Mike Stock had always wanted to own a boat, but could never afford to buy one. 13 years ago he decided to build his own in the comfort of his backyard, using the skills he had acquired working as a cabinet maker in West Bountiful, Utah.
It was supposed to be a five-year project, but building the 35-foot-long boat took Mike longer than he anticipated. Part of the reason it took him so long was because he couldn’t heat the parts in order to apply glue and paint, so he didn’t work on it during the winter. The experienced cabinet maker says he built most of the vessel all by himself, at least all the wooden parts anyway, starting with the frame. That was his first task, and by far the most time consuming. Stock spent around 10 years building the frame upside down, and brought in a crane to flip it over when it was completed. He spent the last three years working on the topside, building the cabin and all the other rooms, and figures the boat will finally be ready for its maiden voyage by November. Believe it or not, Mike Stock didn’t have any kind of boat building experience, and built his massive three-floor boat by following a step-by-step plan he found online.
Stock says he managed to stay motivated by not rushing things and just doing a little bit of work on the boat each day. “I just figured if you have the time and you can just do a little bit each day, then you can pretty much accomplish what you need to,” he told reporters. “There’s frustration time when you are bending a board and it breaks or different things aren’t working out. You have to step back and think about it.” The support of his family also pushed him on to complete his dream. They are all certified in scuba and are looking forward to their first boat trip down the Gulf Coast and to the Caribbean.
The Utah builder remembers the first time he looked into buying a liveboard many years ago and saw the cost of one was around $500,000. He estimates that when his home-made boat is finished, he will have spent around $180,000. But will his actually float? “Based on the architect’s plan and his suggestions, it should float,” he said. “They are confident, and so I am.”