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Building the Boat Part 7

S M Hudson boatbuilders closes down.

A week before Christmas Helen received an appointment for Hospital. 2015 was going to be a tough one.

After previous tests and investigations, Helen, was told that she had developed a rare, possibly incurable, but fortunately not life threatening condition that required numerous visits to Guy's Hospital in London. She needed my support and I would have to leave work as quickly as possible if we were to try and resolve a steadily worsening situation.

With my resignation pending and financial commitments to a business already starting - we were without a boat and without answers, the nerves were jangling but we needed to stay focused and concentrate on sorting priorities, Helen was more important than anything else, once we could get her on the right track everything else would eventually come together, hopefully.

Prior to starting the boat build we set in place a contingency fund just in case anything affected our income.

When we eventually managed to speak to someone at the boatyard in January, we were told that it was their intention to finish any boats in build. This was good news, the boat might be finished later than planned but at least I could squeeze another few months of work to bolster the fund should we need it.

On the 24th February, we received another hammer blow - the boat would not be finished as intended, a letter from their administrators was sent, asking us to collect the boat. After their auditing, it was apparent we didn't owe them any money, we had paid a lump sum just before work stopped, it was clear they owed us money or at least to complete the work we had paid for.

We rejected their offer to collect the boat and negotiations started to get some work done that we had paid for, although some work was agreed, we still had to accept a loss, there was no money left at SM Hudson according to the administrators, the money we had paid out was gone along with other customers money. We couldn’t afford anymore time spent waiting. Some other owners and ourselves would eventually have to collect the boats from the boat yard and prepare to have them completed elsewhere.

I never got to speak to any other owners at the time so we never knew the complete story. The administrators gave the usual line regarding "data protection". 

There are many rumours as to who owns the very last Hudson boat - and all we know is that given the time our boat came out of the steel shed and their business closing down, there could only have been one more shell produced after ours. Whether or not that boat was completed - we do not know.

Anyone considering a boat build (no matter who you choose to build your boat) - it's important to use a boat builder who is a member of the British Marine Federation . The information and protection you will receive, ensures that you wouldn't have to go through most of what happened to us should your boatbuilder cease trading.

During March 2015, the administrators agreed and organised the following works:

  • Oak tongue & groove board replacement, where existing boards had twisted and pulled away (due mainly to the boat not being protected from severe moisture)  
  • 3 bulkheads were fitted temporarily for future works
  • 2 hardwood engine beams fitted
  • An unfinished Lister engine installed

But - no starter motor, no identification, no gearbox - just the engine block and cylinder head with a poor coat of green paint applied.

We would eventually receive a phone call when the work agreed was complete, then we would have to collect the boat and find another builder.

The photograph below was the only one we have of the Lister JP3 installed, this engine would soon create another twist in the story.

I finally handed my notice in to my job, one way or another things were going to get busy, but first we would take a well earned cruise in our old boat Miss Ellie No 1.

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