Heritage Classics

  • Kapanui steaming along the Mahurangi

    Kapanui steaming along the Mahurangi

  • Kapanui steam engine

    Kapanui steam engine

  • Kapanui boiler and interior

    Kapanui boiler and interior

  • Jane Gifford in travel lift

    Jane Gifford in travel lift

  • Jane Gifford on hardstand

    Jane Gifford on hardstand

  • Jane Gifford Tall Ships Regatta Auckland

    Jane Gifford Tall Ships Regatta Auckland


* Experts in the old boatbuilding methods and techniques

* Construction and repair using all boatbuilding materials

* Engineering and metal fabrication

* Engine, Transmission, Genset and Hydraulic servicing and installation

* All interior construction and finishing

* Painting

* Electrical

* 8.5 meter beam and 80 ton travel lift


* More than 30 years designing and building classic boats

* Maintaining and repairing classic boats for more than 30 years

* Performed countless internal and external refits on classic boats over more than 30 years

* Major refit of the hull and designed and built cabin top, decks and interior of a heritage classic 37 ft. steam boat

* Designed and built modern classic boats

Illustrative Case History of a Heritage Classic

Kapanui is an old, early 1900’s styled steam boat which does cruises down the Mahurangi River. It started out as an old hull that was discovered in a shed out on a farm in the Kaipara. It was inspected and found to be a nicely shaped hull, ideal for a project that a local man wanted to undertake.

It was trucked to Robertson Boats so the restoration could get started. The job started with the restoration of the hull. Its construction was three skins of planking over bilge stringers and the aim was to make it structurally sound using some modern methods so it can attain survey and reduce the need for maintenance in the future. The first step was to remove the caulking from all the seams.

Next the bad areas of planking were replaced along with any lazy fastenings and some of the planks were refastened to the frames as they had come loose. With that done it was back to the seams. Instead of caulking them again it was decided to hard fill them with epoxy glue and spline them in some places.

Now the hull was injected with epoxy resin to stabilise it, filling the voids between the three skins. The hull was then locked up inside and out by sheathing the exterior in tri-axle fibreglass and epoxy resining the inside. New bulkheads and structurals were made and installed. With the hull up to speed attention was turned to the construction of the rest of the boat.

New decks were constructed and a cabin was designed and built from New Zealand kauri and teak. The owner had restored the steam engine and built a new boiler which was installed. The interior was designed and built to be an open plan layout with a separate bathroom and toilet suitable for taking cruises down the river. Coal bunkers were also constructed and they were loaded through hatches in the cabin top. With all the internal construction complete the boat could now be painted.

The exterior was painted in traditional colours, the wood work varnished and then the deck gear was fitted. Next the interior was painted, the wood work varnished and then it was fitted out. Lastly the hull was antifouled and the drive line installed. The boat was launched. The traditional theme and style desired had been achieved in a high quality finish.

The steam engine was fired up and the boat was taken for a sea trial. Everything worked perfectly and it started its service taking cruises on the river right away.