Blackwood Classics

Name Badge News

Replacement badges

I have considered the quotes provided for replacement Birchwood name badges for our boats.

The lowest price is an ABS plastic badge to be made by Car Badge UK. The quality is excellent. For 100 units it will be £15 each (including the set-up charge) VAT and P&P will be extra. These will be self adhesive, as on many cars.  

The price for a matching aluminium badge is between £65 and £161 each! The high cost is down to the origination and tooling costs.

Before I order a quantity of the ABS badges I will require payment up front per two off. That is, they will be sold in pairs.  (This is necessary to cover the supplier's pro-forma invoice.) 

Please let me know if you are interested and, if sufficient orders are placed, I will provide bank details for payment and then advise on a delivery date.


News at 9 March 2019

Motor Boat Owner

The March issue has a lot of Birchwood content. There's a page on Birchwood's relaunch. Its Classic Cruiser Guide has twelve pages on the Birchwood TS31. There's also four pages describing the conversion of a Birchwood 33 hardtop to a soft-top convertible. For your copy go to:  

Commodore 31

Associate editor, Claire Frew asked us to find a Commodore 31 for her 'Classic Cruisers' article but we only have one in our register.   She therefore decided to cover the Birchwood TS31 and mentioned the 31 within this article.  Hopefully the owners of 'Lynnie' will register with us. 

Do you have a 31? Please send your details to:

Birchwood 33 convertible

Richard Orton provided information  

to Motor Boat Owner on the conversion on his boat 'Seaward' which enables him and his wife Jeannie to cruise up to Lechlade on the River Thames. It would be good to have them register with Birchwood Classics.

Buy a share in Birchwood

In the same issue, Birchwood's Chairman and managing director, Ernie Vick, told Motor Boat Owner of its plans. A video presentation by Birchwood can be seen at:

To register interest and a gain a share go to: Contributions are from £10.

Also see April issue of MBY, p14 and the latest 'Marine Industry News'. 

Birchwood name badge

See Name Badge News above.    


 We are building a register of all Birchwood Boats. Thank you to those who have provided details. Eventually we will include a Forum on this site. (In the meantime se the Q&A section below.) If you have not registered please send your name and contact details together with your boat type and name, and where you moor and cruise to:  

Questions & Answers


Put your query here

 I will put owners queries here and then add any response as it arrives.  

(The picture of the engine has no relevance to the queries on this page. It's a Sea Tiger in a Birchwood 25)

Volvo Penta MD21

Jeff Milan has a Birchwood Commodore 31, built in 1983. It has two Volvo Penta MD21 engines that appear to have two telltales for the water out on each side of the boat as well as the exhausts at the stern of the boat. When he has people  on board the exhausts and telltales are under water. He wants to know if this is normal? He is considering moving the telltales above the water line ? 

Have you any experience with this? Can you advise Jeff? Please send your reply to: and Jeff will be advised and your response published here.

Watermota Sea Panther

Andy Wilson has carried out a mass of refurb on his Birchwood 25. He asks if anyone has knowledge of the Watermota Sea Panther (diesel) engine. He says that when he bought the boat it had the blue engine installed (according to Stephenson Marine that's the older one) and it was a bit smokey (blueish smoke rather than black diesel) and tended to burn through its oil.  He was going to do a top overall of it but then had the opportunity to pick up a fully refurbished Red Watermota Sea Panther so decided it was just as simple to swap the complete engine/gearbox unit.  However, the new engine (he’s used it for one full season) appears to smoke as much/or more than the old one and is especially smoky when it starts from cold.  He’s tried different grades of oil, fuel additives and had the CAV Pump and injectors fully overhauled but it's still smoky. Andy wonders if this is just a feature of old technology?  

Have you any experience with this? Can you advise Andy? Please send your reply to: and Andy will be advised and your response published here. 

Replacement doors

Kim Nielsen is the proud owner of a Birchwood 49 Challenger from 1995. 

