Project Brupeg: When Will Jess and Damien Be Finished? (2023)

Everything You Always Wanted To Know

Joshua Smith

Founder and Editor at Cruising Freedom

This is the definitive guide on Project Brupeg for 2023.

Over the last few years, I have spent so many hours watching and researching everything I could about Project Brupeg to learn more about their story. And of course, watch their epic restoration project.

Yes, I really am *that* obsessed with my fellow Australians, Damien and Jess 😃 It truly is a mammoth project!

Plus, I live reasonably close to where they’re working on the boat.

So if you wanted to know:

➜ How Project Brupeg afforded their boat

➜ How they make their money today

➜ When they will launch the trawler

➜ How you can start crossing oceans

Then you’ve definitely come to the right place.

Before we start, a quick introduction from me…

The Cruising Freedom Author

Ahoy, Matey! I’m Joshua from Australia.

I’ve built the perfect business to sail the world.

A business model which can allow me to:

➜ Own a catamaran debt-free

➜ Go for weeks without WIFI

➜ Create semi-passive income

➜ Inspire others to dream big

But more on that later… 🙂

Project Brupeg FAQs (May 2023)

Boat Name

M/V Brupeg

The name ‘Brupeg’ comes from the names of the original owners, Bruce and Peggy. They originally built it as a prawl trawler.

Crew Members

Damien Ashdown (age 40)

Jessica Ashdown (age 41)

Both are from New Zealand with Damien having a background in mechanics and engine reconditioning.

Snoop is the name of their dog who sadly passed away in early 2023. He is sadly missed by many fans, including myself. They now have a cat, known simply as Baby Cat.

Their friend Michael Nelson sometimes helps out with the project, plus an additional crew member who help to do small jobs along the way.

Carlos is their newest crew member to join. He came all the way from Hawaii to cook, clean and help finish off Brupeg!

The Boat

Brupeg was a custom-built fishing trawler that served the town of Bundaberg and beyond.

It sank during the Burnett River floods of 2013 near Bundaberg. This is the same flood that affected Brisbane and parts of the Sunshine Coast.

It was almost a year later that Damien and Jess came across this boat that was ready for salvage, and it was love at first sight!

They’ll eventually use this as a non-for-profit expedition boat for diving, surfing and spearfishing. Additionally, they’ll be heading into colder climates and pushing through ice.

The best part? You too may have an opportunity to join them on the vessel.

And interestingly, despite the size of their vessel, it’ll only have 2 small bedrooms.


There are a ton of upgrades to be done. Some of their notable specs include:

➜ 27,000+ liters of fuel across 10 tanks

➜ Able to run on vegetable oil

➜ Dedicated media room for editing documentaries

➜ A 350hp engine that can burn up to 63L per hour (crazy!)

➜ Ice plating steel that’s 8mm thick

This project is definitely costing them a small fortune, but it’s worth it.


Their boatyard is in Burnett Heads near Bundaberg, Queensland. I’ve chosen to keep the details private to protect their privacy, although you can often figure it out with their drone footage.

This is one of their more recent episodes:

Affording It

How are they able to keep this project alive? Do they get funding?

Without kids, they saved hard over the years and invested wisely. They have gone ‘all in’ on this project by having a cheap car and keeping their household expenses low.

It should be noted that they still work full-time jobs and work on the boat after hours and on weekends.

Net Worth

The crew from Project Brupeg are worth $325,000 Australian dollars. Most of their money is in their boat.

And much of their gear has come from donations along the way!

Making Loot

In addition to their full-time jobs, I would estimate that they make around $4,100/month by creating videos, and this is done through:

➜ Allowing YouTube ads on their channel

➜ Patreon subscriptions and PayPal donations

➜ Selling their own Brupeg merchandise

They’re not really doing this for the money though. Probably 200% of what they make goes back into the trawler restoration project. That is to say that they’re putting way more into the boat than what they receive in donations.

Unlike other glamorous YouTubers where you’re funding their beer, rum and bikini budget, your money is going to an excellent project by a couple that works bloody hard.

And once they’re up and running, their boat is designed to be for research purposes with a volunteer crew.

Ultimately, Project Brupeg is a not-for-profit mission.


Over the last 4 years, I haven’t seen them collab with any other popular YouTubers.

However, there are some channels that are as dedicated as them.

If you’re into massive boat restoration projects, then check out:

Odd Life Crafting

S/V Seeker

The earlier episodes of Sailing Uma are excellent too if you’re looking for a smaller boat project.

Big Moments

Things haven’t been easy over these last 4 years, but they have persisted against all odds.

Notable incidents include:

➜ Discovering rust inside their main engine

➜ Damian had Appendix surgery

➜ The front fell off their boat

➜ Jess is temporary with some knee problems

➜ The tragic loss of their dog

Once they do get cruising, they’ll realize the risks were worth it.

Future Plans

Where will they travel? It’s most likely that they’ll go around the world as they have long-range cruising potential.

And while they don’t have sail power, vegetable oil is pretty affordable. I recall Damien saying it’ll cost around $7,000 to fill the tank compared to $40k in diesel.

Key Takeaways

What can we learn from this awesome Kiwi couple?

➜ Hard work really does pay off in the long run

➜ Find a partner who supports your dreams

➜ Plan ahead for the future, starting today

➜ Start working on your own freedom goals

And of course, don’t worry about the lazy folks!


Jess and Damien are certainly one ambitious couple.

The launch date of Project Brupeg is likely to be in November or December of 2023. This is a year late from their initial launch estimation.

Even after launch, there will be 2 to 3 months of additional preparation to ensure they’ll never need to return to the boatyard anytime soon!

Until then, I’m watching with glee. They’re certainly committed and willing to do what 99.9% of people won’t.

For them, this will be the ultimate freedom machine!

In their own words:

This is a story about ingenuity, perseverance, hard work and amazing friends and family helping along the way. Thank you, your support has all been unbelievable!

Even though we recognize the enormity of the challenge we want to see some of the most remote places on the planet and we want to share those experiences with others, so we hope you’ll join us.

Simply powerful.

Create Your Own Cruising Freedom

Hey! 😃 it’s Joshua again…

I’ve been very inspired by Project Brupeg and their epic boat build!

Some say I’m obsessed, but sailing the world is my childhood dream.

Soon they’ll be living the dream and have the freedom they deserve!

I mentioned earlier about discovering the #1 cruising business model.

With this exciting opportunity, I’ll be able to:

➜ Generate a sustainable full-time income through learning basic skills

➜ Fund the purchase of my first sailing catamaran without any loans

➜ Do it without selling to friends and family (I found a better solution!)

➜ Share my lifetime passion for sailing, cruising and global adventures

Keen to discover more? Jump on the free training right now. 👨🏻‍💻

(I share more about it on the next page…🙂)