Ms Aquaholic Marianne McHugh reveals her £5m fantasy fleet

She’s the woman behind the hugely popular YouTube channel Aquaholic, but what would Marianne McHugh buy if she had £5m burning a hole in her pocket?

Growing up in the west of Ireland, I was always close to water, so swimming, paddling and kayaking were second nature. But powerboating is a new hobby: luckily, I’ve taken to it like the proverbial duck to water!

Given £5 million to spend, I would indulge my passion for discovering new beauty spots while brushing up on my geography and interest in history.

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Marianne’s inner adventurer would relish exploring in a rugged Botnia Targa 37

Botnia Targa 37

Price: £500,000

If I was looking for a sea-going little ship then I’d opt for a Botnia Targa 37 because it’s sturdy, seaworthy and suitable for all-weather cruising.

I’d use it to visit beautiful, tranquil destinations, exploring the fjords of Norway, the islands of Scotland, crossing the English Channel and maybe even the Irish sea.

It has the pace to shorten distances and the walk-around wheelhouse nature means it would be easy to handle, even on my own.  The Targa 37 has space for guests who visit, and twin engines for reassurance in far-flung places.

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A Regal 2250 would be ideal for less ambitious local adventures

Regal 2250

Price: £40,000

For more accessible and reliable boating, I’d like a Regal 2250 because it’s small, neat and trailerable.

I have no objection to squeezing into a cuddy cabin every night, because the daytimes would see me up at the helm, navigating some of the 2,000-odd miles of history-soaked canals, enjoying Victorian engineering ingenuity, drifting at leisure through the wonders of the industrial Midlands, and toasting the sunset in innumerable dock-side pub gardens.

The Falkirk boat lift? Come on, who doesn’t want to see that?! I’d go for a diesel-engined version so that fuel is easily accessed and to afford the boat enough performance for coastal blasts when required.

Princess 72

Price: £2,000,000

Two years ago I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days as a charter guest on a Princess 72 in Mallorca, one of the best boating experiences of my life.

It was a great size for eight guests, with loads of room on the flybridge for warm evenings, a great saloon and four huge cabins.

So, for pure indulgence, I’ll have one of these parked in Palma, with a crew on board, ready to meet and greet me when I nip out in a halcyon post-COVID world of travelling.

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A recent Mediterranean sojourn aboard a Princess 72 has turned Marianne’s head – now she wants to own one!

We’ll island hop, explore the Mediterranean, and with all those spare cabins, I’ll discover friends aplenty coming out of the woodwork!

Running cost surplus: £2,460,000

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

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