To Europe’s best motor boat magazine
A bit like kit cars of the 1980s, the majority of homebuilt boats fill me with a mixture of concern, fear and admiration. Concern because even the ones that do get finished often end up taking twice as long and costing four times as much as planned, fear because you never quite know how safe they are, and admiration because even the worst ones are so much better than I could ever manage to build myself.
I recall one spectacular story from my Motor Boats Monthly days about a very likeable chap who’d bought a bare 80ft hull up in Scotland, strapped a brace of outboard engines to it, cruised it down to Essex, then spent all of his life savings and most of his best years fitting it out as a sort of DIY superyacht. It was a magnificent effort which the owner was rightly chuffed by, and it certainly seemed solid enough, but I was never entirely convinced that the worlds of DIY and superyachts should ever have collided in the first place.
But every now and then, you stumble across a home-built boat that rightly takes your breath away. The 35ft motor yacht
Thea featured on p46 is such an example. Not only is she beautiful to look at and exquisitely finished, but she was built from the ground up by husband and wife team Tom and Lorraine Owen. And I don’t just mean that they fitted out a bare hull or even glued her together from a kit of templated parts. They started with a pile of seasoned wood and a pencil, designed her, constructed a shed to build her in, then hour by painstaking hour, pieced together their own vision of the perfect boat using all their experience, skill and a great deal of love.
Despite her costing a very reasonable £45,000 in materials and site rental, even they admit that the economics of it don’t stack up by the time you’ve taken into account the thousands of hours they’ve put into her build. But that’s hardly the point. Thea looks a million dollars, and the enjoyment she will bring them is priceless.
“They started with a pile of seasoned wood and hour by hour, pieced together their own perfect boat”