The stylish Reveur is possibly the last of upwards of 200 vessels of all shapes and sizes designed by renowned local boat builder Gil Albutt.
What makes its entry into the event extra special is the fact that the unique timber speedboat was designed for and built by Gil’s son Darren under the highly regarded Gilcraft name.
“It’s been a very emotional journey, conceded Darren. “Reveur is French for dream. My wife named it, and that’s what it has been.
“I was really young when dad closed the business and I never thought I’d get a chance to build a boat with him.”
The pair poured over numerous plans before arriving at the perfect design for the vessel.
“Once Darren decided he would like me to design him a boat he would come in after work of a night and we would look at the computer and there was all these sorts of boats from all over the world so I had a notebook and I jotted down things and finally we got one we liked the aspect of it,” said Gil.
“After that we went into looking at all of the different propulsion exercises. It was a real design exercise for me but then Darren settled in to build it and he did a marvellous job.
“He built it in his garage in his backyard, on a trolley that he would roll out to work on it and roll back in again.”
The sleek vessel was launched in 2012 and according to Darren has barely been out of use since. Looking for all the world like a gentleman’s speedboat (Riviera), more at home in Italy than the heavy swells of the rip, it features furniture grade timbers – mahogany, Fijian kauri and English marine ply.
“I designed it with Darren and for Darren and it was certainly a bit of an adventure,” said Gil. “We built it to look like a Riviera if you like, but the bottom of it is designed like the fishing boats I used to build, so it’s a very good sea boat. It’s a particular shape because we had in mind that he would be around the rip area and up and down the coast.
“In my last years of boat building the last two boats were the 50 foot Mitani, a schooner built to sail around the world. That was something that I had never built before, and Darren’s boat was a completely different exercise again.”
The Mitani incidentally was awarded a Concourse d’Elegance trophy in the prestigious Antigua Grand Schooner Regatta. The Reveur is similarly eye-catching.
“We’ve been approached a couple of times by people asking where it was made and how much it would cost to make another one,” said Darren.
Gil, now well into his eighties, is among a small band of revered original Queenscliff boat builders. He commenced his trade under Peter Locke in 1948 and almost a decade later launched Gilcraft boats, in a garage behind the Vue Grand Hotel. Several of his original designs are still in use today.