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The End of Sailing Dreams - Follow Up

I've had a few messages asking if there was any update on Nevil Shute's yacht, Runagate, and as you might imagine - it's not good news.

Having seen this vessel afloat, nearly lost, then saved, and finally fully lost - I feel a strange connection to this vessel - so much story, and even some irony - now all to sleep on the beach.

There is just something unsettling about a once beautiful, well-built, and capable vessel - now nothing more than a rotting hulk on a beach - but I think I said all this in the last post about this boat, and really this is just an update on her condition six months on.

Above Decks

She is in very poor condition, with almost all of her beautiful bronze and brass fittings having been stripped, and it's become apparent that there is no hope for her - there's no coming back from this one.

She's been on the beach for a while, and it shows. When I last saw this vessel she was salvageable, but the odds were slim as she was in such poor condition prior to being wrecked, but now - if you tried to move her, I think she'd fall apart.

All 'attempts' at saving the vessel by the owner have ALL ended with failure, and her condition has deteriorated very rapidly, with bits of her all over the beach.

The hull is beginning to lose its integrity, I noticed quite a few sprung planks and you can see daylight coming through in many places. You can just see one of the square copper nails that once secured them in place...

All exterior surfaces are covered with green slime and barnacles, and almost none of her blue paint that once covered her is visible, the hull is just raw wood - and the same goes for the decks - they are soft to walk on, and the rotten wood just crumbles in your hands - it won't be too long before the deterioration intensifies.


Below Decks

If you thought the exterior was a mess, well, the interior is completely lost.

Again, when I first saw this vessel, she was a mess - and I did briefly have a look below, and despite being full of stuff at that time - the interior was not in awful shape and it was, as I understand it - in original condition from when Nevil Shute owned it, but, yeah - all ruined now.

All the floorboards have come up, all the cupboards have collapsed, and broken rusty crap litter the entire wreck - everything is coated in oil and completely ruined.

Almost nothing that I remember seeing remains. Blocks of iron that were used for ballast are loose and strewn all over the place, the interior is just a complete nightmare...

One thing that I do remember - is the owner telling me about some recently refurbished hatch covers that he'd stored down below for safekeeping.

I am happy to report, that they're still safely stored in the bow, the glass panels and timber frames still survive, and you can see the bars on the hatches that protect the glass.

I also searched this vessel trying to find a trace of its former glory, and I did find one tiny spot that hinted at her once beautiful woodwork.

I found a small patch of intact varnish on one of the booms, and you can still see the wonderful colour she once used to be...

In conclusion

I think this boat is a bit of a cautionary story, something about taking on more than you can handle, and this vessel's previous owners did exactly that - and they are the reason this boat lies on a beach.

A series of bad decisions, lack of maintenance, lack of money, and ignored advice sealed this boat's fate.

When I look at this boat, I just see the hundreds and thousands of hours of maintenance and work that had gone into keeping Runagate afloat in her early years. All the sanding, polishing, and varnishing that was once done regularly to keep her in presentable shape, and how the lack of just those things over the years got her to where she is now.

Wooden boats are not very forgiving, Runagate is/was no exception.

I had hoped she would have been floated, and I'm sorry this isn't a happier ending, but like all good things - they come to an end...

Neville Shutes wrecked yacht
Chloe having a look at Runagate as the tide consumes the wreck
Runagate sailing
Runagate in fine sailing condition - a very long time ago - circa 1940's

Next time we're through this way, we'll be sure to check up on her condition, to see if there is anything left of her!


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