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Persistence pays off for Dean

Persistence pays off for Dean

It became a six year process but Truro’s Dean Firth has no regrets when he sails his handcrafted boat on the ocean.

The avid sailor always dreamt of building his own boat and a chance sale of his previous boat kick started a project which was finally realised on the October long weekend.

“I had sail boats in my life and was a sailor,” said Dean.

“In the back of my mind, since I was a young fellow, I wanted to build a boat and dad had one and he built one.

“As soon as I had the taste for sailing I thought that would be the way to go.”

With background as a boilermaker, Dean knew it wasn’t wise to tackle a boat too big to handle and soon embarked on a 30 foot long steel yacht weighing four tonne.

“It was a manageable size for one man,” said Dean.

“I knew if I went bigger I wouldn’t be able to manage the steel plate.

“I am amazed at how good it has turned out… I built the hull true to plan but the deck and the cabin is my design.”

With a love of traditional looking boats, Dean created round port holes and has enough room under the deck for a galley, four bunks and a toilet.

He balanced his work at Wolf Blass, Nuriootpa and family time with his venture but says a change to afternoon shift really helped to push the project up a notch.

“I got a lot done then and it was the real turning point in getting it finished,” said Dean.

“The last 12 months I really went full time on it so it was ready for this summer.”

Dean admits there were times he thought it wouldn’t get finished adding it either “makes or breaks you” but was keen to get back on the water after a hiatus.

While his wife, Heather didn’t take to the tools, she did a lot of the interior work – upholstery, painting and staining and varnishing the interior.

“If it wasn’t for her… I wouldn’t have finished,” said Dean.

“She has supported me through it and that’s been huge… you do hit the wall at some stage.

“I really didn’t want it to turn into something half finished.”

Built at his Truro property, Dean with the help of his son, Luke then arranged for it to be transported to Adelaide and it hit the water in the Adelaide Marina for inspections and certification to take place.

Dean said the boat passed the test with flying colours and his own adjustment to the water level line paid off.

“I got a fantastic report,” said Dean.

“It was a big thing for me after the christening to take it out on my own and see how it sailed… and it sailed better than I’d imagined.”

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.