Boat of the Month - 14m John Pugh sloop

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FOR SALE $190,000. Prevented from living his dream through an illness, boat owner JOHN DRAKE has his 14m John Pugh sloop <I>Set Free</I> on the market

Boat of the Month - 14m John Pugh sloop
Boat of the Month - 14m John Pugh sloop

My wife and I have had a great life on our 14m John Pugh sloop and do not wish to sell her, however, I have recently been diagnosed with an illness preventing us living out our dream and we have no other choice but to sell Set Free.

Originally constructed for a 40-something English couple to travel the globe, Set Free was built in The Netherlands and launched in 1980. The Dutch are renowned for being among the best steel boatbuilders in the world.

The sad part about the history of Set Free is that most of it has been lost after the previous owner died.
The information we have was provided by the brokerage who subsequently acquired her.

Set Free sailed around the world twice with her first owners and was then sold to a German gentleman, a recluse, apparently, who also did a circumnavigation before settling in Australia around 1995.

We were told he moored her at Runaway Bay Marina, Qld, and lived as a hermit for eight years collecting papers, books and magazines until his death in 2003. He was apparently living in the galley and saloon only, as the rest of the boat was filled with his collection of reading matter.

Set Free was then purchased by Barnacle Busters Gold Coast. They stripped the interior of the boat, taking away truckloads of "junk material" along with the old history. Most of the interior was then refurbished and the exterior repainted.

We purchased Set Free in November 2005 and our dreams and plans at the time were to cruise the coast of Australia and then the world.

When we bought Set Free, most of the navigation equipment, refrigeration, gas and other appliances were either out-of-date or not working. So over the next four years we proceeded to bring her to the condition she is in today.

The first thing to be replaced was the refrigeration system, converting two of the three separate units into a storage area and pots-and-pans cupboard, and replacing the other with a 12/240V 230lt fridge/freezer, which works very well and more efficiently.

The gas hot-water system was old and insufficient and replaced with the latest Bosch indoor gas water heating system, which doesn’t require a pilot light.

We replaced the existing battery system with four 200amp/h deep cycle AGM batteries, had an auto electrician rewire and refuse the main power systems, and installed three 123W Sharp solar panels and an AIR X wind generator to power the batteries. We haven’t had to use a generator since.

Our next major task was the windows. The originals had rotted out and were replaced with Perspex panels screwed and sealed to the outside. Brisbane window company Alfab, who specialises in boats and caravans, made four large opening windows and screens for the galley area and 10 fixed porthole windows for the rest of the forward section of the boat. The four windows in the rear cabin and bathroom open and have flyscreens, and all the new windows were made above survey requirements.

Next on the list was the cockpit, which we fully enclosed with an aluminium roof and full clears to make the area waterproof. As for the interior there was not a lot that needed to be done other than put in all the little touches to make it our own. We lightened up the aft cabin by covering some of the dark timber with lighter coloured fabric, pulled up the parquetry flooring in the galley and aft cabin and put down carpet, and had all curtains replaced.

The bathroom/head was completely refurbished, including a new electric toilet system running into a holding tank, while two years ago we installed a watermaker that produces some 30lt freshwater per hour.

Other equipment installed during the four-year period included a 2kVa generator, a power-control system for the solar panels and wind generator feeding the batteries, a 2000W inverter, a 24V battery charger, and last year we added a 38in HD LCD TV/DVD combo unit.

In 2006, we moved off our Gold Coast (City) Marina pontoon and lived aboard the boat, mooring around the Southport area. As my wife still works, we were restricted to how far, or how long, we could travel, staying mainly within Moreton Bay to the Gold Coast and up to Brisbane while we were still finishing off the boat. Most of the work after the major items had been done was performed while we were living aboard.

The boat was slipped in 2008 for a four-week major refurbishment and repaint on the exterior, including blasting the hall back to bare steel, repaint consisting of one coat of two-pack primer, two coats of two-pack undercoat and four coats of two-pack polyurethane topcoat plus antifoul.

The $190,000 price is set a great deal below its real value, as we have spent well over $100,000 on Set Free.

She is a lovely, roomy, comfortable boat to live aboard and sails like a dream singlehanded. We hope some other couple can live our dream.

Quick Specs-

John Pugh sloop
Set Free

FOR SALE: $190,000
TYPE: Displacement hull, full-length keel
BEAM: 4.24m
DRAFT: 2.42m
WEIGHT: 26.84 tonnes (dry)
ENGINE: Three-cylinder Lister diesel (4lt/h at 7kts)
SAILS: 1 main, 1 headsail (both in good condition)
RIGGING: Ocean-sailing stainless rigging; aluminium mast
DETAILS: Phone John Drake on 0416 123 361


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