Great Britain

WEIRD UK NEWS: Patio doors needed to be removed to fit a boat through

A MAN who built a sixteen foot boat in his house was forced to remove his patio door to get it out.

Steve Goodchild, 73, spent thirteen hours a day for the three months working to complete his wooden craft named Barnacle.

But during construction he scaled up the project - and it proved too big to move outside.

And to enable its maiden voyage on Saturday, dad-of-three Mr Goodchild said he had to pull down the door and frame to squeeze it through.

The retired former land surveyor, of Paignton, Devon, said had he stuck to his original design it would have sailed through the door without issue.

Steve said: "When I retired my wife started a photography degree and I thought I needed a project as well.

"I have always done a lot of woodwork and have been a sailor since the age of four, so I thought I would build a boat.

"I needed a design and found a company that provided me with one. I was looking for a specific shape of boat as I just want to cruise along south coast.

"The idea of cruising along the south coast in good weather really appealed to me.

"I hate to think how long it took in terms of hours but in total I worked on it for three and a half years.

"I loved it and it has taken me down so many roads. I even used a 3D printer I knew nothing about before. It was a wonderful mental exercise and I designed the mast myself.

"It was a fascinating project that I completed just at the end of lockdown and I took it out when we were allowed out for the first time.

"I was always good at measurements and I knew I would get it out the door if I stuck with the initial design.

"But I changed it to give me a front deck and it made it fatter. I knew a long time ago it was going to be too bit and I would take out the door frame.

"It was still a tight fit

"I don't think anyone who saw the build thought I would be able to get it out. But I did.

''All it needed was to remove the plastic door frame and undo a few bolts. After building an entire boat, that was the easy bit.

"I took it out for the first time last Wednesday and have just been trialling it locally.

''My daughter, who is a doctor in London, was the first one to crew with me, and my other daughter has also had a sail.

"Taking it out was the way I dreamed it would be. It was very stable, quite swift and points well into the wind.

"I loved the whole process and if I could afford to I would be happy to do it again.

''I could have bought two ready made ones for the price it cost, which I guess was about £10,000.

''But to be sailing in something you have built is an extra special feeling.

"It is very rare to see a wooden boat. This is the only one in the harbour other than pleasure boats built after the war, but they have had so many paint jobs none of them look wooden anymore.

''All the individually owned ones are fibre glass so my stands out incredibly."

Once out, the wooden Stornaway, which he started building in 2017, was put on wheels and taken to Paignton harbour.

As the Government eased lockdown, he took Barnacle out on Saturday on the water for the first time.

He told the BBC: "Being a bit inventive, I added a deck to it - which meant it got fatter and wouldn't go through the door frame.

"We took the door and frame out. It was a very tight fit but we managed it in the end."

He added: "It was blowing probably a force five or six which is a bit much for a sailing dinghy but I was determined to get it out and so I motioned it out of Paignton harbour, I put the sails up and it went like a bird.

"It was absolutely wonderful, I loved it. I am a retired land surveyor, and two of my hobbies are sailing and woodwork.

"I therefore decided to combine the two activities, and build a sailing dinghy.

''In the years before I retired, I slowly built up a fairly comprehensive woodworking workshop in our basement.

"I last built a boat in 1972, so I am most definitely an amateur boat-builder."

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