Lloyd Davey, twenty years building his own boat in an old mill

©Lloyd Davey

Generally, the organisers of the Global Solo Challenge (GSC) prefer that entrants make use of second-hand yachts or boats that they already own. This preference makes the challenge more affordable and egalitarian, but more importantly, it comes from the organisers’ desire to make the whole challenge as environmentally sustainable as possible. This is relevant given the large amount of materials and the emissions that are involved in building a new boat, especially when that boat is built specifically for a particular race or challenge.

However, British entrant Lloyd Davey is actually sailing a ‘new’ boat in the 2023–2024 challenge. His boat, Taqua II, is a 13-metre (42-foot) fast cruising boat designed by Warwick Buckley of Buckley Yacht Design.

This boat, a B42, is built of an epoxy strip plank construction with a 2.4-metre draft and a fractional rig, and although technically it could be called a new boat, the construction of this boat has actually taken him twenty years to complete.

Lloyd’s passion for boats and sailing comes from his early reading of the likes of Joshua Slocum and the stories of the original 1968 Golden Globe Race. It sparked his sense of adventure and interest in the human side of the challenge when he was a young man. He originally sailed a windsurfer, but after he was introduced to sailing a cruiser by a friend, he was hooked.

©Lloyd Davey


The story of Taqua II started way back in the early 2000s, when Lloyd completed a 9-month course in boatbuilding at The Lyme Regis School of Boat Building (which is now the boat building academy). He then worked in a number of boatyards in England and then in Brittany, France, where he still lives today, in a converted old sawmill on the banks of the River Rance.

He created his ‘Bonehead’ boatyard within the mill, and then, as a hobby, he started to build his own yacht whilst working full-time in building renovations.

And, in the main, Lloyd built this yacht without the assistance of a team. It’s really amazing when you compare this to the number of people involved in some of the yacht builds used in other races.

Lloyd is as proud as punch of his creation and says that the beauty of his yacht being a self-build is that he knows every inch of her. He knows every electrical circuit and every piece of rigging. He says with that kind of knowledge, you instinctively know your way around the boat, where to tread, and where to hold on to, even in the dark or in a rough sea. The only item that he did not build was the inboard engine, which was bought second-hand, but even this he completely stripped and renovated.

©Lloyd Davey


Lloyd’s attitude towards building Taqua II can be best encapsulated by his Facebook post from last year:

“Global Solo Challenge or Scrapheap Challenge? Here at the Bonehead boatyard, it’s sometimes difficult to know, but being a firm believer in recycling and a firm disbeliever of the nonsense surrounding the current monstrous price hikes, I decided to rummage in the scrap pile and make the radar pole and upper rudder bearing bracket. In the end, it cost me time, a packet of welding rods, and some paint.”

Once it was seaworthy, the boat was taken from where he lives in an idyllic small village called Mérillac (which is inland) up to Roscoff, on the Atlantic coast of France, where, last autumn, she was put into the water.

©Lloyd Davey


A 42-foot boat, being transported on a low loader through the small lanes of rural Brittany, attracted some considerable attention (and I imagine some impatient Gallic shrugs, as well!).

Now fully rigged, Lloyd is getting in as much time out on the water as he can.

Lloyd explained that as he was coming towards the end of the construction of his yacht, he had actually thought to himself that it would be great if someone organised an event whereby yachts such as his and someone with more limited funds and experience could sail around the world. He then read about the GSC and entered.

©Lloyd Davey


He is happy with the sea trials he has undertaken to date, though there are some ongoing jobs and further sea trials to be completed before his planned 2,000-mile solo qualifying sail, which he hopes to complete in May.

Experience-wise, Lloyd has previously clocked up over 12,000 nautical miles at sea, of which 1,200 nm were solo, and he has previously crossed the Atlantic. Most of his sailing was on his previous yacht, Taqua 1, a 25-foot Tomahawk, as well as his being involved in the delivery of yachts.

We spoke about the origins of the name Taqua. His original boat was already named when he bought her, and Lloyd thought that this name might be of Native American origin and relate to the class of yacht being called Tomahawk. However, his research into this has drawn a blank. So, because his previous yacht had kept him safe, he superstitiously decided to call his new yacht Taqua II, so as not to break with the good fortune the previous yacht had brought him.

Like many of the entrants, Lloyd is virtually self-funded for the challenge, and he hopes to sell a property he owns in France to pay for a number of items he still requires (auto-steering gear, a second liferaft, an EPIRB, etc). The money invested in this property was actually intended to be his retirement fund!

Lloyd Davey
Near-sistership of Lloyd Davey’s B42 – © Warwick Buckley


As a top up, Lloyd is planning to sell some advertising space on his yacht to local businesses. The bigger the advertisement, the more the business will pay. Given the amount Lloyd intends to charge and the worldwide exposure that the GSC should attract, this should prove a popular form of advertising.

Lloyd admits that once the GSC is completed, he plans to build another sailing boat, perhaps a clinker-built dinghy, which he hopes should only take him about a year to complete!