The moment Denis Owen saw the 70ft catamaranQuicksilver rotting in a St Martin boatyard, he had to have her which surprised the people there.
“She had a tree growing out of her and had been there for over 20 years,” he said. “She was basically trash.”
The 33-year-old calls himself a “boatyard hunter” and enjoys picking through them for interesting finds.
“She was by far the most fantastic thing I have ever found,” said Mr Owen, who owns Atlantic Mooring Maintenance with his 31-year-old brother Andrew.
They both saw the potential in the vessel, which was one of the largest when built in the 1960s.
“She was having a hard time,” Mr Owen said. “A lot of people down there thought we were crazy. They said don’t touch that thing, it is too old.
“We had it surveyed and found that the hull, the part sitting in the water, was really sound and in good shape.
“The hull was made of really thick fibreglass. It was sitting in the boatyard since 1995.
“It was wrecked on the rocks and it sank and they had a crane pull it out and just left it in the boat yard.
“It never moved since then. So that was 23 years it sat there before we came along.”
The Owen brothers bought the boat and since 2008, have worked tirelessly to restore it.
In 2010 they sailed her to Bermuda and then worked on her some more.
Tomorrow they will relaunch her officially, under the name Ubervida. The brothers plan to use her as a charter and tour boat operation.
“I’ve been told that when you do the amount of restoration work that we’ve done, it’s okay to rechristen her,” Mr Owen said.
With the help of Jason Williams and Darius Birch the brothers redid all the tray ceilings in mahogany.
“It was so much work, but it is worth it because now it looks really gorgeous. We put wrap around wooden stairs in the front of the boat.
“People love lounging there. We just finished building the bar last winter,” Mr Owen added.
When asked how much it cost to refurbish, the answer was “more than we had”. They saved money by doing most of the work themselves.
“It has been quite a learning experience but we are now pretty close to being master boat builders,” said Mr Owen. “She is really good in the water. She slides through really nicely.
“She was originally a sailboat and had two masts. The hardest part about the restoration was deadlines.
“We were always working trying to get ready for the tourist season. You start a project and there is always a lot more than you think needs to go into it. We were sometimes working from 7am to 2am for weeks at a time trying to get it done.”
Work on the Ubervida also had to be balanced with their business, Atlantic Mooring Maintenance.
“We have the balance under control and we are doing really well with that one as well,” said Mr Owen.
“We really enjoyed building this boat. I think if we were well-funded and didn’t have these crazy timelines it would be fantastic [to restore another].
“Maybe in a few years when things settle down we might do it again. We want to get this one going and then maybe look at something else.”
Mr Owen rode out Category One Hurricane Igor on the boat at its storm moorings in Ely’s Harbour in .
“She sat great through the storm,” he said. “I built the mooring so I was very happy with how strong the mooring was going to be.
“I wasn’t worried about us having issues, but in hurricanes very often other boats break off their moorings, and I didn’t want our paint to get scratched.
“We were sitting on our boat in the hurricane and a 40-footer broke off its mooring and sailed past us.
“I came up and started the engines and was ready to avoid it, but it just missed us by ten feet.”
The boat builders were introduced to the ocean by their father, Ernie Owen, who took them snorkelling from a very early age.
“Once, we went out to a protected marine area off Bermuda known as the Eastern Blue Cut with some of the dive operators back then,” said Mr Owen. “That was the best snorkelling we had ever seen.
“We had been practising for years on the shorelines. I was saying to my brother the other day, I think I got this boat because of that day.
“That was like the best day we ever had as a family.”
This summer, as part of their operation, they plan to take other people out to the same area, so they can see the beauty of Bermuda’s marine life in all its glory.
“We think it is Bermuda’s best wilderness,” said Mr Owen. “We will be starting that in about a month. The idea we have is to do day trips from 10am to 3pm.
“There will be a full buffet on-board and snorkelling gear. Patrons can come out and enjoy a fantastic full day on the water.
“It won’t be rushed. People can suntan and go snorkelling and relax.
“The idea from the beginning was that we wanted to share our passion for the water with everyone.
“A lot of people have their own boats, but it is a lot of work to go boating. If they can come on our boat and have a great day on the water without having to work too hard it would be fantastic.
“We have done company fun days, graduations, client dinners and other events and it has gone really well.”
Every Friday, starting tomorrow, they will be offering no cover charge mini-cruises to Paradise Lakes.
The adults-only cruises will leave from the Number One pier in Hamilton at 5.30pm and return at 7pm.
A second cruise will leave at 7.30pm, returning at 9pm. There will be music and beverages.
The boat can also be chartered for $600 an hour for as many as 150 people. For more information telephone 236-2222 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.