The doors on his boat are getting heavy and he wants advice on how to refurbish them.  

Send your reply to : and we'll publish the answer.

Mercedes OM636 engine

 Walter A Reed has a Birchwood 29 Sedan on the River Shannon. It was built in 1999 and is fitted with a Mercedes OM636 engine. He has a problem with overheating. After clearing out all the pipes and fitting a new impellor he has been unable to sort out this problem even with advice from marine engineers. Can you help?  

Do you have a query?

 Send it to: and we'll try to provide an answer.   

Custom built Birchwood

for Victor Borge


In 1989 a Birchwood was custom built for the famous piano player comedian Victor Borge. A TS54 was modified and extended with a larger swim platform - making her 61ft LOA.

Aft deck


The spacious teakwood aft deck has access to the engine room and flybridge. 

The lavish interior is entered through double sliding glass doors into the main deck salon.

Salon with bar


The Salon has a leather sofa, a low glass table, a stand-behind bar with stools and storage cabinets. In the pic the lower helm is in front of the interior stairs to the flybridge.   

Galley & Laundry


From the lower helm, a few steps lead to a galley with a four burner stove, three basin sink, microwave oven and frige/freezer. There's also a laundry - with washer and dryer.

Master Stateroom


The Master Stateroom is forward and has a Queen berth, sitting area, two closets, drawers, and en-suite head with shower-tub & vanity. 

 Crew quarters include berths, head and sink.  

Two Guest Staterooms


 Aft from the galley, are two guest cabins with en-suite heads and showers, closets and storage space. One has double lower berth and single upper. The other has twin berths. 

5 February 2019


Borge's Birchwood

The information and pictures on Victor Borge's custom built Birchwood   

were kindly provided by Frank Virgintino of Minneford Marina on City Island, NY. It is on brokerage with him for $229,000.


Birchwood Life

Michael Bean provided anectdotes of his time with Birchwood and also a selection of pictures and printed matter. These included brochures on the 460 Flybridge, the 510 Sportsbridge and the Continental.  

Copies of the brochures and Birchwood Life Vol 2 No1 from Jan 1982, are available as pdf files on request to: 

Mick had worked at Birchwood in Huthwaite for over 30 years. He worked on most of the Birchwood range. Thanks to him for his ongoing input. If anyone has information or knowledge (or updates or amendments) they would like to share please contact me and I will be pleased to record it in the Birchwood history file. 


Birchwood Boats and other Classic Cruisers

Other cruisers?


Whatever type of cruiser you have it is hoped that the info on this site will be useful to you.   Let us know if there is a subject you would like covered. If we don't have it, we'll do our best to obtain info and publish it here. 

For ALL Motor Boat Owners


There is a free digital magazine which covers all aspects of ownership of motor boats. It includes articles on new boats and accessories as well as projects on all types of classic cruisers. Sign up at:  

Your story


The work you have done, or had done, on your boat is of interest and use to other boaters. This site can tell them about your project. 

Please send info and pics. 

Above is helm and saloon in a Birchwood 48.

Welcome to Birchwood Classics . . . March 2019


Birchwood Classics and Classic Cruisers

This website not only provides information to owners and admirers of Birchwood boats but also to owners of similar classic cruisers. Leaflets showing the Birchwood boats built over the years can be downloaded from the last page of this site.  

The site is constantly added to and updated to provide useful information, owner's images and case studies. These include renovations, updates and problem solving. At present there are no paid for advertisements on this site. The  products and companies mentioned are for boater's information and use.   


John Pridmore  has owned his 1979 Birchwood 25 with his family for over 26 years. His boat is named 'Wild Garlic' and, as you can see in the caricature on the opening page, time on it is enjoyed by family and friends. The picture is of Wild Garlic at a Bedford River Festival. 

John published the Birchwood Classics Newsletters in the late 90's. These were developed through the good graces of the boating media, Birchwood Marine International, Alex McMullen of MBM, and owners and boating enthusiasts who provided information and support. 

