Breda is an original Dunkirk Little Ship that took part in the evacuation of Allied soldiers during the Second World War. The evacuation was codenamed Operation Dynamo and it involved a number of boats being commandeered by the British Military for the purpose of bringing soldiers back across the English Channel from Dunkirk. Many of the boats were painted battleship grey and had a gun turret mounted on the fore deck.
The photos in this gallery are of Breda after she had been painstakingly restored and renovated by her latest owner Alain Lamens, and were taken at the TRAD Boat festival in Henley-on-Thames where Breda won, amongst other trophies, the Best In Show category. I managed to get a quick portrait of Alain and Michael on deck with all their trophies. You can see some other photos of the TRAD festival in this gallery of images.
Whilst I was onboard Breda taking photographs of the details of the boat, Lady McAlpine, the co-chairman of the festival said she’d never really wanted a boat but she would definitely have this one.
Breda was restored at Dennett’s Boatyard in Surrey, a restoration that took over two years, and Alain funded it by selling his house!
The boat is beautifully treated with 12 coats of varnish and I had to tread carefully when moving around with my camera, and I even left my Billingham camera bag onshore so as not to catch the wood with any of the buckles or carabiner hooks that I use for clipping things to like my water bottle.
One of the biggest problems I faced photographing the interior was that the wood varnish was so glossy that it reflected everything - fortunately I was wearing a rust brown coloured top which blended in with the colour of the wood quite well. There was also plenty of chrome which acted like a mirror and presented plenty of problems trying to avoid reflections.
Despite all the challenges the end result looks great.