What rocks your boat?

Last month we wrote about Andrew Hartland’s quest to rebuild the burnt-out wreck of a 50ft power catamaran, bought at auction for £38,000. As you can read on our Letters page, his story seems to have hit a nerve and Andrew has been inundated with messages of support from all around the globe, including one from the boat’s original builder in South Africa.

I like to think it’s because secretly we all harbour a desire to embark on a similar adventure. Not necessarily an ambitious rebuild project; it could just as easily be setting off for some far-flung corner of the globe in a tiny boat (as per David Cowper’s ice-breaking exploits – see News) or having a crack at powerboat racing at an age when most people are taking up golf. The point is that us boaters love a challenge. Being told that what we’re proposing is foolhardy only serves to stiffen our resolve.

Take a couple of this month’s stories. Back in 1969 John Caulcutt and Graeme Dillon were a pair of young bucks with little more to their names than some exuberant facial hair and a burning desire to take part in the inaugural Round-Britain powerboat race. At this point most people would have realised that these two qualities were not entirely compatible and blown their student grants on a camping holiday to Pontefract and a couple of Mr Gillette’s newfangled disposable razors. Not this pair – they decided to spend £500 designing and building an innovative 21ft inflatable craft in a college workshop long before RIBs had even been invented. Despite countless warnings that they wouldn’t make it past the Needles, the intrepid duo completed the entire race, beating many of the larger, more established names. These days John is a little older and less hirsute but just as determined as ever. In June he will once again be pitting himself against the elements in the born-again Round-Britain race.

Then there’s Tom Rowland, who only wanted to buy himself a beach hut by the sea in Rye but was obliged to take on Julie, a rotting 50-year-old wooden fishing boat, as part of the deal. Three years and countless hours of elbow grease later, he likes nothing more than dodging supertankers as he chugs across the Channel in his sympathetically restored 18-footer.

In a market that’s dominated by boats like the gorgeous Mochi Dolphin 54 featured on our cover, it’s refreshing to hear that you don’t have to be a millionaire to get a kick out of boating. So come on everyone! There must be hundreds of other Hartlands, Caulcutts and Rowlands out there with similar tales of adventure.

Drop me a quick email on mby@ipcmedia.com and tell me what rocks your boat.