SITUATED among Timboon’s farm sheds and rolling pastures, the landlubbing Southern Explorer certainly looks like it needs to be somewhere far more aquatic.
The 18-metre-long boat is a labour of love for Timboon farmer Barry Pender and his son Will, a contractor, with more than $500,000 invested in the watercraft.
The father-and-son duo built the Southern Explorer from scratch, starting off with the basic materials in early 2011, tinkering away at every spare moment to produce the now seaworthy vessel.
Beef farmer and apiarist Barry had previously built another boat from a “flat-pack” kit more than a decade ago but decided to sell it off and start afresh.
“When I tell people we’ve built a boat on the farm they say ‘oh yeah’ and then they see it in person and they realise how big it is,” Barry said yesterday.
Although Barry used plenty of his own technical know-how for the task, he also used the latest in computer-based design to ensure the vessel would be well-equipped for ocean voyages.
Will, a fitter and turner by trade, was essential for the boat’s mechanical composition, which features two $90,000 engines and a gyro-stabiliser system. Inside, the vessel features a spacious cabin, shower and toilet, sleeping quarters and an ice-maker for the more-than-occasional spot of fishing.
The vessel will be used for fishing trips and sightseeing and is licenced to take a maximum of 23 people.