To Europe’s best mo­tor boat mag­a­zine

Motorboat & Yachting - - Editorial -

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”

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