Multichine 34/36 Cabin Boy. Made in New Zealand

It is very rewarding for us when we see one of our boats being built with a high degree of quality. This is the case with the MC34/36 being built by Howard and Noelle Bennet, from Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand. The determination of this couple in building their definitive boat where they intend to live must be the secret for such commitment. Our long time involvement with amateur construction has proven that this is the best road to success. A new trend, however, is the fact that those who create blogs to relate their constructions are the ones whose commitments use to go beyond limits.

This is the case of the Cabin Boy. The Bennets made a blog that is a pleasure to follow. Starting from the temporary shed they built, it becomes evident that they want to do a first class job. Watching carefully the details of the joinery employed in the fabrication of the bulkheads at the workbench it can be seen that they are made with the utmost care. They are also boosted by the privilege of living in such beautiful surroundings, a place that only for its sceneries compels people to adopt an adventurous life. The region where they are building the boat is of staggering beauty, and the photos they show are breathtaking. Their blog is: www.nzcabinboy.blogspot.com. They are also linked from our page of links: Multichine34/36 Cabin Boy. We are transcribing their most recent entry below

Now, what do you think that bit does?

And so the boat building began. Enthusiasm was brimming over - in fact Sam (the cat) was so overwhelmed by all the activity that he was forced to lie down and have a little sleep as the construction carried on around him! This apparent overwhelming desire to sleep on whatever happened to be being constructed meant great care had to be taken not to inadvertently epoxy him to any of the bits of boat that were starting to appear.

On a daily basis, sheets of marine grade plywood would disappear into the boat shed to be re-invented as - well generally I didn't have a clue what!

"How's your day been?" I'd ask when I arrived home from work.

"Great thanks," would come the reply. "How was yours?"

"Good thanks. So what have you been doing with yourself?" I know that must seem a bit like asking the bleedin' obvious but it was actually intended to elicit some sort of specific descriptor, if only to help me try to work out precisely what I was looking at. But no.

"I've been building a boat!" would come the answer. Yeah, thanks Howard, that was really helpful!

"Now what do you think that bit is?" Howard's finger would guide my gaze in the general direction of the latest strangely shaped assemblage.

So I'd study this lovingly constructed object that had been presented to me with such a sense of eager anticipation, hoping that just what it was would suddenly become blindingly obvious to me. However, after several minutes of intense study I'd invariably have to admit defeat.

"Well, I'm sure I should recognise it but I can't quite seem to work it out."

And so this continued until one evening I arrived home and wandered into the boat shed, pondering what shape would great me this time. 'How long should I pretend to be on the verge of working out what it is before admitting I don't know?' I thought to myself. I glanced up and stopped dead in my tracks. There in front of me was something that was undeniably the hull of a boat. It was upside-down, I grant you, but that shape was unmistakable.

I walked around it, studying it from every angle and wherever it was viewed from it still looked like a boat. I was gobsmacked and extraordinarily excited. All those weird and wonderful shapes had come together into a cohesive whole. The really weird thing was that I had absolutely understood that it would happen, I just couldn't see how when all I had to look at was the individual elements.

"Hey, that's brilliant," I enthused when I finally found Howard. "Bet you're pleased with it aren't you?"

"Yup, it's quite good I suppose," came Howard's response, ever the master of the understatement.

Now before I continue with what's happening with our build I'll do a bit of a blokey-type explanation about the design as well as the more technical aspects of the boat, just in case anyone out there is thinking 'Why on earth isn't she telling us what they're building?' And I'll include the odd explanatory bit in brackets for those people who may need some translation of the boat-speak!


So, she is a fibreglass over plywood Multichine 36 from Roberto Barras yacht design. Her overall length will be 11.16m, her beam will be 3.82m and she will have 2.00m standing headroom. She will have two cabins (bedrooms), a large head aft (bathroom at the back), a main saloon (lounge area) plus a spacious galley (kitchen) and a navigation table (that's so we know where we're going).

Work on the boat continued apace. Howard would work on it all day, stopping only for the odd cup of coffee and some lunch. I'd return home from work to find him happily sitting astride the upturned hull, carefully and lovingly crafting what would eventually become our home.

"What do you fancy for tea?" I'd question, prompting a momentary pause in his activities as he realised that he'd forgotten to take anything out of the freezer...again!

"Oooops, I'd forgotten all about tea," would come the response."What do you fancy?"

I'd wander off and throw something fairly basic together and then summons him in so we could enjoy the meal together. Suitably replete, Howard would then disappear back into the boat shed.

"I'll just tidy up a bit and put my tools away," he'd say as he wandered out of the caravan. "I'll be back in very shortly." Invariably the 'very shortly' was actually quite a long time - in fact more often than not it was running out of daylight that was the prompt to stop work.

Howard was as happy as a pig in muck, but he was becoming a very tired pig in muck! I had my concerns that he was pushing himself too hard, but he insisted he was fine.

"I just want to take advantage of the warmer weather and get as much of this done as I can," he explained.

"Well, just be careful that you don't push yourself too hard." I tried hard not to be bossy but sometimes  - OK, fairly often - I failed miserably. It was apparent though that my comments were falling on deaf ears. Men can be sooooo stubborn!!

A few days later I returned home after a pretty tough day at work, relieved to be back in my little cocoon that was the caravan. It had been raining most of the day which had meant that Howard had been unable to do much on the boat because the humidity affected the epoxy's ability to 'go off' so he had a cup of tea ready and waiting for me. He studied me carefully for a moment and then said, "Looks as though you've had a bit of a tough day to me. You're looking really tired."

"You're not far wrong there," I agreed.

"Well, I reckon you need a break so how about we take the tinnie and go up to the Marlborough Sounds for a couple of weeks." He didn't need to work on persuading me.

"That's the best idea I've heard in ages," I replied. "Reckon it will do us both good. Marlborough Sounds, here we come!"

Click here to know more about the MC 34/36