For six years it has been a labour of love, but for Nick Whittle his dream of building the 198th XOD One Design yacht is close to fruition.
Nick, who owns Whittle Marine, just outside Yarmouth, says he is a power-boat man through and through, but claims this project has been a ‘real achievement’.
He said: “We have done everything from scratch from a set of old plans.
“We bought a 34ft-long mahogany log, which weighs three-and-a-half tons, from west Africa and it came here via Germany. I felt a bit apprehensive about taking this on because, having bought the log, we knew we would have to take it on and do a good job. We have repaired and maintained XODs and we know the problems which we have managed to iron out over the last 18 years.
“This will be a brand-new boat which will give its owner 30-plus years of grief-free sailing; you can only keep repairing old boats for so long.
“By building this boat, it will also help strengthen the class, and by continuing to build these boats, it will make the class more appealing.”
The XOD One Design was designed by Alfred Westmacott, who was managing director of Woodnutt’s Boatyard, St Helens, and it was first raced during Cowes Week, 1911.
This year’s Cowes Week, beginning on July 30, is the aim for Nick’s latest model. He added: “We hope to be either displaying it on Cowes Parade or have it in the water; it needs to be there.
“We’ve been through a lot of turmoil over the last few years with Brexit and Covid, but we have kept going on this boat and it has been a real achievement.
“We still have enough mahogany to build two more, so we hope to be able to make the 200th boat in the class!”