When we arrived home we worked out a plan of action. We needed a boat so we went to the September Southampton boat show and looked at everything afloat and on the hard. We like them all.
However, getting the £150000 to £300000 to buy one was not in our budget. All the layouts in these of the shelf yachts were designed for weekend sailing or even holiday sailing not for living on board. Most of the yachts in our range had not enough water capacity let alone any storage capacity for all those items you need. It was back to the drawing board.
There was a lot of discussion going on over the next few months. Finally we came to the conclusion that the only way we were going to get the perfect yacht for us was to have one built or to build one our self.
I went on the search for a good design. Here again John was helpful he had read lots of books about boats and he gave me a copy of Joshua Slocums “Sailing alone around the world”. I read it with fascination. What a story and what a yacht. Meanwhile we visited the London Boat Show.
Here I found Bruce Roberts book “Spray, The ultimate Cruising Boat this was read, re-read and read again. I now firmly believed that a Spray type boat was the one for us. We got in contact with Bruce Roberts UK and asked some advice. They were very helpful and we came to the conclusion that a 38 foot Spray was the right size for us. The reasons were as follows:
- The yacht would be less than 12 meters. We had looked at marina pricing and the cut off for getting into more expensive mooring costs were the 12 meter mark.
- 12 meters seemed to be the cut of point were one needed more expensive equipment such as navigation lights, bigger winches, cleats, windlass, anchors, chain, mooring warp etc etc.
- Having sailed a Sigma 38 we thought we could handle this size of yacht.
- The Spray 38 had large enough volume to carry all of our belongings.
- The Spray 38 size seemed to be one most people chose for building.
We ordered the study plans from Bruce Roberts UK and two weeks later they arrived. The first thing I did was to take them down to Bristol to get a rough quote on what it would cost to have it built. £180000 was the answer so I spent the next month pouring over the plans costing all of the components that I thought we needed.
This took hours and hours of work but finally I came up with a figure. A rough estimate of £45000 to build her complete. Wow. This was a cost we could afford. Ann was delighted. Our Plan was finalised and we bought the full plans for a Spray 38 from Bruce Roberts UK. Total cost of the plans £620.00.
The date now was May 1995 and we decided that we needed to save around £10,000 to get the project under way. This money was for the steel for the hull and we decided not to eat out anymore, or go on holidays, or go to the pub, or in fact spend any money other than we needed to survive and go to work, in fact everything was put on hold.
One year later we had saved over £5000. We then made the acquaintance of Don Fuller Love, Managing Director of Steel Kit Ltd in Aberystwyth. His company took a yacht plan and turned them into a steel kit. This kit would fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. It would cut the time it would take to build the hull to a third. Wow. Was I interested, you bet. Off we went to visit his company. They did all this on a CAD (Computer Aided Design) system which turned the paper drawings into a 3D model on the computer which in turn cut up the plates and frames into a flat pack system that was similar to a flat pack wardrobe you can buy in shops. I was very impressed. This was the way to build a hull. No cutting, no lofting just pick up the pieces and slot them together.
We negotiated with Don and he made us an offer we could not refuse. The steel alone would cost £7,000 from a steel stockist and Don was offering a complete hull kit for £9,500. We ordered it in November 1996. Delivery was to be in June 1997. We gave him a deposit and negotiated staged payments. We drove home hoping we had done the right thing. In April 1997 I searched for a location to build our yacht. I was looking to build inside a building but could not find anywhere.