John has original source material some gained from his visit to the factory in Huthwaite, Sutton in Ashfield and subsequent meetings and discussions over the years with the different owners of the Birchwood Boat companies. Also with experienced staff at marinas, brokers and chandlers. He is in regular contact with the present owners of Birchwood.   

John was editor of GOBA News, the magazine of the Great Ouse Boating Association, when he won its first awards. He still contributes articles. He regularly contributed to MBM, and Anglia Afloat. He exchanges information  with, and recommends, the online magazine, 

Birchwood history & Marques

The Birchwood company has had a turbulent time and a variety of names. The original company was called the Birchwood Boat Co. The name came from the house where founder Ted Andrews built his first boat. (More 'history' can be downloaded from the last page of this site.) 

Boats that came later included:

Birchwood 22's - originally called the Interceptor Junior - approx 1,000 built 1970 to 1980.

The Birchwood Interceptor, renamed the Birchwood 25 in 1975, 1,500 built 1968 to 1980. 

Birchwood 27 Countess, 100 between 1980 and 1984.

Birchwood 29 Senator or Sedan, over 200 built between 1976 and 1983.

Birchwood 31 Commodore, nearly 100 between 1981 and 1984. 

Birchwood 33/GT33 (later called Viceroy) was originally known as the Newport 33 built by Marine & Industrial Mouldings in Newport Pagnell. It was later bought by Birchwood in 1972. 

Through the 70's Birchwood built the bare hull and superstructure of the GT33 for completion by other boatyards or individuals. At the  1973 London Boat Show they launched the Birchwood 33 Series II.

The Birchwood Sportsman 33 with aft cockpit and flybridge was introduced in 1976. The Birchwood Viceroy 33 succeeded this in 1980. Same hull but different superstructure and layout. Over 300 33's were built from 1973 to 1982.

Birchwood 35S/Sportsman 35 was introduced in 1978. This was a stretched version of the 33. The Sportsman 35 has a flying bridge.

Birchwood 37 President, 60 built between 1981 and 1984. It was superseded by the TS37. (If you have any info on this please forward it through the link below.)

Birchwood Regent 48. 20 built. One of them, 'Travel Blue' was taken to Ireland in the early 90's and was used for skippered cruises on the Shannon. Its new owners shipped it back to a moooring on the River Trent not far from its birth place!  Pics and info will be published later in the year. 

(References: Alex McMullen, Birchwood Marine International, MBM, Jones Boatyard.)

(Later models can be found on leaflets on the download page.) 

Useful Contacts


Useful contacts

The information exchange between Birchwood Marine International Ltd and Birchwood Classics is ongoing. For info on new Birchwood Boats and the company's future plans go to the above website. 



W H Jones is the largest marina on the river Great Ouse. It has moorings, fuel, chandlery, brokerage, and generations of knowledge.

The Great Ouse Boating Association represents boaters on the Great Ouse. Membership gives access to its moorings and its magazine.

Sheridan supplies parts for WaterMota Petrol Engines and J-Type Gearboxes. Also provides parts for classic boating brands.  

   "A bad day on the water is better than a good day in the office."

Case stories - also see the Downloads

Window leaks


There have been enquiries regarding ingress of water through windows. On Wild Garlic we scraped out ALL the old sealant on the front and front side windows with a Stanley blade and then replaced this - on a dry day - with new clear sealant. It took two attempts and pressure to ensure the sealant was squeezed between the window and frame.

Also see the Case Study download which details how one owner fixed various leaks on his Birchwood 33 - whilst renovating the whole boat. It also describes and shows how he fixed the damage caused by water ingress.  

Roof Cover


The final cover is now in place on Wild Garlic and looks good, as you can see above. 

If your roof leaks this cover will provide one solution. Further information is available from the supplier. Steve Johnson of Titan Canopies will be pleased to talk the details through with you and, with all the measuring and design work done, he should be able to offer you a special deal. Tel: 07463 643356


The technology used to make boat canopies is described in a leaflet you can Download. See last page.

