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I can’t afford a luxury yacht so I built this…

Pensioners catamavan looks like a fish out of water

A Herne Bay pensioner is the man behind a bizarre contraption which has been raising eyebrows along the north Kent coast. Last week pictures appeared on social media websites showing a caravan fixed onto a catamaran being towed along the Swale near Sittingbourne. Now 81-year-old Peter Thurston has revealed that he is the brains behind the floating home which has been dubbed the “catamavan”. He started building it in his front garden in Sunbeam Avenue a couple of years ago, before moving it to Iron Wharf in Faversham to finish it. Mr Thurston says he built it for a number of reasons, but mainly because he couldn’t afford a luxury yacht. He said:

“If you’ve been on a yacht, down 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 lovely mornings. But sometimes it’s a bit cold to sit outside and have a meal so you eat down below and you don’t get to see anything. I couldn’t afford to buy a cabin cruiser which is the sort of thing you need to have big windows and eat your dinner outside. This was a better alternative because I didn’t have to spend so much money and I could make it whatever size I wanted.”

It was kept in Faversham Creek for the first nine months before it was finally taken up to a stretch of water known as South Deep. It was moored near Fowley island which is 100 yards away from the mainland off Conyer Creek. An engine with a lever to steer the vessel is fixed to the front and back of 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 but when it is taken for a spin the bizarre combination sticks out like a fish out of water. Mr Thurston added:

“I’ve also got a number of yachts out in the Swale so the idea was to have somewhere to sleep when I finished working on them. I sleep on it regularly during the summer but in the winter you don’t want to be on it although I do go and check on it regularly.”


Before the BBC announced its decision not to renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract, Mr Thurston had hoped to set a challenge for the Top Gear presenter and his colleagues James May and Richard Hammond. He added:

“I know they hate caravans so I had it in the back of my mind I wanted them to build their own version and I would race them from Harty Ferry to The Ship on Shore pub on the other side of the Island which Is about a quarter of a mile away, and 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 one of your reasonably priced cars around the track and to go on the leader board with my time recorded.”

Herne Bay Gazette, April 9th 2015

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