Saving Floss – a lesson in how to repair a shipwreck

Fixing Floss, a story in photos…

On 5th October, 2019 we bought Floss from a private seller in San Antonio bay, Ibiza. She’s a Catalac 9m, small fibreglass catamaran, built in 1983 in Christchurch, UK. She lived in Poole harbour for many years before being sailed to Greece, where the previous owners bought her and moved her to Ibiza.

Floss was Dom’s dream boat… just about. A catamaran slightly larger than the Diamond 24 we co-own with some friends in Scotland, with just enough space for a family of 4 to live on in relative comfort, and fitting within our ‘non luxury boat owner’ price-range.

As a 36 year old boat, she was in need of some renovations, which the previous owners were part-way through. However, after she was torn from her mooring and wrecked on the beach during a week of storms in Ibiza just four weeks after we bought her, she was in need of a whole lot more.

A story that would break our hearts, break our bank accounts, and almost break our family apart…



Floss’s first sail… San Antonio to Cala Salada, at sunset. October 2019
Sunset over Conejera island
Finn Learning to row the dinghy with Lily-dog helping him and Ben photo-bombing! San Antonio Bay. Even in the first week of owning Floss she was already enriching our lives.


I (Alex) leave for the UK for two weeks to look after my mother as she had a knee operation. Dom stayed in Ibiza to look after the kids, dog and boat… Strong winds were forecast and as I shut the garden gate behind me I suggested getting Floss into a marina for the week just in case. Dom said he’d think about it but it would be hard on his own and with the kids in tow, and in the end decided against it as the mooring block she was on was sound. A decision that we immediately came to regret.

The wind blew strong from the West tearing right through San Antonio bay for 7 days, whipping up 4m waves and Floss bounced around on her mooring with the other boats in the bay. Dom managed to get out to her to secure some extra mooring lines in the dinghy of a neighbour’s boat, braving the storm, but the very next day she was found washed up on the beach along with several other boats from the bay. The constant movement of the waves had ripped three mooring cleats from the deck, and she dragged anchor onto the beach, unfortunately via some rocks…

Floss on the beach, a scuba team attempting (and failing) to float her into the marina, 8th November 2019
High and dry. Phase one of boat salvage complete – Floss is moved up the beach out of the water…

After much searching, and two weeks sleeping aboard a shipwreck to protect it from opportunistic thieves, Dom found a ‘grua’ company who could move Floss to a boatyard. It was no easy feat as being a catamaran she was wider than the tow-truck and would require a police escort.

The kids enjoy watching the crane moving the boat
Planning how to lift her
Is it a bird…? Is it a plane…??
One hull gutted like a giant fish, entrails hanging out… 🙁
Once she was on the trailer we could really assess the damage. Unfortunately the process of moving her had enlarged the hole.
Arriving at the boat yard…
Removing a tonne of sand from the hull, and one large stone…


We began the repair work ourselves, however the boat-yard stipulated that we must have an experienced fibreglass expert repair the hull and all their team were fully booked til Spring. So we asked around found a fibreglass engineer on the island who could work with us, fitting us in in his spare time as he loved that we were repairing an old boat to live on as our home. And then the work began in earnest…

Both hulls, the good and the bad, were cleaned back and prepared.
The jagged edges were cut away to prepare for a new fibreglass hull to be layered up from the inside out
A cast was taken of the good hull and the applied over the hole, and a new layer of fibreglass created

Building up layers of fibre to create a mould of the good side
Marking up the mould
Cleaning up the holey side ready for the mould

Cutting away the floor inside to access the area needing fibreglassing
Putting the mould on wheels to move it over
The mould is bolted on
The fibreglass was layered up from the inside to create a new hull, and then the mould was removed
No more hole!

Cleaning inside
Repairing the cut-away floors


An old boat that has been wrecked doesn’t just need the hole repairing, there were also electrics and many other jobs to do.


Repairing the old rudders
Cleaning and sanding the hulls to prepare for copper-coat anti-fouling
Testing the batteries
Replacing the broken cleats
Cleaning the water tanks
Re-installing the solar panels after their frame was broken by the crane, and one panel was stolen whilst the boat was stuck on the beach.
The plastic work tent used to contain the fibreglass dust comes down.
More work on the electrics – the boat was completely rewired
The boat was also completely re-plumbed
More work on the inside of the new hull
Smoothing of the new hull and preparation for copper-coat
Waste pipes go in.
The copper-coat is applied
Ain’t she pretty!
Ready for launch… 🙂

JULY 2020

On the 7th of July Floss was relaunched from Ibiza town harbour, and we sailed all night in light winds, and by the light of the full moon, round to San Antonio bay to pick up a mooring not so far away from the one she’d been torn from the Autumn before. Only this time we would not be taking any more chances with storms…

Floss, San Antonio bay, July 2020

Ibiza by Boat

Floss – the story so far…

We bought Floss, a nine metre Catalac catamaran, in the Autumn last year and two weeks after buying her strong winds tore her from the mooring and left her washed up on a beach nearby with one hull gauged open from bow to stern, looking very much like she’d been attacked by a giant tin opener. The Winter flew by, the weeks marked by our sweat, blood and tears (and euros) fixing her. Then further delayed by strict Spanish covid-19 quarantine laws, we finally relaunched Floss the first week in July 2020.

As I sit aboard Floss typing this, surrounded by half finished projects on the boat, it is very hard to believe that we have have been living aboard as a family for two months now. In some ways I was expecting to be more advanced with our non-essential boat repairs as well as our travels, but in other ways I wake every morning simply amazed and grateful that we are even here at all.

The weather this Summer has been distractingly balmy and the waters a divinely inviting crystal clear blue, Ibiza tunes drifting by on the breeze off the beach… Where I sit right now, Es Vedra – a large magnetic rock – rising majestically out of the sea, guarding the entrance to Cala D’Hort bay, and I have to confess that it is really hard to get any work done. I have over a 1000 photos and videos to share with you and countless adventures and stories to tell which I will endeavour to do so as I steadily get used to our new rhythm of life on the sea.

But for now, here are some photos of where we are right now to keep you going…

         To help paint the scene, Dom is working, the boys are off sailing on a friend’s proa and the (wet) dog is curled up by my feet having just got in from her third swim of the day, it’s 6pm and 28 degrees with a gentle breeze and we are anchored in the midst of around 20 other boats in the magical Cala D’Hort, situated on the south west corner of Ibiza.

Es Vedra
Vedra by moonlight