Residents of Penarth’s Plassey Square have found that their local thoroughfare – the saltily-named “Harbour View Road” – has suddenly assumed an even more nautical character than usual.
What appears to be a major boat-building project is under way at the roadside – in which what evidently started life as a modestly-proportioned 16-ft fishing boat, is now being enlarged, extended and taking on the appearance of – if not quite a Cunard liner – at least a kind of home-made Noah’s Ark.
The boat – patriotically named “Elizabeth II” – is still on a trailer, but has just had a large ship-lap wooden cabin installed on what was an open cockpit area.
Local residents, aghast at – but intrigued by – the alfresco DIY being carried out on their doorsteps, say the newly-built aft cabin looks suspiciously like a former B&Q garden shed; a view confirmed by the somewhat unseaworthy side-opening door which has now been installed.
The project is being carried out by local resident “Jack” who has modestly asked for his surname to be withheld and not to be identified in the photographs. He bought Elizabeth II – including her trailer – for a grand total of just £200 and is carrying out all the work on her himself.
Jack says the engine has been removed from Elizabeth II and Penarth’s RNLI lifeboat crew might be relieved to hear that he doesn’t plan to put to sea in her. The intention is to convert the craft into a trailer-mounted mobile home which he will tow from place to place. He expects to complete the work next week and will be on his travels to somewhere warmer than Penarth shortly thereafter.
As the “Elizabeth II” might be all-too-easily confused with the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS “Queen Elizabeth” it may be worth noting that of the two vessels Elizabeth II – notwithstanding her modifications – appears to have the cleanest lines in comparison with her Royal Navy namesake.
The following comparison checklist may be of further help in distinguishing between the two vessels.
ELIZABETH II HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH
Displacement: 0.5 Tons 70,600 tonnes
Length: 16 ft 920 feet
Beam: 5 ft 240 ft
Draught: 2 ft 36ft
Engines 0 2 × gas turbines 4 X diesels
Speed 30mph (towed) 3o mph
Range: Unlimited 10,0000 nautical miles
Crew 1 679
Armament 0 3 × Phalanx 30-mm DS30M Mk2 guns
Aircraft carried: 0 50
Price £200 £3,100,000,000
Shortly there will be less risk of confusing the two vessels as Jack says he doesn’t really like the name Elizabeth II after all and is now pondering a new name for his boat.