

Woodstock wrote: “We went today, and had a great time. especially enjoyed the PBO project boat- they’ve done a great job!”

Tam Lin wrote: “Was impressed by that boat. Makes me think that I could do more to mine!”