Birchwood 29 - renovation


Garry and Rosemary Mills own a Birchwood 29 Sedan Sport which they have re-fitted to an exemplary standard producing one of the best looking boats on our waterways.

In 2013 they found an empty hull in a yard in Christchurch. The boat had been stripped bare by two marine engineers who had planned a project – which never happened! 

Garry and Rosemary's renovation project is detailed on a pdf Download on the last page. It includes what they did and where they obtained support and parts.

Cooker Replacement


When Silvia & Ewan Siret bought a Birchwood 25 they wanted to replace the cooker unit. I provided the info in the download below. If you have advice on this subject let me know.

We replaced the oven on Wild Garlic about 8 years ago as it did not pass the Safety exam. We bought a Nelson Marine Cooker, shown in the pic above.  (Further details in the Download at the end of the website.)

Engine Overheating


Wild Garlic's Sea Tiger engine was overheating.  Sea cock filter was clear, the impeller was changed and a  thermostat inserted (on advice of a marine engineer), 

My son-in-law, an ace mechanic, suggested blowing high pressure air through the cooling system to remove any cr&$$. He also removed the thermostat - there hadn't been one in the system for 26 years! It worked. 

See Download updated 7 August 2018.     

Your story or question


The above is the forward cabin of a Birchwood 33. The project of Simon of BoatShift can be downloaded, see below.   

Do you have a story that will be of interest to fellow boat owners?  Do you have a problem to which other owners may have the answer?  Can you provide updates to info on this site? 

We can include info as it arrives and, hopefully, we will all benefit from case studies and the answers to problems.   

Mary Rose and me


I helped Mary Rose off her bottom

FOR many people the raising of the Mary Rose off Southsea, Portsmouth on October 11, 1982 remains a defining moment. It was for me, my family and my friends. 

The recovery of the Tudor warship was not just a major event in marine archaeology but provided a tangible link with one of the most colourful eras in Britain’s past. It still does.

Recently individual skeletons found on the ship have been analysed and some amazing facts have been discovered about people in the Tudor period. Visit the Mary Rose to see what has been found.  Info at: 



The Prince's parchment

 During my first week as publicity manager at Atlas Copco I had to represent the company at a meeting of The Mary Rose Trust.  This was the first of many meetings. Some were held at the Whitbread Old Brewery off Old Street and some in Portsmouth. I met most of the team including archaeological director, Margaret Rule and talked with many of the divers on site.  

HRH The Prince of Wales was president of The Mary Rose Trust.  I was to be presented to Prince Charles on the day of the raising. I couldn’t be there as I was with editors of technical media at Southsea Castle. I was pleased to receive a parchment signed by HRH thanking me for my contribution. 

Juliette and I are Patrons of the Mary Rose.  Download the full story. 


Treasure Trove?

At the Trust’s premises in Portsmouth I saw and held many of the artefacts. This included coins, combs, cannon, cannon balls, long bows and arrows as well as the surgical barber’s medical instruments. I also saw skeletal remains of seamen and archers from 450 years ago! 

The Trust has an ongoing commitment to the wreck site where the Mary Rose lay and the continuing conservation of the hull and the thousands of artefacts recovered with her. There are many ways you can supports it – from becoming a member or Flag Officer to making a donation or volunteering. With your help, we can make sure this glorious ship can continue to be displayed for generations to come. For details go to the website:  Thank you. 


Copies of some Birchwood Classics Newsletters 1 - 6 can be ordered through the email address above. 

Case Studies and other interesting facts are in the Downloads . 

John's credentials and some of the Pridmore's boating history are available on request.

Contact details

If you want more info or have any comment about this website please fill in this form.

You can also register your boat and your interest, send your info, pics and any queries to:

Birchwood Classics

38 Bramley Drive, Offord D'Arcy, St Neots, Cambridgeshire PE19 5SF, GB

Mobile No: +44 (0) 7734049870