Nigel Irens classic boat tour: Beautiful wooden river launch with an electric motor

When a lucky break and years of hard work gave Jamie Waller the chance to indulge his passion for boats, he wasn’t going to settle for any old craft. Hugo Andreae meets the three men behind an exceptional wooden launch

When Jamie Waller sold the majority stake in his business at the age of 37 there were only two things on his mind. The first was to set up a foundation to give other disadvantaged kids the same leg up in life he had. The second was to buy a boat and go cruising round the Med.

Life wasn’t always this comfortable. Growing up in Bethnal Green, London, Jamie left school at 16 with no qualifications and few opportunities in life.

The one thing that motivated him was being part of The Imps, a youth motorcycle display team set up by Hackney Adventure Holiday Project for disadvantaged East End children.

Training with the The Imps taught Jamie the values of discipline, hard work and being a team player – characteristics which helped him make his first million by the age of 22.

Now an angel investor, philanthropist and author, he splits his time more favourably between work, the Jamie Waller Foundation and spending time with his young family, preferably on board a boat. This passion for boating also started early in life, even if opportunities to exercise it were limited.

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“My grandfather was in the Royal Navy and my father was in the merchant navy so I guess I had the sea in my blood,” Jamie tells me.

But it wasn’t until the age of 14 that Jamie first experienced the boating life for himself, thanks once again to his connection with The Imps.

“I went to stay at a Scout camp in Plymouth to help deliver a sailing boat. We were up at 4am to catch the tide but I loved every minute of it and knew that if I ever had the opportunity, this was something I wanted to do.”

Read more about Jamie’s conversion of Clara Belle in the September 2022 issue of MBY, out August 4.


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