Boat Building: Restoring the WWII historic D-Day Boat (Sarinda, ML1392)
Sarinda, also known formally as ML1392, built in the UK and completed on 20th December 1943. Initially designed to protect the harbours and estuaries against submarines.
ML1392 was built with two large rudders for ease of turning during anti-submarine attacks. In March 1945, ML1392 captured a German Biber Type midget submarine off Breskens in Scheldt Estuary in the assault anchorage after the first landings in Normandy.
ML1392 became a navigational leader during the D-Day landings in June 1944 at Gold Beach. After the war, her next role became a fast dispatch boat FDB 73 and she was then transferred to HM Customs & Excise before being sold. In 1974, she was renamed SARINDA.
In 1979 she had a total rebuild and was made into a luxury motor yacht and then sold in 1987. Skipping along to 2021, Gemma and Simon took the plunge and bought Sarinda where she is currently based in Heswall.
Buying a 72ft boat was never planned for Gemma and Simon. Simon loves restoring small boats but one of this magnitude was not expected! Having found the boat listed on eBay, Gemma took a liking. The following day, they booked the viewing and within an hour were onboard and decided to make the purchase. This was set to be their biggest-ever project and they couldn’t wait to get started!
Because they’d purchased the boat during COVID, they wanted to share the journey with the family, who couldn’t visit at the time, and this is where their YouTube journey began. With the family including the youngsters involved in the restoration, it was time to get more people on board with this project and they now have a number of volunteers to help with this once-in-a-lifetime restoration project.
The long-term vision for the boat is to have it fully restored to partake in the D-Day crossing on the 85th anniversary with veterans and their families.
The build started off with securing the boat, making sure it was safe and secure to work on and no one was going to be jumping on board uninvited. Assessing the hull was one of the first things and checking for holes and the less water-tight areas as well as looking at clearing different areas.
“We want to use the best products we can on our boat, that is why we chose WEST SYSTEM epoxy. We find it so simple and easy to use, and the pump system does all the measuring for us, so there is no maths involved! On all our structural woodwork and scarf joints we use WEST SYSTEM 105 resin with 205 hardener” Gemma adds.
Gemma’s best moment of the build so far was the completion of the arduous woodwork replacement to the starboard interior bow section “we have spent the past 12 months slowly placing every bit of rotten frames, stringers and webframes, so it was a big milestone in the restoration works.”
As exciting as this build has been to date the team have had some tough moments “We think the toughest part is definitely on the wallet! Boats are not cheap, especially old rotten wooden ones!”
Gemma talks to us about rewarding moments of the project to date which was the replacement of the biggest deckhead, “it was the worst deckhead on the boat, that leaked constantly. It was a massive project to remove and replace over 360sqft of roof out in the middle of a muddy estuary, it was one of the hardest weeks of our lives, but to stand on the finished roof at the end of the job was amazing, and to also see the boat change so much from the outside was incredible.”
One key tip that they have learned along the way “It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got the skills you will need just yet, as every day your skills will improve while you’re learning on the job.”
We asked Gemma what the next stage of the restoration is and excitingly, “the next stage is to complete all the port side internal structural frame repairs, so then we can replace the forward deck this summer.” Some very exciting momentous tasks ahead with the boat set to change dramatically over the next 6 months.
You can follow the progress on their restoration project on their YouTube channel here.