They buy a Sunseeker 43 for one pound. How the boat is being reborn

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When the transporter went to retrieve it, in a boat graveyard not far from Gatwick Airport, the boat was completely full of water. All muddy. He had to lift it a little and wait a long time for it to empty“.

Thus recount, Kara Gladman and Steve Clarke of Avon Marina and Hypro Marine, one of the key steps in the recovery of the Sunseeker Thunder Hawk 43 Maldon (and earlier Kay Kay, as one has come to understand from the custom cutlery found on board).

Thunderhawk 43

Thunderhawk 43, iconic 1990s model

It all started at the end of November, surfing the Web. Clarke found on Ebay an offer to sell for one pound for this iconic sport cruiser model more than 30 years old. And he broke down. To the allure of
James Bond-style boats
is hard to resist.

Challenging compulsive buying. Actually, the presence of the ad should not be too surprising; quite a few boats, both sail and power, can be found at token prices. Solving the end-of-life issue of boats is a global problem that is becoming increasingly cumbersome. Instead, what is truly astonishing is that anyone could embark on such a restoration undertaking.

The question is obvious: Will it be worth it?

If a private individual, a mere enthusiast, is doing it, probably not. Or at least it will have to leave already with the idea of an operation born of pure passion and probably, from an economic point of view, to lose. But in this case Hypro Marine, a subsidiary of Avon Marina in Dorset, is a company in the industry that designs and manufactures power-assisted steering systems. There is a machine shop in their facility, and they also do refurbishment and refit work. The work can then be done practically “in-house.”


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All is not lost, but watch the budget

As Clarke is keen to point out, “Fwe turn on everything with a view to not going over our budget. But, fortunately, once we cleaned up the boat we saw that many parts were salvageable. In addition, the Thunder Hawk was built to the highest standards. It was an extremely solid boat“.

Of course, there are tough technical challenges to be faced, as Clarke always recounts, “The long windshield that reaches almost to the crowning is original; it needs to be recovered. Impossible to find an original replacement part. If the Perspex, which is completely damaged, can be replaced, on the uprights a thorough restoration work should be done“.


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As we said to good news, however, is that many parts are salvageable: the quality of the stainless steel used in the 1990s by the shipyard allows all parts to be reused in that material. The same goes for much of the furniture, such as the wet-bar, made of solid wood.

End of restoration operations? Last months of 2024 or early 2025.


And at this point we are anxiously waiting to know what the selling price will be–will it be worth the thought of investing that pound?

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