Restored Isabell II being launched What's OnWhat's On section icon

Thursday 15th June 2017 was a proud and memorable day for the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) based in the heart of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. On that appropriately hot and sunny day, the IBTC launched its first fully restored boat – Isabel II – from one of the dockyard’s slipways. The restoration project took approximately two years to complete.

Axminster Tools & Machinery has supplied the college with a wide range of machines and hand tools used to carry out the restoration. Other support has included the annual summer fair and workshops for students with tool specialists such as Lie-Nielsen. Also, the IBTC has its own dedicated Axminster technical consultant.

Isabel II is launched

Isabel II, a 21 foot open wooden motor boat built in 1947, lives in Poole Harbour and has been in the same family for 70 years. Her first owner was Dr Edward Andreae. However, she is now owned by all the surviving descendants of Dr Andreae including some of his great, great grandchildren. So when champagne was poured over her bow at the launch, many members of the Andreae family were present to see a much loved vessel restored to her former glory.

Restored Isabel II is launched

Hugo Andreae (grandson, co-owner and editor of Motor Boat & Yachting magazine) said, “Honestly, she looks like a different boat. I’ve grown up with her all of my life and when she first came here she was in a pretty tired state. Now she is looking absolutely immaculate. She’s been beautifully finished, beautifully painted and she really is like a brand new boat. I’ve never seen her look this good.”

When asked how important it is that there are facilities like the IBTC to preserve the country’s heritage, Mr Andreae replied, “I think it’s absolutely vital because they’re not just preserving boats for everybody to enjoy, but they’re preserving the skills to look after many boats like Isabel. So I think it is essential that someone is preserving those skills as well as the boat.”

Original Isabel II
Some of the Andreae sisters and friends enjoying a trip in the original Isabel II (exact date unknown)

Octavia O’Reilly, Hugo’s aunt and the youngest and only surviving of Dr Andreae’s eight children, was present at the launch. She said she found the experience very emotional, bringing back many wonderful memories and expressed her gratitude to the IBTC.

Bright future for IBTC and students

Hereward Drummond, a trustee of the IBTC said, “This is what it’s all about. This is the culmination of everything they (IBTC students) have strived for.”

On the future of the college, Mr Drummond added, “We are supported by a number of providers of bursaries. So we are able to go to everybody – all walks of life, any age group and any gender – to appeal to them to do one of these courses. Once they graduate, I’m delighted to say, one hundred percent of all our graduates have got jobs. Some are in very traditional ships such as HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. Others have gone into more traditional boats, boatbuilding yards. Then there is scope for them to go into other types of woodwork, joinery and things like that. So there is plenty of opportunity for them once they have graduated.”

Still a mystery

One question still remains regarding Isabel II: who is she named after (and presumably there was an Isabel I)? Sadly no one seems to know the answer and that continues to be a mystery.

For more information about how Axminster has supported the IBTC, please take a look at our case study.

Please note that images are courtesy of IBTC Portsmouth and the Andreae family.

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