The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Anyone for Sjektes?

Anyone in the market for an 18ft open boat, based on a Norwegian sjekte design called Jan from the 1930s, either with a gunter or bermudan rig, is spoiled for choice. Both Felicity John and Florence Oliver, the boats I built a few years back are on the market for around £4,500 and £6,500 respectively.

I know this as a potential client, with whom I had been discussing a cabin version, decided to see Felicity John for himself, and after I contacted the owner to arrange a meeting, found her for sale. That could be a bit of a bummer for me, as I suggested in my last post, as it may scupper the chance of building a nice new, purpose-built boat. Hy ho.

While popping a lid on Karsten Ausland's Jan does look quite attractive, modifying Felicity John could be fraught with "issues" of strength and space. It could be done though, at the risk of making a dog's breakfast of a beautifully, pure open boat, as both I and my client are well aware.

The cost of modification might be a few thousand quid on top of the purchase price; the cost of a new boat perhaps a third more, so I will just keep my fingers crossed with the look of a man who has "done the right thing". Whatever happens, the important thing is that the right boat gets into the hands of the right owner.

Which made me think: maybe I should become a boat broker and give up the business of building them. Are there not quite enough boats to go round already? Do we need any more boats, especially of the sort that sit in garages and slipways year in, year out without so much as a sniff of water?

Why not call a moratorium on new boats until all the ones we have are in good hands and being used. Just a thought, albeit not the kind of idea likely to appeal to boat builders.

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