Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

James Frecheville- A passion for building wooden boats

by Lee Mylchreest on 5 May 2013
Sharpie - painstakingly built .. .
James Frecheville learnt to sail at the age of 8. I don't know when he developed his passion for wooden boats and the creation of a boat an owner will 'not own, but have stewardship over' but it must have developed during his long career of sailing everything from skiff to cruising keelboat.

Now, in his workshop in Paynesville, overlooking Gippsland Lakes, James is dedicated to the creation of classic wooden boats, individual creations which will last a lifetime. This is in total contrast to the way that modern boat building is heading - plastic designer name-brand yachts, getting bigger and flashier every year.

With over forty years experience on the water and an abiding passion for boats made of wood, he has established a reputation for high quality boat repair, restoration and boatbuilding in his business of 15 years.


And his experience isn't only confined to Australian waters. With his wife he built and sailed a small classic yacht to England, and has sailed extensively the waters of Australia and Europe.

His travels also inspired him and increased the finesse of his workmanship. In England he worked alongside mastercraftmen at Freebodys, a famous boatyard on the river Thames restoring and building fine classic launches.

Now the boats he builds might cost a packet and can take two years to build, but they are sourced from rare recycled timbers and feature vintage paintwork.


Even though his yachts might cost more than your average production yacht, James says he's so dedicated to the classic boat tradition he's prepared to do much of it for love, not money.

'We could do 40 hours of work and if we charge 30 hours that's good.

But he is not complaining. 'I'm a lucky man, he told the Weekly Times recently. 'I get to play with boats - that appeals to my creative side.

'And people who buy from us want something a bit different. They don't want to have a Holden Commodore like everyone else. They want a wooden boat that they don't own, but have stewardship over. It's maintaining history.

'I'm a purveyor of dreams. That's what people come to me for - they dream of a classic wooden boat.'


In all his boats he uses centuries-old traditions combined with modern electrical mechanics and engineering - although he doesn't cover such areas as upholstery or welding.

He says his customer base is small but zealous. 'It's a limited market for wooden boats. People have got to want one and wait maybe years,' he says. 'You can write a cheque and go boating tomorrow in a polyester thing.

'But those modern fibreglass boats have no soul. You have no affinity with them.'

However, he agrees that to be a traditional boat builder requires a degree of insanity. 'If you aren't mad about boats, you can't work in this industry, because it's hard, dirty and challenging, not an easy artisan trade to be in.'

If you, also, are passionate about wooden boats, you can find out more about James Frecheville at Heaney Boat builders. Their website is www.fhboats.com.au

Sail Exchange 660x82 New SailsHenri Lloyd 50 YearsWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Fifth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Jon Sanders is closing in on Reunion and Mauritius The west coast of Australia is now a long way behind. Then it was 3 reefs in the mainsail. Windy. A wind one gets in the region - history shows it has been the same over the past 400 years - Southerlies. Soon the wind bends. And we get the South East trades proper. For the first 1,000 Nautical Miles the Trades were what I expected. Very strong southerlies leaving the Australian shore (Shark Bay).
Posted on 2 Dec
Predictwind release improved racing and cruising routing function
PredictWind has released a major upgrade to its Routing function, taking a much more graphic and interactive approach PredictWind has released a major upgrade to its Routing function, taking a much more graphic and interactive approach to what has been a black art of weather routing, used to chose the fastest route for racers or most comfortable route for cruisers.
Posted on 28 Nov
Only room for one at the top
The results of RMIT's (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) independent testing are in. The results of RMIT's (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) independent testing are in. Zhik® is the market leader in waterproof durability with a new standard that replicates the real world sailing environment and conditions. It is an astounding four times more so than the previous leader.
Posted on 28 Nov
Beneteau Cup – A statement in family and time
Every other deity with a nautical interest seemed to sense the importance of the occasion and delivered in spades Flagstaff Marine delivered a terrific regatta to mark the 25th Beneteau Cup on Sydney Harbour. It seemed fitting that Beneteau had two factory representatives there as well, headed up by Director, Beneteau Group Asia Pacific, Thibaut de Montvalon and also Asia Sales Manager, Beneteau Group Asia, Vianney Guezenec.
Posted on 28 Nov
Parlier reigns supreme in Hydrofoil Worlds
The south westerly breeze kicks over the land mass over north facing beach, making for flat water despite strong wind. Whatever the shortcomings of the Fremantle Doctor on the first day of competition, were made up for in spades on day two, when the wind kicked in early at 15 knots and quickly built to 18 with gusts as high as 26. The Rockingham course is perfectly suited to such conditions. The south westerly breeze kicks over the land mass over the north facing beach, making for flat water despite strong wind.
Posted on 27 Nov
25th Beneteau Cup - Great weather. Great times. Great brand.
The 25th Beneteau Cup on Sydney Harbour was filled with a genuine sense of joy. The 25th Beneteau Cup on Sydney Harbour was filled with a genuine sense of joy. Flagstaff Marine, together with regatta partners Sydney City Marine, Mark Anderson’s Boat Transport and d’Albora Marinas, can be very proud of the achievement, but it is the owners and crews who make it all possible. Here then are some of the pics of their day! Full report to follow…
Posted on 26 Nov
Ensign want to sell your boat!
Ensign have had such a successful sales year that they are now looking for more pre-used stock to sell. Ensign, one of Australia’s largest yacht brokers, have had such a successful sales year that they are now looking for more pre-used stock to sell. At their head office location at Main Beach, Queensland, they can offer amazing rates on berthing while the boat is on sale at their Marinas Cove Marina and that means great exposure.
Posted on 24 Nov
Fourth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Oh no - not the coffee cup Oh no - not the coffee cup - Jon keeps us all entertained as he approaches Reunion Island. The B&G chartplotter tells me since leaving the pleasant mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon (by world standards, an isolated town), that I have sailed some 2559 NM and have 751nm to go to Le Port Reunion Island. French. Reunion is a Suburb (department) of Paris. Population 844,000.
Posted on 23 Nov
Third Blog from onboard Perie Banou II
Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. It is 0830am here. 1030 in Western Australia. Windy. Rather Windy. Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. Barometer 1018 to 1020 whatever they are. Last night I tapped the barometer and it sorta went oops. 1015hPa. Blimey.
Posted on 18 Nov
Beneteau Cup - the 25th is the 25th
Beneteau Cup - the 25th is the 25th Flagstaff Marine will present the 25th Beneteau Cup on Friday, November 25. It is always a great day, both on and off the water, with loads of door prizes, great music and fantastic times assured. Of course, to be a part of it you do have to book in! You can enter this historic event right https://www.topyacht.com.au/db/aus/series_select.php?EventID=681!HERE!new and now - so hop to it...
Posted on 15 Nov