What a coincidence, Andre Beyers saw this photo on a Facebook group called Cape of DIAB which has the most unbelieveable old photos of the Cape.

Cape Town 1964

Within hours he had traced the owner and builder; a Charles Fensham of Stellenbosch. They had a cottage at Little Brak as well and used to ski behind this boat in the early 60's. His older brother figured out the Fensham connection as he used to ski with them, behind this very boat.

The white Mercury engine was only produced between 1959 and 1962. Story goes that while on holiday, the founder of Mercury saw oil stains on the white Mercury outboards he saw, so changed the colour to black on his return to the office.

Andre’s boat was restored from a very sorry state in 2017 by the writer.

Restoration of wooden rowboat

A full six month restoration involved repairing two holes in hull where she had made contact with a buoy off CapeTown, then taken back to wood, epoxied and fiberglassed, before fairing and spraying in vintage white.

The old deck was removed and a mahogony and spruce plywood veneer replacement deck, cut from the old templates in George, was epoxied onto the old frames, once made fair again. All the fittings were chromed in P.E. and a navigation light on bow and stern anchor light were fitted together with courtesy lights throughout. Four step plates, bought in the UK, were used strategically to cover deck joins. A new ‘eyebrow’ glass windscreen was cut and fitted. Bouyancy material and a sliding printers’ tray for various sized fishing sinkers and paraphernalia was installed. An hydraulic steering system was quite difficult to fit in the tight space allowed together with a new 50hp, 4 stroke Suzuki outboard, on a raised transom.

A new steering wheel and bracket and radio/tape deck were installed with speakers in the drivers footwell that had two secure areas for a cooler and a bait box. A new trailer was built and the Bouyancy Certificate was received. The new upholstery completed the boat with matching sunshade.

Andre’s boat was finished and first shown in 2017 and again at the 2019 Antique&Classic Boatshow. Here is an up-to-date photo of the boat on the Little Brak river, sporting her original oversized searchlight. The Thesen Industry badge is clearly visible on the new dashboard.

Restored wooden boat Thesen
Restored wooden Thesen boat