Tyler Wil­son has just started its own boat-fit­ting op­er­a­tion and Roci­nante is its first boat – so we found out how well shell build­ing has evolved into fit-outs

Canal Boat - - This Month -

Tyler Wil­son has just started its own boat­fit­ting busi­ness and the re­sult is a stylish and prac­ti­cal boat with plenty of head­room for its 6ft 5in owner

Anew name in boat fit­ting was launched at the Crick Show back in May, but in a pretty low key fash­ion – so low key, in fact, you might have missed it. At that stage, Fi­nesse Boats didn’t have a boat to show be­cause their first one wasn’t fin­ished. While Fi­nesse might be new, there are fa­mil­iar names be­hind it. The com­pany has grown out of Tyler Wil­son, one of the big­gest and best known names in the steel­work side of boat build­ing.

Re­cently, the firm has been do­ing a small amount of fit­ting-out, but on a rather ad hoc ba­sis; now that’s all been brought to­gether un­der the Fi­nesse name and the firm is be­ing run by the next gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily. Louis Wil­son is Jonathan Wil­son’s son, while Ricky Lee is his son-in-law. They’ve also brought in ex­per­tise from out­side with Ken and Ju­lia War­riner who ran Fern­wood for years be­fore re­tir­ing, as con­sul­tants.

Now the firm’s first boat, Roci­nante, is fin­ished and they’re off to a fly­ing start. There’s ab­so­lutely no sense that they’ve be­gun with some­thing sim­ple and straight­for­ward; in­stead, this is a boat that is very much be­spoke and shows off the firm’s skills in both de­sign and man­u­fac­ture.


As you might ex­pect, this boat is built on a Tyler Wil­son shell, and a very fine one at that. The first thing you no­tice is that it’s bright – very bright. The colour scheme of green with white coach lines and a white roof along with red pan­els at the stern re­ally stands out in a crowd. The paint­ing, which is sprayed us­ing a yacht paint, has been done in Tyler Wil­son’s huge and rel­a­tively new paint shed in Sh­effield.

Take a closer look and there’s an enor­mous amount to en­joy about this boat. It is a sheer­line Josher, so there’s a very pretty curvy bow and a lovely sweep­ing line along the side. The tra­di­tional look is em­pha­sised by riv­ets. But look closer and there’s more to see. The gun­wales are sharp rather than rolled, and pro­trude slightly to make it look as though they’re made of wood in the tra­di­tional way, rather than metal.

There’s a sim­i­lar story with the handrails which also pro­trude slightly to im­ply they’re wooden (but they do also have a fin­ger-grip on the in­side edge). There are re­cessed pan­els at the stern, car­ry­ing Andy Rus­sell sign-writ­ing. The tra­di­tional look is com­pleted with


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