MBY custom yacht expert Alan Harper reveals his £5m fantasy fleet

Alan Harper has reviewed some of the finest motorboats from all around the world, but what would he spend £5million of his own money on?

I was the editor of this magazine in a past life, and it was my privilege to accumulate a lot of sea time in a great variety of craft.

Lately I have been divesting myself of boats, because I get my fix while working, and I wasn’t using my own nearly enough.

The last one to go was my lovely Wolstenholme rowing skiff, which I replaced with a really nice guitar (which I use a lot more). But when my ship comes in…


Nimbus Nova 22 for weekends away

Nimbus Nova 22

Price: £25,000 (used)

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I’m not talking about the later Mannerfelt-designed Novas, with their trendy stepped hulls optimised for speed – the original Nimbus Nova used an old Coronet deep-V hull designed by American offshore legend Jim Wynne.

Back in the day, the Cowes-Torquay race would field a bewilderingly eclectic fleet at a time when no-one was ever sure whether the boat or its occupants would break first.

It established the primacy of the deep-V hull. Small, cheap, nippy, and a brilliant sea boat for its size, the Nimbus Nova 22 is an absolute gem.

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The tall ship HMS Surprise to bring the O’Brian novels to life

HMS Surprise

Price: Beyond price (probably)

I know: it’s hardly a fantasy boat if you can go out and buy one tomorrow. So my next choice is genuinely unobtainable.

The tall ship HMS Rose is a replica of an 18th-century British frigate of the same name. Now named Surprise after the fictitious frigate in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels, she was the star of the film Master and Commander.

To read the novels is to get a literary sense of life at sea in Nelson’s time, in all its grubby, salt-stained and violent glory, yet the sight of such a beautiful weapon of war under full sail makes the heart sing.

She’s available to visit, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego – I would keep her there.


Heesen superyacht Home for a one-off holiday of a lifetime with friends

Heesen superyacht Home

Price: From $245,000 per week

I have been doing some work for Dutch superyacht yard Heesen, and I have to say they build pretty nice boats. Obviously the budget won’t stretch to buying one, but it would run to a good holiday with some friends – fully crewed, fully catered and full of excellent memories.

Something like the aluminium 50-metre Home would fit the bill, with its intelligent hybrid tech and advanced fast-displacement hull design.

Obviously I’d want the charter to be somewhere busy, like the South of France or Sardinia, because there’s no point being aboard one of these unless everyone can see you.

Send in your suggestions to mby@futurenet.com with My Fantasy Fleet in the subject line. Choose three boats for your imaginary fleet with a total value of up to £5 million.


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