A retired Arbroath boat builder has been reunited with a converted fishing boat he helped to build nearly 50 years ago.
Harry Simpson, 68, former owner of MacKay Boat Builders, welcomed the Nova Spero into the town’s marina on Monday afternoon.
The vessel, built in 1972, has since been turned into a luxury passenger ship, which overcame difficult conditions to berth in the marina on its way to the Forth.
The crew and passengers stopped off in Angus after strong winds trapped them in Peterhead on Sunday.
Harry, who waited at the harbour to welcome the ship home, was only an apprentice when he helped construct the vessel.
He said: “It was built as a wooden fishing boat. I was just a young laddie.
“I did everything from laying the keel, the planking, the frames, the lofting, then to the fitting out. I was involved in all the bits and pieces, everything. That’s how I learned my trade.”
He said JW Miller, from St Monans in Fife, was responsible for the design, which has stood the test of time.
“It’s interesting to see how it looks nowadays. A lot of the fishing boats were decommissioned and cut up,” he said.
“It’s nice to see the traditional style boat coming back into the harbour and being used for something else.
“At the time [of building it] we didn’t think we’d ever see this. I suppose that’s what’s happening nowadays – people are buying old boats and converting them into house boats.”
In the wheelhouse was John MacInnes, 59. He and his crew of three run luxury cruises around Scotland, and sometimes further afield, for up to 11 guests.
He said a huge amount of work had gone into transforming the Nova Spero from a commercial fishing boat into a pleasure vessel.
He said: “We pretty much kept the original fishing boat design on the outside, the shelter deck is still on, though we’ve modified some things.
“It was five years to get the basics up again and then six to eight months to put the accommodation in to a very high standard.
“It’s not been such a good year for us this year but we are definitely looking forward to taking this to Arbroath and hopefully things will pick up from there.”
He would not be drawn on how much the renovation had cost to complete but insisted the labour of love had been worth every penny.
“I wouldn’t like to say. It’s between myself and the shipyard,” he said.
“Let’s put it this way. It’ll be a little while before I complete paying for it.
“It’s been worth it, though, especially when people see her. It’s certainly justified putting that investment in,” he added.