A RENOWNED boatbuilder in Mylor has restored a classic sailing yacht for a well-known sailor's round-the-world adventure.

When Classic Boat magazine’s 2018 Yachtsman of the Year, Max Campbell, fell for a classic Swan sailing yacht in need of some of some serious TLC, there was only one place to restore her – at stepfather, Dave Cockwell’s Mylor Creek Boatyard.

As soon as Max returned to Falmouth after his single-handed Atlantic crossing in the 22ft wooden sloop, Flying Cloud, in 2016, he began to plan his next voyage, to sail around the world.

The only problem was that Flying Cloud was too small. Max had pushed her to her limits and he needed a more capable vessel.

Languishing at the head of a Cornish creek following the passing of her long-time owner, and covered in moss and leaves, lay a memory of the yacht – Elixir – who had sailed the Atlantic circuit and rounded Cape Horn in its heyday.

Max said: “With her gel coat cracked by 49 years of sunshine, rotten teak toe-rails, crumbling winches and bent stanchions, there was certainly a lot of work to be done, but as soon as I saw Elixir, I knew instantly that she was the boat that would take me and my friends around the world."

Those friends with absolutely no experience of boat restoration learned more and more from Cockwells’ artisan shipwrights as Elixir was stripped back to her hull and rebuilt, piece by piece.

Under the banner of Un-tide, Max and his fellow ocean activists aim to document their voyage through photography, film and writing, using Elixir to guide them through a changed planet – with its warmed oceans, discarded plastic and communities at the mercy of rising waters – ‘un-tide’ from the rigmarole of traditional travel, immovable plans and endless expenses, and without the carbon footprint.

Max said: “If you are really passionate about a dream, you will do completely irrational things to make it happen.

“Passion provoked me to work excessively long hours without a second thought, to figure things out and learn so much that I didn’t know from some of the best craftsmen in the boatbuilding business. It was a massive curve for all of us.”

Dave Cockwell was one such mentor who not only acted as consultant to the restoration project but also agreed to co-own Elixir in return for Max’s time and a chance to visit her in far-flung destinations – a spot of island-hopping in the Caribbean or searching for paradise in the South Pacific, perhaps.

“Everything I know about building and maintaining boats, I’ve learned from him,” said Max.

“I invest time. He invests craftsmanship and materials. We both get to go sailing.”

Elixir has been restored to her original condition, but quirks of modern-day innovation have been added to the mix.

The team glassed in some carbon fibre to the old rudder; windows have been replaced with polycarbonate glass, and an electric windlass has been fitted. Cutting-edge CNC techniques have been just as useful as archaic polishing machines that run on compressed air to refurbish and recreate deck fittings.

Max said: “One of the most rewarding things about this restoration journey is how me and my friends, who are photographers, environmentalists and outdoorsy-types, have worked so closely with Cockwells’ boatbuilding apprentices and traditional craftsmen to breathe life back into Elixir, and prepare her for an adventure of a lifetime.

“On the morning of January 20, the long-awaited day of departure dawned. We waved goodbye to our families and friends as they stood on the frosty pier at Port Pendennis, and sailed into the low winter sun, bound for Cape Finisterre. We are now on our way to cross oceans and navigate the planet.”

To follow Elixir’s progress and for further information about Un-tide, visit https://un-tide.com/ and follow @un.tide on Instagram, @un_tide on Twitter and @untide on Facebook.