Buying their dream from Hoveton boatyard

They might be compared to entrepreneur Victor Kiam, who famously declared on television adverts that he was so impressed with the electric shaver he bought the company.

For some Broads holidaymakers it is not enough to enjoy a week or two on a hire boat – they go back to the yard and buy their own motor cruiser.

Retired teacher Graham Selwin and his wife Pam, previous happy customers of Barnes Brinkcraft in Wroxham, yesterday returned to the basin in Riverside Road, Norwich, to pick up the keys to Gemini, a Brink of Joy Class cruiser which has just finished a busy season as a hire boat.

While it is the third time the Selwins from Middlemarch, in Dereham, have taken the plunge into boat ownership, another couple, Stephen and Steph Hunt from Margate, in Kent, have just completed the purchase of Brink of Time class cruiser Oppadoppa – a boat they hired for the first time in the summer.

Yard manager Sam Lowe said: 'It is increasingly common for customers to decide they want their own boat and we do not have any problem selling craft as we renew our fleet.'

Mr Selwin, 70, confessed he caught the Broads 'bug' as a child and, after many happy family holidays, it seemed only natural to want their own personal bolthole – a boat they could take out at any time, not restricted to weeks of hire.

With their three grown-up children no longer interested in boating holidays, they are downsizing their previous seven-berth purchase to a five-berth boat costing them nearly �50,000.

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Mrs Selwin, 69, said: 'We don't go on any other holidays really; when we moved to Norfolk we dreamed of having a riverside home and our own boat – we have managed the second.'

The couple insist that while larger places such as Hoveton have changed dramatically over the years, becoming far more commercialised, the quiet appeal of the Broads remains intact.

Mr Selwin, a keen angler, said: 'Places like Salhouse Broad and Barton Broad are more or less as I remember them when I was a child.'

Mr Lowe said selling boats was part of an ongoing process of updating their fleet to meet the increasingly refined taste of many holidaymakers.

He said: 'We will have two boats built for the start of next season and another two ready later in the summer. We have also bought three more from Topcraft at Oulton Broad.'

stephen.pullinger@archant.co.uk

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