Home ... Herne Bay ... Herne Bay Catamavan creator Peter Thurston wanted to challenge Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear team to a race

Herne Bay Catamavan creator Peter Thurston wanted to challenge Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear team to a race

It’s been the talk of the town after photos surfaced of a caravan fixed to a catamaran being towed along the Swale.

Now, KentOnline can reveal the man behind the bizarre contraption is pensioner Peter Thurston.

And before the BBC announced its decision not to renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract, the 81-year-old hoped to challenge the former Top Gear presenter and his colleagues to a race on the vessel, dubbed the Catamavan.

The caravan boat spotted in the Swale

The caravan boat spotted in the Swale

He said: “I know they hate caravans so I had it in the back of my mind I wanted them to build their own version and race them from Harty Ferry to a pub on the other side of the Island.

“I sleep on it regularly during the summer but in the winter it’s quite cold, although I do check on it regularly” – Mr Thurston

“The loser would buy the beers.

“If they had taken it on, I would have said I didn’t want payment but I would like a go in their reasonably priced car and to go on the show’s board.”

Mr Thurston started building the floating home, dubbed in the front garden of his home two years ago, before transporting it to Iron Wharf in Faversham where he finished  it.

But the question on everyone’s lips is why did he make it in the first place?

“It was built for a number of reasons,” said the grandfather, who lives in Sunbeam Avenue, Herne Bay.

“If you’ve been on a yacht, inside there’s nothing to see because the windows are three feet above your head so you only see the clouds and the top of a mast passing by, there’s no view.

“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.

Peter Thurston, creator of the 'catamavan'

Peter Thurston, creator of the ‘catamavan’

“I’ve also got a number of yachts in the Swale so the idea was to have somewhere to sleep when I finished working on them.

“I think what he’s doing is unreasonable. One day someone is going to get hurt” – Anonymous critic

“I sleep on it regularly during the summer but in the winter it’s quite cold, although I do check on it regularly.”

The Catamavan was left in Faversham Creek for the first nine months before finally being taken up to a stretch of water known as South Deep and moored near Fowley island, 100 yards away from the mainland off Conyer Creek.

The vessel has an engine with a lever attached to steer it.

Inside, the trailer boasts an oven, a fridge freezer, shower, toilet and sink plus two tables, and a settee.

It can sleep up to four people. Hundreds of two-litre bottles fill the hulls so even if it gets a hole it can’t sink.

It is rarely seen cruising around the area but when it is taken for a spin the bizarre combination certainly sticks out – but it’s not always a welcome sight.

One man, who wishes to remain anonymous, feels vessel is putting its inventor’s life, and others, at risk.

Presenters Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May

Presenters Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May

He said: “I think what he’s doing is unreasonable. One day someone is going to get hurt.

“It’s on an anchor, not a proper mooring, so it drifts up the moorings when there’s high winds and then people help push him out and that puts them at risk.

“There’s a fear in an event like that, the Coastguard will be needed.”

Mr Thurston responded: “That’s a load of garbage. It’s perfectly safe. It’s never gone aground more than once and it wasn’t mud flats it was rocks and that was because some kids cut the ropes. It was nothing to do with the anchor.”

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