Ever dreamed of owning your own boat? How about a picturesque little wooden thing you could make day trips across the harbour in, as you discover empty coves to host a summer picnic? The Balmain Boat Company (BBCo) came up with the clever idea of creating DIY boat-building packs to create something that is both beautiful and seaworthy in the space of just a couple of weekends.
BBCo is the brainchild of Andrew Simpson, a sailor and industrial designer and Nicole Still, a former Time magazine journalist from Ohio. Inspired by American Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail single-handedly around the world, and who believed that money should be no deterrent to a person’s ability to sail the seas, Simpson and Still set about creating a product that could be shipped anywhere in the world, and put together by anyone who can wield a hammer.
The company has come a long way since 2010, from selling rowboats and sailboats to seafarers across Australia, to creating an international customer base as diverse as Taiwan, the Middle East and the UK. They’ve also received some well-deserved attention from media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Vogue Living and GQ.
So far, BBCo offer two flat-packed boat models, the Classic Rowboat and the Sailboat. The company’s latest model, the Pilot, is a bigger, sturdier wooden rowboat, designed to withstand larger swells. Inspired by British painter Charles Napier Henry’s painting, The Pilot, the model was designed and built by Simpson himself to be taken into open water. When Sydney’s weather changes in minutes from clear blue skies to grey storm clouds and rough ocean swells, the Pilot can cope with the conditions.
Small design quirks like personalized figureheads (said to bring good luck to sailors and those that sail with them) can be added to the boats, along with an outboard motor for those who are really serious. Special decals that help you name your creation are available as well as a miniature version for kids that can be towed behind the larger boats.
Described as the ‘perfect DIY project for the aspiring legend’, the Balmain Boat Company lends a sense of nautical romance to your regular landlubber weekend activities.
Boats begin at $1899 for a Classic Rowboat Kit, ranging up to $4999 for a Pilot Kit.