• Votaire
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Voltaire has been a part of the life of my family and I since 1988. She was built in my boatyard with the intention of demonstrating and championing electric propulsion with its benefits of silent, clean, pollution free running. She did a great job as an ambassador for electricity back in the day when there was a glimmer of interest - a resurgence from the 1890’s when the Thames was home to many electric boats.

As the family’s boat we used her for picnics, camping trips to small islands in the river, watching the racing at Henley Regatta and sneaking into the Henley Festival to soak up the atmosphere without having to dress up in a dinner jacket or posh frock. We put a small fridge onboard, stocked with a few beers and a bottle of wine, so anyone could spontaneously take advantage of a beautiful day. Evening trips up a backwater with a glass of wine and a tasty sandwich became a summer standard.

Voltaire even went to France to help our erstwhile apprentice French boatbuilder, Boris Proutzakoff, establish his boatyard near Angers on the Loire – he exhibited her at the Paris Boat Show. We spent a few luxurious days in Voltaire, exploring a tributary of the Loire, spotting huge water rats living in the river banks.

In 2017 we sold our boatyard and soon after moved from Henley, so we have not used the punt. She needs a new home and another owner to enjoy her just has we have for 30 years or more.


Length 25ft
Beam 4ft
Draft 1ft

The hull has one piece Mahogany sides, the treads and knees (the cross-frames) and both end blocks or “huffs” are in Teak. The deck, gratings and seat backs are in Mahogany. The punt bottom is plywood with an epoxy bonded glass reinforced sheathing externally up to the waterline and an epoxy coating internally. Above the waterline externally and internally she is beautifully varnished with gold leaf detail picking out the gunwale and decoration in the huffs. All the fittings and bandings are bespoke and chrome plated.

The punt is powered by a 750 watt, 24 volt Combi pod motor with a 180 amp hour battery pack housed under the deck. The simple controls are a single Mahogany knob next to the side steering wheel. This will give a cruising range of approximately 5 hours at full power. Normal cruising with a glass of wine in your hand is usually set at half power and the range will be nearer 9 to 10 hours. There is a fully automatic battery charger installed under the deck.

The equipment includes thick velvet covered seat and seat back cushions, mooring lines, a boat hook, a paddle, a tri-colour navigation light on a de-mountable pole, a mains extension lead and a well-fitted all-over cover and set of supporting hoops.

The asking price is £12,000 ono and, at this figure, will include a new set of deep traction 180 amp hour batteries.

There is a braked, twin-axle, galvanised chassis road trailer in good condition and adapted to fit the punt available at a separate price of £800 ono.