Heritage Repowered

As an IT Manager, Dan Camilleri’s days are spent dealing with complex software programs and technology systems that would boggle the average mind. To escape the demands of the ever-changing IT world, Dan has spent the past few years restoring a 50-year-old fishing boat that has been in his family for three generations. His story first appeared as a Yamaha Day 2021 #unitedByYamaha short film. 


Boating and Information Technology have changed a lot over the past fifty years, especially during the past two decades, and it’s been an exciting time for Dan. “I started my IT career as a service desk officer when the Y2K Millennium Bug was the biggest thing in IT,” laughs Dan. “Back then, not many people had a work laptop; now, just about everybody has one.” 


Dan’s professional IT career started with the Yamaha brand a little over two decades ago, however, his Yamaha journey was kickstarted many years earlier on a Yamaha YZ85. Dan and his motocross machine spent many hours tearing up his parent’s farm. “I still ride motorcycles regularly,” explains Dan. “It helps me to disconnect from my day-to-day world of technology. When I’m on the bike, it’s just me and the machine; it’s a great feeling.”


While taking his Yamaha Ténéré 700 for a blast along a deserted dirt track is something Dan enjoys, his real passion is his 18-foot Seafarer fishing boat. “The boat was purchased brand new by my grandfather back in April 1970 from Hunts Marine,” reveals Dan pointing to the original Hunts Marine sticker still visible on the hull. “My grandfather and my father spent a lot of time out on this boat, mainly fishing around the Brooklyn area (NSW).” 



Dan Camilleri
The boat was purchased brand new by my grandfather back in April 1970 from Hunts Marine. My grandfather and my father spent a lot of time out on this boat

As the years of use started to be counted in decades, the aging boat began to spend less and less time in the water; eventually, it was placed in storage. The Seafarer’s on-water days were seemingly over. However, Dan always had a plan. “About three years ago, I took ownership of the boat with the view to giving it a new lease of life,” says Dan, explaining how he brought the old vessel back to life with a fusion of old boat build quality and 21st-century Yamaha outboard technology. “There was much more to it than just slapping an outboard motor to the transom and turning the key. We had to ensure the boat was seaworthy and complied with rules from 2020, not the 1970s.”


Having been in storage for many years, the hull required a lot of work, but Dan’s goal was always to keep the boat looking as original as possible, down to the original Hunts Marine sticker. While the boat is visually the same as when his grandfather skippered it on its first voyage in 1970, a massive amount of work has gone into bringing the boat up to 21st-century specifications. “All of the electricals were renewed in preparation for the new Yamaha powerplant, including digital gauges, navigation lights, new controls, and a bilge pump,” explains Dan. “I also added a canopy for a little extra comfort.” 



Dan Camilleri
About three years ago, I took ownership of the boat with the view to giving it a new lease of life

Putting the boat back on the water for the first time was an emotional experience for Dan. “Seeing the boat floating on the waters for the first time in many years brought back some great feelings and memories,” he reveals. “The plan was always to use it as a family boat with my wife, son and two daughters - a change from when my father and grandfather used it purely as a fishing boat.”


Safety remains Dan’s top priority with the refurbished boat. “There’s a huge responsibility associated with taking your family out on the water, especially in a restored 50-year-old boat. Having Yamaha power on the back is a huge weight off my mind from a safety and reliability aspect,” explains Dan. “Despite the 50-year age difference between the boat and the motor, the Yamaha F130 suits it really well. The four-stroke design is whisper quiet and super smooth – a massive change from the old two-stroke that once powered it.”


Dan said the feeling he gets when he’s out on the water is similar to when he rides his motorcycle, but with the added bonus of having his family with him to share the experience. “I think my Granddad would be very proud and happy about what we have achieved with his old boat,” Dan says. “It’s been a very rewarding experience.” 


Dan is now looking forward to a time when his son and daughters are old enough to obtain their boat licence, and a fourth generation can take on the role of skipper. “Maybe one day they will even be taking their kids out for a family outing, as long as I get an invite.”