John Stokes - Boatshed Bristol
+44 (0)7773 897766
Portishead Quays Marina
My love of all thing that float took me to working as an Engineering Pattern maker in a Shipyard in Bristol where the Great Britain is now berthed. This was my first job. After a six year apprenticeship I realised that I didn't like being inside so was employed as a docker worker. Then Saudi Arabia was booming so swapping concrete for sand, embarked on a two year stint in the Middle East (that was all your mind could cope with in those days) on the Red Sea Ports operating machinery and discharging cargo.
Returning home took me back to Bristol as a Bosun on a dredger clearing the mud from the three Bristol Ports and then first mate on a sand dredger. Construction then and lastly a Facilities manager for the M.O.D.
After three weeks retirement I became bored and bought a wreck of a house, rebuilt it sold it and did another one with my son. While carrying out some joinery on a Boatshed owners boat he asked if I would like to be an agent for him. Now a Central sales agent I get to fulfill my passion for boats and meet some great people and view some great boats on my patch. I am the custodian of a 1965 teak yacht that was built in Indonesia on a beach by two different families one building portside and the other starboard. There is not another on like it. I have refitted the interior as she was totally original and unloved.
Two hobbies are Boatshed and my shed. The latter where I can disappear for hours making new joinery for my boat and with my wife complaining about the smell of Teak! Recycling skip finds are another favourite or repairing things my kids and grandkids have broken.
Sailing stories are a plenty and some fit for the gash bin but the most momentous was a 1972 delivery from Bristol to the West Coast of Ireland in an old wooden Pinnace that was to be used for salmon netting. She was leaking, had a gear box seal that needed replacing and a wheelhouse that was nailed on the day previously. The tug skippers said we were mad. A weather window hastened our departure coupled with an it'll be all right attitude and off we set. Well the gearbox leak got worse crossing the Irish Sea and we arrived at Passage West in Ireland which was our first landfall with the gearbox smoking because we ran out of oil. No Radio or Liferaft on this trip and she sank at her moorings after a month. The things you do for love. So older and wiser now but somewhere a taste for adventure still lurks.