Brad Heald and his wife Sapi are building a 52-foot live-aboard trawler in West Auckland.

Now well advanced, the project began in 2008 with Brad purchasing a Gardner 6LXB engine. It has since included selling the family home, along with all Brad’s hot rods, buying a tractor to clear a paddock on family land, then building a shed for the boat and to provide temporary accommodation.

Called Matai Bay, the 38-tonne double-ender is constructed from cold-moulded 50mm-thick laminated Meranti plywood, glassed inside and out. Designed for a couple, with a large workshop for Brad and a dedicated writing nook for Sapi, it will be their forever home.

Brad and Sapi expect to finish the hull in July or August, ready for antifouling and paint. They will then fit the deck frames, deck head and three of the major bulkheads before turning the vessel upright in November or December 2023.