A retired British businessman with the lifelong dream of building a majestic yacht has almost achieved his goal. Mike Ludgrove, 63, is putting the finishing touches on the 60ft boat that he has spent the past 12 years painstakingly crafting by hand. He has spent £1.3 million ($1.8 million) and several thousands of hours on the classic sailing yacht that he has named ‘Helena’.
Ludgrove, who trained at Lyme Regis Boatbuilding Academy, originally estimated that he could complete his dream yacht in just three years, at a cost of around £500,000. He soon realized, however, that both the timeline and budget were overly ambitious. To raise more funds, Ludgrove and his amazingly supportive wife Elaine sold their London flat, their primary home in Exeter, Devon, and now live in a rented ex-council house. Five years ago, the couple sold their health food business to raise additional money for the boat. Ludgrove also enlisted the help of his son and some friends to work alongside him to make his dream a reality. Ed Burnett, the naval architect who designed the Queen’s Jubilee barge, provided the plans for Ludgrove’s yacht.