Mystery owner of washed-up solar houseboat revealed

Mystery owner of washed-up solar houseboat revealed

A houseboat that appeared to come loose from its moorings and wash all the way across the Atlantic, over a few months in 2016, has had its original Canadian owner located. However, it’s already been repurposed and is on display at a community garden in Binghamstown near Belmullet, Ireland.

Under maritime law, the Receiver of Wrecks must be contacted in such instances. When there was no contact from the owner after 12 months, a team of volunteers worked to refurbish the craft.

Mystery had surrounded the identity and whereabouts of the man since the vessel was discovered. The solar power enabled craft washed up on Drum beach, near Belmullet, according to RTE .

An inscription on one of the walls indicated its owner wanted it to be used by a homeless person, who could live without the pressure of energy bills. The 10-metre long vessel was made with driftwood and had sheets of polystyrene fitted to its hull to assist with flotation. The vessel had been painted with tar to weatherproof the wooden exterior.

After it was taken from the sea by Mayo County Council, it was moved inland and repair work was carried out.

It’s now been discovered that the man responsible for building the boat, Rick Small, lives in Vancouver, western Canada. The 62-year-old said he has had a fascination with solar power since he was a child and has devised several modes of transport to employ the sun’s energy.

He told Canadian TV that he built the boat to raise awareness of climate change and had planned to sail from Newfoundland around the Arctic in it. But when he could not secure the right motor to assist with the voyage, he gave the boat away.

Rick said he was surprised to see it had made it to Ireland relatively intact.

Watch the local news report, featuring Rick Small, here, and found out below how the boat was discovered in 2016.

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