A couple who bought a ship used during D-Day on WW2 on eBay say the purchase was ‘a heart over head decision’ which led to them taking on the ultimate restoration project.
Gemma and Simon Robins, who are camper van renovation specialists, purchased the ‘ML 1392 Medusa’ in January after they ‘fell in love’ with the vessel.
But the mammoth renovation is now likely to cost them more than £50,000.
Buying the 72ft war ship was never part of the couple’s original life plan but Gemma said after viewing it for the first time it pulled on her heartstrings because it had so much history, Liverpool Echo reports.
She said: “We didn’t plan on buying a ship but Simon would always sit there at night and look at eBay.
“One night I was brushing my teeth and he was lying in bed and he was like ‘look at this boat’. I had a look at it and I thought ‘what are you thinking about?’
“Usually I would just brush him off with his crazy ideas but I was looking at it and realised what a historical boat she was.
“I never ever wanted a boat that big in my life but it sort of pulled on my heartstrings.
“The people who owned the boat before the person we bought it off, they were going to scrap her and take the engines out and sell them.
“So the fella who we bought it off was like ‘you can’t do that, she is a piece of history.’”
The ship, now called Sarinda, has a compelling past having been a navigation leader during the D-day landings in June 1944.
She also aided in the capture of a German submarine in March 1945. Since then, the ship has had many homes and has fallen into disrepair.
Gemma added: “She was a WW2 boat on D-Day and to see her neglected and left to rot, it was a heart over the head decision because we haven’t really got the budget to do it, so we went to look at it the next day and we fell in love with it.”
The ship was set for the scrapyard and Gemma revealed it was her mum who encouraged the couple to buy it, adding: “It was my mum, she was like, ‘oh Gemma, just buy, just buy it’ so she encouraged us to get it.”
“It’s hard to say how much it will cost to renovate and repair. She’s a massive boat, she’s 72ft long, she’s got five bedrooms, and she needs totally gutting and starting again.
“The superstructure is all rotten and falling apart and the only really good part of the boat is the engines, which still run and the actual hull, which is originally from WWII.
“When we bought her I said to Simon we could probably scrape enough money to buy her, but we haven’t got any money to fix her. So we knew it was going to be a long-term project.”
In order to track and document their progress, the couple decided to create a YouTube channel dedicated to the restoration of the ship.
In three months, the channel, aptly named Ship Happens, has notched up 22,000 subscribers.
Gemma, who is a mum-of-two from Huyton, Liverpool, said: “The whole YouTube idea, we only filmed it for the family.
“Because of Covid, no one could come and see it, so we said we’d film it so all the family could see it online and the channel just took off.
“We didn’t expect it at all, because we’re not YouTubers or anything like that, we’re just normal people.”
The renovation of the boat will cost them upwards of £50,000, and the couple said they had been overwhelmed with support and donations, not just by friends and family, but strangers who have taken an interest in the project.