Leading International Traditional and Classic Boat Sales
Established for nearly 50 years, Wooden Ships Classic boat brokerage is a leading specialist traditional yacht broker in the UK. We specialise in selling classic and traditional sailing and motor yachts throughout the UK, Europe and Internationally.
Father and son team Peter and Richard Gregson run the business from Dartmouth, Devon, and bring knowledge and experience from many different areas within the boating world. We like to think that if we don’t know the answer to your boating question, we certainly know someone who does!
Team Wooden Ships – Peter Gregson
A tough Scottish boarding school education followed by an Arts degree at St Andrew’s is an excellent start to dealing with most things in life. After a few years with an international tourist company, I came to sailing relatively late with the purchase in Ibiza of a 150-ton wooden Spanish trading schooner. I rigged and fitted her out in Dartmouth, worked the ship for a few years in film and TV before moving on to refitting a Le Havre pilot cutter, building a series of clinker dinghies and finally settling ashore to start a yacht brokerage in 1979.
Living by the Salcombe Estuary, our two boys, Richard and Marcus, grew up with boats and the water. Marcus joined the Royal Marines after a marine engineering degree in Falmouth. Richard took to the sea as he describes below and now brings his expertise and experience to join me in the Dartmouth boat sales business.
Meeting hundreds of boat owners over the past 30 years gives one a good insight into what people want from their boating activity. In addition, it enables one to guide newcomers to the sport and help experienced yachtsmen and women find the right boat.
Inspecting thousands of yachts, large and small, project and perfect and working with some wonderful craftsmen gives one a very clear idea of the strengths and weaknesses of traditional boats. Still, the people and some wonderful friendships give us the greatest satisfaction confirming the yacht broker’s motto – the two happiest days of a yachtsman’s life are the day he buys and the day he sells.
Team Wooden Ships – Richard Gregson
I am fortunate to be part of a boating family living in stunning South West England, where sailing is part of life. After growing up with the yacht brokerage in the family and surrounded by traditional boats of all shapes and sizes, at the age of 18, I was lucky enough to get a berth on ‘Activ’, a 140′ 3- masted wooden topgallant schooner. We sailed from the Canary Islands to Tobago via Cape Verde, followed by five months cruising the Islands around Trinidad and the north coast of Venezuela.
After leaving the ship, I went to Cardiff University and gained a Marine Geography degree. During that time, I had another period onboard Activ as mate to bring her back home from Nova Scotia to Denmark.
In the years after university, I spent time gaining sailing qualifications, including Yachtmaster Instructor, and doing several different jobs revolving around boats. I rebuilt a 10m classic offshore powerboat and worked alongside a superb shipwright doing all manner of boat repairs, engineering, paint and varnish jobs. In addition, I freelanced as an instructor for a sailing school, teaching practical and theory courses up to Yachtmaster level. During these years, I also worked as a commercial skipper onboard several offshore survey vessels and sailing vessels, clocking up valuable sea miles. This included stints as captain of the 118′ West country Trading Ketch Bessie Ellen and the 140′ schooner Activ.
In 2009 I skippered a 14m steel charter yacht from England to the Caribbean and back, taking in all the northern islands from Antigua to Cuba, which was fantastic fun and also a superb experience to take charge of my own vessel on two trans-Atlantic voyages, learning to manage the boat and, more importantly, the crew and guests.
2011 brought one of my most exciting adventures as mate aboard ‘Activ’ on an expedition to North-East Greenland to undertake scientific and artistic projects. You can see the story of this trip at www.ekspeditionen2011.dk. Since then I have skippered the West Country trading ketch Bessie Ellen during the charter season giving me useful experience in maintaining, handling and sailing these wonderful old boats. I like to get away to sea as much as possible, a little bit of salt air helps keep the mind sane and the body fresh!
These days I sail a Nordic Folkboat, Wilma. She was built in Sweden in 1956 and after purchasing her in 2018 I carried out a thorough refit. I sail now with my wife and two young girls, bringing up the next generation of Wooden Ships crew!
I have been working in Wooden Ships full time since 2012, learning more about boats and people every day. Hopefully in another 40 years time I will have some of the encyclopaedic knowledge my father Peter currently has!
Wooden Ships classic yachts brokers have an extensive database of boats for sale. With a wide range of sailboats, classic yachts, motor yachts and small classic boats, Wooden Ships has one of the largest selections of traditional wooden boats and yachts for sale in the UK.
Our goal is to help you find the boat that best suits your needs by providing impartial, expert advice. If you want to sell your classic boat we will advise the best course of action.