From shed to shipshape: yacht that has been 14 years in the making

Date: Monday 3rd September 2018

A YACHT which has been self-built by an Eden enthusiast during a 14-year labour of love was blessed during an official naming ceremony on Ullswater.

John Arter, aged 66, built the yacht in a barn on his land near Stockdalewath, Raughton Head, from a kit which was produced in Australia by Derek Ellard, formerly of the UK, who founded the Scruffie Marine company in 1991.

Having received the parts, which were shipped from Australia as a part container load, John began assembling the vessel which, complete with a 4ft bowsprit, now measures 28ft.

He built the cabin, masts and hull piece by piece during winter and summer. “I like using my hands and creating things,” said John, who worked as a surveyor before going into property development.

He said the biggest challenge was that “nothing is straight on a boat” — it all has to be curved — but to see the elegant vessel complete gave him great satisfaction.

The yacht is made mainly of wood, with teak trim and lockers, brass portholes and tan coloured sails. However, although it looks vintage, it has many modern features, such as solar panels which recharge the battery that is used to power the craft’s lights, instruments and navigation aids.

The building of the boat had to be fitted in with John’s business of converting redundant barns into dwellings, so it was largely undertaken in the evenings and at weekends.

A purpose-built shed had to be erected before any work on the boat could begin. And because the boat had grown over the years it could only just be squeezed out through the doors when it was finally on its trailer.

After 14 years, the vessel was taken to Ullswater by trailer and launched, without ceremony, at Ullswater Marine in May. She was officially blessed and named by John’s sister-in-law, Catherine King, a keen and experienced sailor herself.

It has been called Charmily Rose, which incorporates elements of his wife Marion’s middle name, Rose, plus those of his two daughters, Charlotte and Emily.

Margaret Vane, who lives near Calthwaite, was one of a number of friends and family who attended the ceremony. She said it was a very happy occasion celebrating John’s old-school values of quality workmanship and attention to detail.

“What an achievement and to do it in his spare time. It was one of the longest cases of the ‘away to your shed’ syndrome — some 14 years. May it bring John much well-earned satisfaction and joy,” said Mrs Vane.