Pensioner’s £5,000 ‘catamavan’ – a caravan on top of a boat – which has its own kitchen, shower and double bed
Here’s one caravan that won’t be holding up holiday traffic on a country road.
Pensioner Peter Thurston decided to convert his into an bizarre-looking boat and says he now feels perfectly at home on the water.
The 80 year-old sailor wanted a cabin cruiser but did not let a lack of money or imagination spoil his dream.
He came up with his unique Catamavan by bolting an old four-berth caravan on the hull of a catamaran.
The eccentric-looking creation has an oven, fridge freezer, shower, toilet, double bed and two tables.
It is powered by a small outboard engine that goes on the stern and reaches a modest four knots.
The 24ft by 12ft vessel also has a deck lined with a safety fence where Peter can sit and enjoy the view.
Hundreds of empty two litre bottles fill the hulls so even if it gets a hole it won’t sink as he slowly goes up and down the same stretch of river in Kent.
Peter keeps it on the Swale where he rarely ventures far from its moorings and has regularly slept in it since launching it two years ago.
He said: “I wanted something that had a nice, stable platform and was really comfortable because all my boats are quite cramped.
“I’ve got a number of yachts and if you have ever been in a yacht you will know that you can never see out the window.
“In the Swale you get lovely nights and mornings but sometimes it’s a bit cold to sit outside and have a meal so you eat below deck and don’t get any views.
“I couldn’t afford a cabin cruiser, the sort of thing you need to have big windows and eat outside, so this was a better alternative because I didn’t have to spend so much money and I could make it whatever size I wanted.
“I sleep on it regularly during the summer but in the winter it’s quite cold, although I do check on it regularly.
“In the recent bad weather it’s held up a lot better than most of the catamarans on the water.”
Peter spent around £4,000 building the hull and #1,000 on the old caravan from a local firm which has the wheels removed.
He added: “Most of it was done flat pack at home.
“Then I took the catamaran down to the ship yard and we lifted the caravan onto it.
“It is not intended to go fast and it only has a small engine but it still goes about four knots. It’s definitely seaworthy and the structure is incredibly strong.
“The two litre empty bottles which stop the risk of flooding are a cheaper alternative to foam and they’re recycled so it’s better for the environment.
“I also did it because when I was down at the harbour all day working on my boats it would give me somewhere to stay the night.
“You are allowed to anchor anywhere along the Swale unless it is a restricted area and there’s nothing wrong in what I’ve done.”
Peter, a dad-of-four, keeps the catamaran anchored in Conyer, Kent, which is 19 miles away from his home in Herne Bay.
He said he started his project after the break-up of his marriage and began building the boat in his front garden before moving it to a local boatyard.
He added: “I started building it as a bit of a distraction really. It gave me something to focus on because things weren’t going well back home.
“I used to build para-gliders and para-motors and I have always worked on boats but I wanted to do something a bit different.”
Peter said he does not venture into the open sea and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency warned he could find himself in hot water if he went too far.
A spokeswoman said: “If the vessel was to actually go out to sea it would be subject to various legal powers and we could detain it if we thought it was dangerous.
“Judging from the pictures it or may or may not be dangerous, it’s hard to tell without closer inspection.
“But the owner of this vessel will need get various legal issues sorted out and make sure it is seaworthy before taking it very far from the harbour.
“If one of our surveyors saw it and didn’t like the look of it they may pull them over.”