'It may seem like an unusual choice to have your workshop on board a former fishing trawler, but at the beginning of 2016, when the idea for Old Rope Salvage began to evolve, it seemed like a natural progression. Tim was already spending much of his time on board the boat. 'Albacore', as she was then known, had been his 'man cave' since 2011 when he first purchased her from a man in a bar in Ireland and sailed her back across the sea to her new home here in Cornwall. She is currently moored in a small harbour which serves as both a community of like-minded boat-dwellers and as a working boatyard, so there is always help at hand when things need moving or when equipment and tools need to be borrowed, repaired or loaned out. It is this community spirit, as well as the unique location and choice of workshop, which makes the working week so special. Many self-employed lament the long, lonely hours of working in isolation, but here in the boatyard there is always something going on or someone around to have a chat to when tea-break comes around, which it does, quite frequently!
'May Queen 1V' herself is a houseboat in progress, so the week is often divided into working on the boat and er ... working on the boat. 'Downstairs' in the former fish hold are the living quarters where we have a place to sleep and relax next to the wood-burner, whilst 'upstairs' under the shelter-deck is the workshop and 'tea-station' where all the raw materials for our upcycling are stored. It is here where all the heavy duty work gets carried out: The welding and the grinding and the sanding, amidst the curious seagulls and the thieving magpies, a backdrop of changing tides, changing seasons, glorious sunsets and the occasional lively storm.
Working on the sea and living with the elements in this way has become a way of life over the last few years, a way of life which seeps into your blood and begins to inform much of what you do. Many of our upcycling products are created with the salvage of the sea, from boats now broken up and sometimes even from the things which come in with the tide. Gifts from the sea, from other boats, from the people of the yard and even from May Queen herself.
Of course, having a floating workshop is not without its challenges. The weather in particular, and the salt air, can be a constant battle, but we have learned to read the patterns of this unique life and embrace all that it has to offer - (and occasionally throw at) - us.
UPDATE: After extensive renovations, May Queen is currently up For Sale, but this is by no means an end to our alternative lifestyle. On the contrary, we are hoping that the sale will be a launchpad into new adventures: Whether that be a new boat, a campervan or possibly some land we don't yet know, but keep watching this space to find out. In the meantime, there is much more about our life here on board in the Old Rope Blog and in the Video blog. But before you hop over there, take a look below at our galleries of Upcycled Treasures and of Tim in action behind the scenes in our Workshop Gallery ...